2016 Mazda CX-3 – Gorgeous World Debut in 90 Photos + Specs and USA Arrival Details

cx3 gifThe all-new Mazda CX-3 is easily one of the best-looking small crossovers on the planet.

And it is not a concept.

This is the real-deal CX-3 coming to take on the Honda HR-V, Fiat 500X and Jeep Renegade.

Where the CX-3 is unique versus the three min-trucks above? It is one that men and women alike would love to own for its sporty style, amazingly wide and low stance, and cutting-edge LED lighting. The above vehicles are fairly emasculating and hard to imagine loving as a testosterone-making gentleman.

What the CX-3 represents is another amazing vehicle from Mazda — after a string of seriously excellent, class-leading cars like the Mazda3 and Mazda6. Sliding in below the CX-5 in size and price, the CX-5 will be on sale in Japan in Spring 2015, with US sales ballparked for August of 2015 as a 2016 model-year.

Engines are shared with the Mazda3 and will come to the US in two power levels of the 2.0-liter SkyActiv-G. AWD is available and a manual transmission and even SkyActiv-D are on the specs below for Europe and a few other black-pump-loving countries.



So what is so special about the CX-3 versus the Mazda3 or the CX-5?

The CX-3 makes no apologies about its compact SUV nature, and wears the ultra-cool wheels and fender flares that recall the CX-5 concept cars versus the production model. Where the CX-5 appears relatively similar across all its trim levels via plain detailing and lack of LED lighting, the CX-3 is in another world of trendiness with the latest block-wrapped LED elements around the projector beam main light, the slash of white LED light eminating from the corners of the Kodo grille shield, and even mini foglamps down below in this loaded Japanese-market example.

A low and cool hood makes the CX-3 feel rear-drive in its design, while the side profiling employs some of the shooting front pillar swoop of the new MX-5. In profile, the CX-3 is sharp and low and look agile. It is almost exactly the size of the Mazda3 sedan and hatch, but feels more premium thanks to a blacked-out D-pillar and pinched glasshouse that is one line of dark-tinted heaven.

In back, the CX-3 is also a hit: its edge-hugging LED brake lights form a bit of an up-slept eyelash of light when stopping, while there is a similar red LED light-slash across the top of the lamps themselves.

The twin exhaust pipes are a fun and sporty addition in this price range — and overall ram home how cool and masculine the CX-3 is versus the Chevy Trax, Honda HR-V and Nissan Juke.

 cx3 ext gif2016 Mazda CX-3 33 2016 Mazda CX-3 28 2016 Mazda CX-3 27 2016 Mazda CX-3 26 2016 Mazda CX-3 43 2016 Mazda CX-3 41


The CX-3 really moves forward from the solid design and usefulness of the Mazda3 interior — with padded and architectural elements to the center stack that are new and very cool. A color-matched dash swoop is a nice mix of media, especially versus the very-black Mazda6 cabin. In the trunk, we see a good level of storage and a low floor, made more handy by the split-folding seatbacks.

 2016 Mazda CX-3 18 2016 Mazda CX-3 24 2016 Mazda CX-3 44 2016 Mazda CX-3 45cx3 interior gif


Pricing is likely to be about $4,000 less than the slightly-larger CX-5 across all trim levels. We expect this to mean a $20,000 base price extending to about $27,000 with Grand Touring features like the larger tablet touchscreen, moonroof and dual-tone leather cabin.

