The Evolution of the Crossover: The Mazda CX-3

Mazda's smallest crossover yet, the 2016 Mazda CX-3 made its debut at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show. It will compete against new mini-crossovers like the Honda HRV, Chevy Trax, Jeep Renegade, Fiat 500X, and the already available Nissan Juke. Those narrow headlamps and the blacked-out pillars in the back make this the sweetest ride in it's class.

The 2016 CX-3 is packed with the direct injected 2.0L four cylinder SKYACTIV-G engine mated to a six-speed automatic transmission, with a manual option. The same engine pumps out 155hp and 150 ft-lbs of torque in the 2014 Mazda3 and the EPA estimates 34 mpg combined city and highway. The CX-3 is the first to have the new-generation Mazda AWD system that “delivers powerful linear performance and outstanding environmental performance” (mazda.com).

Controls and layout are nearly the same as in the current Mazda3. Mazda promises the front seats will be set high enough for Papa Smurf to see over the steering wheel. Features include a radar-based forward collision prevention system, the Mazda Connect car connectivity system, i-Activsense (lane departure warnings and blind-spot detection), and a Top Gun style pop-up active driving display.

The Mazda CX-3 will be expected to start under the CX-5 that is currently priced at $21,545. The Mazda CX-3 isn’t quite a performance-thirsty beast, but with Mazda’s new all-wheel drive system, we know something good is in the works.