Mazda headed to the big apple with a couple candy-apple coloured unveilings — the updated and refined CX-3 compact crossover and the Kai concept that may or may not become the next generation Mazda3 Sport.
The CX-3 gets an exterior freshening to what is already an attractive package, while improving the interior and performance. There’s a new grille, piano black accents on the B- and C-pillar and around the fog-lights, and bright trimwork at the front and around the sides. The taillamps have been redesigned and the vehicle now rides on new 18-inch wheels with a new metallic sheen to them and shod with new low-profile tires.
Inside, engineers turned over parking brake operation to the electronics system, freeing up space in the centre console to rework and reposition the cupholders, reclaim some stowage space and create a centre, padded armrest.
The seats have been redesigned, with the front seats wider, as well as firmer and more supportive (through the use of a high-density vibration-absorbing urethane foam). The rear seats have also been redesigned for comfort and passengers will find a centre armrest with integrated cupholders. And for the first time, there’s a full leather option. Meanwhile, upgraded door seams, and thicker door panels, rear door glass and headliner help lower the noise in the cabin.
Under the hood, the Skyactiv-g 2.0-litre 4-cylinder engine has been refined to deliver power more smoothly and improve its efficiency. Torque has been increased (peaking at 148 lb-ft) across the RPM range. Horsepower also rises to 148. It all means a more responsive engine to driving demands, and it’s complemented by G-Vectoring Control (GVC) technology, which uses engine timing to control chassis dynamics and manifests itself in smoother and more precise steering inputs. Suspension and power steering have also been retuned to further enhance responsiveness.
Mazda also introduced North America to the Kai Concept that many believe will set the design direction for the new Mazda3 hatchback, though Mazda will only say it may or may not make it to production. Regardless, it likely shows some design elements that are bound to permeate future Mazda products, in addition to the new Skyactiv-x (a new compression-ignition engine the points to developments in Mazda’s future powertrains.
Due in production in 2019, the Skyactiv-x engine aims to improve efficiency by 20% to 30%, as Mazda aims for cuts the CO2 emissions of its powertrains by 50% in the coming decade.