 2016 Mazda CX-3

2016 Mazda CX-3 3 2016 Mazda CX-3 4 2016 Mazda CX-3 8 2016 Mazda CX-3 7


2016 Mazda CX-3 42 2016 Mazda CX-3 40 2016 Mazda CX-3 39 2016 Mazda CX-3 38 2016 Mazda CX-3 37 2016 Mazda CX-3 36 2016 Mazda CX-3 35 2016 Mazda CX-3 34 2016 Mazda CX-3 6 2016 Mazda CX-3 5 2016 Mazda CX-3 9 2016 Mazda CX-3 10 2016 Mazda CX-3 11 2016 Mazda CX-3 12 2016 Mazda CX-3 13 2016 Mazda CX-3 14 2016 Mazda CX-3 15 2016 Mazda CX-3 22 2016 Mazda CX-3 21 2016 Mazda CX-3 20 2016 Mazda CX-3 19 2016 Mazda CX-3 23 2016 Mazda CX-3 1 2016 Mazda CX-3 2

All-new Mazda CX-3 crossover SUV



Introduction             3

  1. Design: pursuing sophisticated beauty 4
  2. Packaging: human-centric ease-of-use 6
  3. Driving dynamics: unrestricted driving enjoyment 8
  4. Safety: world-class safety underpins driving pleasure 10
  5. Key specifications: Europe, USA and Japan 11




cx3 driving gif




All-new Mazda CX-3 crossover SUV


Mazda debuts the all-new Mazda CX-3 at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show, today (Wednesday 19 November 2014). The new crossover SUV is the fifth model in Mazda’s line-up of new-generation vehicles that feature the full range of SKYACTIV technology and KODO – Soul of Motion design. The new CX-3 offers all the essentials people look for in a car: a design of overwhelming quality and style, packaging developed solely with the customer ease-of-use in mind, and the responsive driving feel that characterises every Mazda model.


In pursuing a design of beauty and sophistication for CX-3, the essence of KODO – the expression of life within a vehicle – has been evolved to produce a sharper form with an enhanced sense of speed. In the interior, meticulous attention to detail and careful choice of the materials used has created a cabin environment of impressive sophistication and quality. In terms of driving performance, the Mazda CX-3 adopts the full suite of SKYACTIV technology, carefully crafted to match human sensibilities. This delivers driving pleasure with faithful responses as well as excellent environmental and safety performance.


The Mazda CX-3’s powertrain line-up includes the SKYACTIV-D 1.5-litre clean diesel and SKYACTIV-G 2.0-litre direct-injection petrol engine. Together with the availability of Mazda’s new-generation AWD system, each engine delivers powerful and linear driving performance with remarkably low emissions. To enhance the customer’s driving pleasure, the new model also offers a wide range of Mazda’s latest technologies, including the MZD Connect* in-car connectivity system and i-ACTIVSENSE advanced safety features.


Incorporating Mazda’s latest design and technology, the Mazda CX-3 is a car to suit the customer’s creative lifestyle in any scene, from city driving to enjoying the great outdoors. The new model will go on sale globally starting in spring 2015 in Japan and is expected to become a new core model in Mazda’s line-up.


* Known as Mazda Connect in Japan, the U.S., Canada and Mexico


 2016 Mazda CX-3 Video Images 50 2016 Mazda CX-3 Video Images 49 2016 Mazda CX-3 Video Images 48 2016 Mazda CX-3 Video Images 1 2016 Mazda CX-3 Video Images 8 2016 Mazda CX-3 Video Images 7 2016 Mazda CX-3 Video Images 4 2016 Mazda CX-3 Video Images 12 2016 Mazda CX-3 Video Images 25 2016 Mazda CX-3 Video Images 27 2016 Mazda CX-3 Video Images 23 2016 Mazda CX-3 Video Images 22 2016 Mazda CX-3 Video Images 20 2016 Mazda CX-3 Video Images 18 2016 Mazda CX-3 Video Images 17 2016 Mazda CX-3 Video Images 10 2016 Mazda CX-3 Video Images 2 2016 Mazda CX-3 Video Images 28 2016 Mazda CX-3 Video Images 29 2016 Mazda CX-3 Video Images 30 2016 Mazda CX-3 Video Images 31 2016 Mazda CX-3 Video Images 32 2016 Mazda CX-3 Video Images 33


  1. Design


Pursuing sophisticated beauty with the latest iteration of KODO


The Mazda CX-3’s design pursues beauty and sophistication while expressing Mazda’s KODO design language in the most stylish fashion, so far. It’s powerful and highly vital form creates a pure expression of the car Mazda’s designers themselves wanted, one that is not fettered by conventional classifications of vehicle type. The design team worked to create a straight expression of beauty and radical styling for the exterior of the 4.27-metre long vehicle. Achieving this involved an uncompromising approach to refining the proportions that form the foundation of its beauty and painstaking efforts to eliminate every unnecessary element. For the interior, a concerted effort was made to achieve the appropriate expression of ambience. Together with the fine textures of the materials used, the team realised a high-quality, sophisticated cabin environment.



