First look at Mazda's all-new CX-3 compact crossover

The Mazda CX-3 will be sold globally, starting in Japan and arriving in Canada in late spring, 2015

Published: November 19, 2014, 8:10 AM
Updated: April 29, 2018, 2:08 PM

2016 Mazda CX-3

HOLLYWOOD, CA – Mazda's gave us an advance look at its all-new 2016 CX-3 crossover utility vehicle last night, at the Raleigh TV Studios in Hollywood, on the eve of its formal debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show today.

The CX-3 is Mazda's first entry into the crowded compact crossover market and it looks very much like a winner right out of the box.

Naturally, it features the full suite of Mazda's vaunted SkyActiv technologies –  the fifth model in Mazda’s line-up to do so – and it further evolves the brand's KODO, Soul of Motion, design idiom.

2016 Mazda CX-3

The beauty of the KODO concept – "the expression of life within a vehicle" – is that it allows for variations in styling among different models, rather than cookie-cutter copies of the same look, Mazda design chief, Ikuo Maeda explained to us at the reveal.

But the design philosophy remains the same. In the case of the CX-3, it results in a sharper form than, say, the MX-5, with an enhanced sense of motion. And its long-nose proportions suggest a vehicle that's larger than it actually is.

Large diameter tires magnify the impact, especially when fitted to optional 18-inch aluminum wheels with gunmetal grey spokes and contrasting machined metal.

Interior belies its station

The inside environment evokes a sense of sophistication, quality and attention to detail that belies the vehicle's modest station.

A high beltline creates a snug sense of comfort in a surprisingly roomy interior. Dark red accents and metallic-look trim bits add contrasting highlights to the sculpted surfaces.

2016 Mazda CX-3

In characteristic Mazda form, all information displays and control systems are strategically positioned in accordance with a driver-oriented Heads-up Cockpit concept.

Its five-passenger seating positions are said to aid a low centre of gravity that reinforces driver confidence on the road.

A wide range of Mazda’s latest technologies are offered, including the Mazda Connect infotainment system and i-ActivSense advanced safety features.

Enhanced mechanicals

Only one engine is offered in North America: Mazda's SkyActiv-G 2.0-litre, four-cylinder gasoline powerplant. It is coupled to a six-speed automatic transmission that is standard equipment in all models.

Front-wheel-drive is standard but also available is a new-generation all-wheel-drive system that employs an active torque control coupling, first used on the Mazda CX-5. It employs what Mazda calls a "world’s first" front-wheel-slip warning detection system, which employs sensor signals to monitor the driver’s intentions and constantly changing driving conditions.

2016 Mazda CX-3

Dynamically, the CX-3 development team focused on ease of handling on city streets, a confident poise on the highway, and smooth and predictable response on curving rural roads, the company says. In short, it features the precise, linear and stable response characteristics that define the brand.

Generous use of high-strength steels in the body structure provides rigidity while skimping on weight. Additional measures were taken in AWD models to reduce noise and vibration and suppress their transmission through the body.

The Mazda CX-3 will go on sale globally, starting with Japan early in 2015. It is expected to arrive in Canada in late spring, 2015.

Canadian Model Specifications


Overall length x width x height2

4,275 X 1,765  X 1,550 mm


2,570 mm


SkyActiv-G 2.0 direct-injection gasoline engine


SkyActiv -Drive six-speed Automatic transmission

Front suspension

MacPherson struts

Rear suspension

Torsion beam axle


Rack & pinion

Brakes (front/rear)

Ventilated discs / Solid discs