Time for yet another small crossover to join the market. Mazda has confirmed that the new CX-3 will get its first public outing at the Los Angeles Auto Show in November 2014.
Together with the new MX-5, which will also be on display, the Mazda CX-3 is something of a crucial model for the Japanese firm as global appetite for high-riding but relatively small cars continues to grow.
When released around April next year the CX-3 will do battle with the likes of the Nissan Juke (one of the UK’s biggest-selling cars), the Skoda Yeti and the Kia Soul.
What do we know about the CX-3 so far?
Make what you will of the deliberately shadowy, over-wheeled sketch but a dominant grille design along the lines of the larger CX-5 4x4 connected to thin, angular headlights and flanked by pronounced, Juke-style wheelarches seems to be the order of the day.
Mazda says the new car follows the same ‘Kodo’ design approach as the rest of its range, so expect taut lines across the body panels’ surfaces and strong diagonals along its flanks. If its design cues are as bold as those of the new MX-5 it could one of the more refreshing-looking offerings in the crossover segment.
Underneath the kodo’d bodywork the CX-3’s underpinnings will almost certainly be closely related to the new Mazda 2 hatchback. That means engines will likely include the same choice of 1.5-litre Skyactiv-branded diesels and petrols. Electric and plug-in versions of the 2 are also mooted.
How important is the small crossover market?
Very – it’s one of the few automotive markets that is growing. Buyers love ‘B-SUVs’ in this country particularly. According to figures quoted by Kia at the launch of the new Soul earlier in 2014, annual sales of small 4x4s and crossovers in Western Europe are set to increase from 380,000 in 2013 to 600,000-plus by 2015 and a quarter of European B-SUV customers are British.
Elsewhere on the Mazda stand at the LA show will be updated versions of both the Mazda 6 saloon and CX-5 large crossover, both of which are likely to undergo a mild facelift in time for 2015.
Read more about the new Mazda 2 in our earlier news story here