  • The front of the Mazda CX-3 is designed to present a bold look that suits the model’s stylish proportions. The front grille stacks seven fins with silver-painted front edges to create an expression of concentrated energy that flows horizontally. The signature wing is stout and three-dimensional, as if machined from solid metal. It forms the starting point for a powerful sense of speed that flows across the entire body.
  • The headlamp layout positions the turn signals outside the main headlamp unit to create a narrow, sharp design suggesting eyes gazing forward. The tips of the signature wing extend into the headlamps with an integrated LED illumination line. This connects seamlessly with the lighting signature that surrounds the low beams, accentuating the model’s taut expression.
  • With the peak of the front fenders pushed rearward to lie beneath the base of the A-pillars, the side view of CX-3 conveys a sense of extended body size, far greater than the vehicle’s actual dimensions. Careful attention was devoted to creating a rich expression and subtle changes across the body surfaces of three sections: the front half of the body features a long nose with a flowing shape; the cabin section presents a sleek look achieved, in part, by blacking out the D-pillars; and the solid mass at the rear of the body conveys a look of strength and power.
  • The license plate is located in the upper part of the rear bumper to achieve a short overhang design that gives the rear a clean look and powerful sense of solidity.
  • The CX-3 introduces a newly developed Ceramic Metallic body colour. Its expression of a finely honed metallic surface and strong sense of hardness changes in appearance depending on the light hitting its surface.
  • The CX-3 adopts large diameter tyres that create an appealing sense of a powerful drive and positive stance. Optional 18-inch alloy wheels feature thick, sculpted spokes painted gunmetal grey and contrasted by the brilliant sheen of machined metal.



  • The interior gives a high-quality and sophisticated feel that is fully coordinated with the exterior design. Keen attention was paid to every detail, including the cohesiveness of the spatial designs and the quality of materials used.
  • The door trim’s surrounding character line and relatively high beltline along with the deeply sculpted three-dimensional form create a comforting sense of snugness and openness for the front seat space.
  • All information displays and control systems are positioned in accordance with a driver-oriented design based on Mazda’s heads-up cockpit concept.
  • The soft material that covers the instrument cluster hood features a stitch-like finish on its front edge, producing an atmosphere of maturity.
  • Each individual part has been refined to provide the interior with a polished, high-quality feel. Examples include the dark red accent colour used on the door trim armrests and floor console kneepads, and the crisp form of the inner door handle bezels which look as if they were sculpted from solid metal.
  • Fine piping carefully added where the different coordinated seat materials meet, such as the pure white leather and off-black Lux Suede® offering, produces a sophisticated environment.




  1. Packaging


Human-centric packaging aimed at true ease-of-use


In addition to applying the latest iteration of the KODO design language to achieve stylish exterior proportions, the Mazda CX-3 developers also ensured that the new model delivers competitive SUV levels of interior space. The team’s aim was to achieve a package that properly represents Mazda’s vision of what a car in this segment should be. As a result, the CX-3 offers a level of usability that is unique to its crossover SUV packaging. It provides drivers with the clear view they need, is easy to enter and exit, and offers a seating position with a low centre of gravity that lends a reassuring sense of confidence when driving. It also adopts the advanced MZD Connect* in-car connectivity system, which supports the customer’s active lifestyle.


* Known as Mazda Connect in Japan, the U.S., Canada and Mexico.


Dimensions, comfort and ease of entry/exit

  • With dimensions of 4,275mm (overall length), 1,765mm (width) and 1,550mm (height, unladen with shark fin antenna), the body size makes the Mazda CX-3 easy to handle even when driving in town or parking. The long nose has a 910mm front overhang, the solid-looking rear overhang is 795mm, and the wheelbase is 2,570mm. This establishes flowing proportions while securing adequate space for comfortable seating.
  • The front seats provide sufficient shoulder room, distance between the two front seats, and legroom to comfortably seat adult occupants of any size.
  • The seating position of the rear seats is set closer to the centre of the cabin than the front seats, and the hip-point is higher. The resulting layout makes it easier for rear seat occupants to see out of the front and also to enjoy conversation with people sitting diagonally opposite in the front seats.
  • The hip-point for the CX-3 is optimally set for both front and rear seats. It combines with the meticulously executed side sill garnish structure and shape of the lower part of the rear doors to achieve excellent ease of cabin entry and exit for people of any size.

2016 Mazda CX-3 Video Images 34 2016 Mazda CX-3 Video Images 47 2016 Mazda CX-3 Video Images 46 2016 Mazda CX-3 Video Images 45 2016 Mazda CX-3 Video Images 44 2016 Mazda CX-3 Video Images 42 2016 Mazda CX-3 Video Images 41 2016 Mazda CX-3 Video Images 40 2016 Mazda CX-3 Video Images 39 2016 Mazda CX-3 Video Images 38 2016 Mazda CX-3 Video Images 37 2016 Mazda CX-3 Video Images 36

Driving position

  • The driver’s eye-point is set at 1,250mm. An optimal driving position allows the driver to enjoy driving with a clear view and drive with a feeling of confidence.
  • The CX-3 provides a wide field of vision to the front. At the same time, mounting the exterior mirrors on the door panel (rather than the A-pillar) widens the field of vision between the front window and mirror. To maximise visibility to the rear, the height of the rear part of the beltline and position of the C-pillars are carefully designed and quarter windows were adopted.
  • Positioning the front wheels forward and optimising the shape of the pedals and the distance between them achieves an optimal driving position that enables drivers to sit comfortably, extend their legs and reach the pedals more naturally. A hinged organ-type accelerator pedal is used.
  • Great effort went into achieving the optimum positioning for each control device. Meticulous attention to the shift knob’s positioning on top of the floor console allows the driver to transfer their hand smoothly between it and the steering wheel, and to operate it smoothly and easily without applying excessive force. The commander control features a palm rest that promotes operating stability.
  • An optimised structure for the seatbacks and seat cushions as well as for the shape and firmness of the seats is combined with vibration-absorbing urethane foam material in the cushions and backrests to achieve a comfortable ride with excellent fit and hold. The extended seatback height of the rear seats makes the seats feel roomier.


Human-machine interface (HMI) and in-car connectivity system

Mazda’s new-generation HMI pursues safety as its top priority. The cockpit design is based on the heads-up cockpit concept, which aims to help drivers process large amounts of information while maintaining the correct driving position and concentrating on driving safely. Information the driver requires and the devices for controlling its display are optimally positioned for safety. This includes the Active Driving Display, seven-inch centre display and Rotary Commander.


MZD Connect* is an in-car connectivity system that makes it safer and easier to take advantage of functions such as internet connectivity and communications, even when on the move. It provides great convenience, providing services via Bluetooth® such as hands-free phone operation, reception of short text messages and internet radio including Aha™ by HARMAN**.


* Known as Mazda Connect in Japan, the U.S., Canada and Mexico

** Not available in some regions


  1. Driving dynamics


Dynamic performance for unrestricted driving enjoyment


Mazda is in constant pursuit of driving pleasure and achieving faithful responses to the driver’s inputs. Ensuring that the car responds exactly as expected to the driver’s actions connects directly to the pleasure of the Jinba Ittai driving experience and cannot be achieved merely with power and speed. Based on this philosophy, the CX-3 development team focused on delivering ease of handling on city streets, reassuring confidence on the highway, and particularly faithful responses when negotiating curving rural roads.


By fully adopting SKYACTIV technology and tuning all the characteristics to match human senses, Mazda assures a light, linear response to the driver’s actions along with the handling stability that the Jinba Ittai experience requires. The CX-3’s engine line-up includes Mazda’s all-new SKYACTIV-D 1.5-litre and SKYACTIV-G 2.0-litre engines with specific power outputs matched appropriately to the respective destination markets. Also introduced is a new-generation AWD system. Powerful dynamic performance and linear response together with excellent fuel economy and low emissions will ensure that owners enjoy unrestricted driving enjoyment.


Chassis and body

  • The Mazda CX-3 features the SKYACTIV-Chassis. It delivers a faithful response, reassuring confidence and greatly enhanced levels of comfort thanks to thoroughly revised suspension and steering. Fine-tuning of every related component realises a natural response, ease of control and reassuring confidence, even when driving on the highway.
  • The chassis employs a lightweight torsion beam rear suspension system that allows highly efficient packaging, while the dampers (both front and rear) have optimised friction characteristics to deliver linear handling and ride comfort with a feeling of high quality.
  • The steering system delivers light and agile handling in the city, but feels stable on winding country roads and the highway.
  • The braking system enables excellent control of vehicle speed at low to medium speeds and offers excellent braking performance under high-speed and high G-force conditions.
  • The CX-3 adopts Mazda’s SKYACTIV-Body, which achieves high levels of performance in three seemingly contradictory areas: collision safety, weight reduction and rigidity. Realising an even simpler layout of Mazda’s SKYACTIV-Body architecture, it combines effective positioning of high-tensile steel and optimised cross-sectional shapes to produce a lightweight body with high rigidity and positive damping characteristics.
  • The ratio of high-tensile steel throughout the vehicle body and parts is 63 per cent. The ratio of ultra-high-tensile steel (780MPa or higher) is 29 per cent, and 4 per cent of the total is rated 1,180MPa.


NVH and aerodynamics

  • Excellent quietness is achieved by controlling suspension resonance, tuning the shape and hardness of the engine mounts and adjusting their position, and optimally positioning sound insulating and absorbing materials.
  • For the AWD version, additional measures were taken to reduce noise and vibrations and suppress their transmission through the vehicle body. These include reinforcements added to the cross-member that connects the rear frame and optimising the shape of the beading used on the spare tyre well.
  • Simulations using advanced computational fluid dynamics allow aerodynamic parts to be placed in the most strategic locations for optimal efficiency. This helps to achieve excellent aerodynamics that contribute to both driving performance and improving fuel economy.



  • Two engines are available: the SKYACTIV-G 2.0-litre petrol engine, available in two power versions, and the SKYACTIV-D 1.5-litre clean diesel. Both deliver linear, powerful driving performance and excellent real-world fuel economy.
  • Both automatic and manual transmissions are available. The SKYACTIV-Drive six-speed automatic transmission achieves excellent fuel economy, a direct feel similar to that of a manual transmission, and smooth and powerful acceleration. The SKYACTIV-MT is a lightweight, compact six-speed manual transmission that delivers a light and positive shift-feel while also enhancing fuel economy.
  • The new-generation AWD system employing the active torque control coupling first used on the Mazda CX-5 is available to achieve excellent drivability and vehicle stability. It employs the world’s first* front wheel slip warning detection system, which uses sensor signals to accurately monitor the driver’s intentions and constantly changing driving conditions. In addition, the CX-3 uses a power take-off and a newly developed rear differential unit that is compact and lightweight.


* As of October 2014 according to in-house data


  1. Safety

cx3 interior gif 2016 Mazda CX-3 37 2016 Mazda CX-3 38 2016 Mazda CX-3 26 cx3 ext gif

World-class safety underpins the pleasure of driving the Mazda CX-3


Based on Mazda Proactive Safety, every effort is dedicated to minimising the risks that can lead to an accident and maximising the range of conditions in which the driver can drive safely and confidently. Active safety measures to help identify potential risks early on and reduce any chance of damage or injury include the adoption of Mazda’s i-ACTIVSENSE advanced safety technologies. These enable the driver to enjoy every outing, whether driving on city streets, on the motorway, or on winding roads. Passive safety features build on Mazda’s high-strength SKYACTIV-Body. Dedicated effort went into providing optimum occupant safety, including the seatbelts and airbag system, and also toward helping protect pedestrians. The result is truly excellent safety performance, and the Mazda CX-3 is fully capable of earning high-level safety ratings in collision tests around the world.


Active safety

  • Adoption of Mazda’s i-ACTIVSENSE advanced safety technologies, which use sensing devices such as millimetre wave radar, ensures the driver can enjoy safe driving in any scene, whether driving on city streets, the highway or winding roads.


Passive safety

  • The CX-3 employs Mazda’s high-strength SKYACTIV-Body, which effectively absorbs impact energy from any direction to suppress cabin deformation. This delivers a level of collision safety capable of earning high ratings in crash tests performed by organisations in different regions.
  • A variety of safety equipment and mechanisms are employed to protect occupants in the event of an accident. This includes an SRS airbag system, a front seat structure that firmly supports the occupant’s head, and door armrests designed to absorb impact energy.


  1. Key specifications: All-new Mazda CX-3


EU specification models (values show development targets)

Seating capacity 5
Overall length* x width x height** (mm) 4,275 X 1,765 X 1,550
Wheelbase (mm) 2,570
Engines SKYACTIV-G 2.0-litre (petrol) in two power versionsSKYACTIV-D 1.5-litre (clean diesel)
Transmissions SKYACTIV-Drive six-speed automaticSKYACTIV-MT six-speed manual
Drivetrain*** Front-wheel drive (FWD)All-wheel drive (AWD)
Front suspension MacPherson struts
Rear suspension Torsion beam axle
Steering Rack & pinion
Brakes (front/rear) Ventilated discs / Solid discs
Tyres 215/50R18

* Without license plate

** With antenna, unladen

*** AWD models available in Europe with all engine-transmission combinations; FWD not offered for SKYACTIV-D 1.5 with SKYACTIV-Drive automatic

cx3 ext gif

EU Powertrain line-up (as of October, 2014)

Engine /Transmission Drive Europe
SKYACTIV-G 2.0-litre
SKYACTIV-D 1.5-litre



US specification model (values show development targets)

Seating capacity 5
Overall length* x width x height** (mm) 4,275 X 1,765 X 1,550
Wheelbase (mm) 2,570
Engine SKYACTIV-G 2.0 direct-injection (petrol)
Transmission SKYACTIV-Drive six-speed automatic
Front suspension MacPherson struts
Rear suspension Torsion beam axle
Steering Rack & pinion
Brakes (front/rear) Ventilated discs / Solid discs
Tyres 215/50R18

* Without license plate

** With antenna, unladen


Japan specification model (values show development targets)

Seating capacity 5
Overall length* x width x height** (mm) 4,275 X 1,765 X 1,550
Wheelbase (mm) 2,570
Engine SKYACTIV-D 1.5 clean diesel
Transmission SKYACTIV-MT six-speed manual
Front suspension MacPherson struts
Rear suspension Torsion beam axle
Steering Rack & pinion
Brakes (front/rear) Ventilated discs / Solid discs
Tyres 215/50R18

* Without license plate

** With antenna, unladencx3 gif

About The Author

Tom Burkart is the founder and managing editor of Car-Revs-Daily.com, an innovative and rapidly expanding automotive news magazine. He holds a Journalism JBA degree from the University of Wisconsin - Madison. Tom currently resides in Charleston, South Carolina with his two amazing dogs, Drake and Tank. Mr. Burkart is available for all questions and concerns by email Tom(at)car-revs-daily.com.