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2016 Mazda CX-3 Overview

IRVINE, Calif. (May 1, 2015) – Smartly designed and capable of handling many of life’s adventures, the 2016 Mazda CX-3 is the fifth vehicle introduced to the U.S. with KODO—Soul of Motion design and showcasing the full suite of Mazda’s signature SKYACTIV Technology. Debuting at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show, CX-3 was developed to “Create the standard for the next era.” It’s a vehicle designed to meet the needs of a new generation of car buyers, supporting creative, adventurous lifestyles wherever – from the urban sprawl to the weekend getaway.

“The 2016 CX-3 is the next evolution of our mission to meld style, driving enjoyment and efficiency into a vehicle that demonstrates drivers don’t need to compromise to get what they want,” said Jim O’Sullivan, president and CEO, Mazda North American Operations (MNAO). “CX-3 was designed to deliver all of the fun and technology of our larger models but at a price in the market where it will be a draw for buyers of all backgrounds. It is truly a vehicle that will help set the pace for its newly emerging segment.”

CX-3 is shorter and lower than Mazda’s best-selling CX-5 and delivers uncompromised versatility with available predictive i-ACTIV all-wheel drive, a punchy 146-horsepower, 2.0-liter SKYACTIV-G engine and Mazda’s full suite of i-ACTIVSENSE safety features optionally available, including lane-departure warning, rear cross-traffic alert, Smart Brake Support, rear camera, Smart City Brake Support (SCBS) and Mazda Radar Cruise Control (MRCC).

Yet, CX-3 is more than the sum of its parts. It is a vehicle tailored to deliver a rich, inviting experience not just for its driver, but also for its passengers, with rear seats set slightly inboard to ease conversation between front and rear passengers. It is a vehicle with interior details and materials that look and feel as elegant as they are forward-thinking, from the dark red seat stitching to the soft touch materials.

And it is a vehicle that carries itself with style, with a long hood, short overhangs, large wheels and a slim cabin, presenting proportions that lend themselves to a sense of strength and vitality. It’s a design that looks as though it’s in motion even when it’s not.

Attention to detail sets CX-3 apart

The subcompact crossover segment is growing quickly, but CX-3 stands alone with its attention to detail and purpose-led ergonomics. Standard inside CX-3 is a push-button starter and Mazda Connect infotainment offering Bluetooth phone pairing, audio streaming, USB ports for phone charging and entertainment connectivity and Commander control knob, as well as a seven-inch color touchscreen interface – all means of keeping connected in a quick-paced environment.

Mazda Connect also features SMS text message audio delivery and reply, voice command and Aha/Stitcher/Pandora/HD radio connectivity.

Other available features include:

  • BOSE seven-speaker audio system
  • Active Driving Display
  • Blind spot monitoring with cross-traffic alert
  • Heated exterior mirrors
  • One-, two- or three-tone premium cloth, leatherette or leather interior seating surfaces

The driver-oriented cockpit comes adorned with thoughtful touches, such as available stitching on the gauge hood, premium textures and rich, soft-touch materials, red accenting throughout the interior and handles and switches that evoke a feeling of tailored craftsmanship.

CX-3 feels distinctly “Mazda,” from its materials to its layout that puts the driver and passenger comfort and control above all else. Yet, it charts new territory with an intimate environment designed to feel timeless and personalized, catering to those who sweat the details and crave not just a mode of transportation but an experience and expression of their personalities.

Curb appeal aplenty

CX-3 exudes a sense of confidence and maturity with bold looks and beautiful proportions. Upfront, a pronounced grill borders in a signature wing. This element lends a sense of flow to the body and looks as though it were formed from a single piece of metal, and the body’s overall proportions are not fettered by conventional classifications of vehicle type.

Achieving CX-3’s design 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 to achieve the appropriate ambience and fine textures of the materials lends itself to a high-quality, sophisticated cabin.


  • The front view of the CX-3 is designed to present a bold look that suits the model’s stylish proportions. The grille stacks seven fins with available silver-painted front edges to create an expression of concentrated energy that flows horizontally. The signature wing grille surround 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 that as if they were eyes gazing forward. The tips of the signature-wing extend into the headlamps with an integrated available LED illumination line. This connects seamlessly with the lighting signature that surrounds the low beams, accentuating CX-3’s taut lines.
  • 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. Careful attention was devoted to creating the rich expression and subtle changes in each of the body surfaces. The front half of the body features a long nose with a flowing shape; the cabin section presents a sleek look achieved 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 realize a short overhang design that gives the rear a clean look and sense of solidity.
  • CX-3 is available in the newly developed Ceramic Metallic body color, which was introduced on the 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata. Its expression of a finely honed metallic surface and strong sense of hardness changes in appearance depending on the angle and intensity of light hitting it. The color joins Soul Red with show-car-levels of paint quality. Mazda had to develop an entirely new paint process to apply these industry-unique colors, and they further make the CX-3 stand apart from its more pedestrian competition.


  • The interior offers a high-quality and sophisticated feel that complements the exterior design. Attention was paid to every detail, including the cohesiveness of designs and quality of materials.
  • The surrounding character line and relatively high beltline, along with the deeply sculpted three-dimensional form of the door trim, create a comforting atmosphere for front-seat passengers.
  • All information displays and control systems are positioned in toward the driver based on “Mazda’s Head-up Cockpit” concept.
  • The soft material that covers the hood over top of the gauges features a stitch-like finish on its front edge on Grand Touring models.
  • Each part has been refined to provide the interior with a polished, high-quality feel. Examples includes the available dark red accent color used on the door trim armrests and floor console kneepads and the sharp form of the inner door handle bezels, which look as if they were sculpted from solid metal.

Fine piping has been added where the different coordinated seat materials meet, such as the Parchment leather and Lux Suede® offering in Grand Touring trim, producing a sophisticated environment.

Packaging and Pricing

Human-centric packaging aimed at true ease of use

In addition to applying the latest iteration of the KODO design language, CX-3 development also focused on providing space for everyday use and practicality. It provides drivers with the clear view they need, is easy to enter and exit with a seating position that lends a reassuring sense of confidence when driving. When CX-3 goes on sale in Fall 2015, MSRP is expected to start in the low $20,000s. All trim levels – Sport, Touring and Grand Touring – comes with a standard SKYACTIV-G 2.0-liter engine, paired exclusively with a six-speed automatic transmission.

The powertrain offering produces 146 horsepower and 146 lb-ft of torque. EPA-estimated fuel economy is not yet certified, but Mazda engineers anticipate it to achieve fuel economy at the top of its class.

CX-3 Sport

A gateway into the Mazda brand, CX-3 Sport will comes standard 2.0-liter SKYACTIV-G engine, six-speed automatic transmission with manual-shift Sport mode, 16-inch steel wheels, premium cloth seats with a 60/40 split-fold rear bench seat, Bluetooth® hands-free phone pairing and audio streaming, push-button start, AM/FM/CD player, USB input, tilt/telescoping steering wheel, cruise control, air conditioning, power windows and door locks and keyless entry. MAZDA CONNECT infotainment with a seven-inch monitor, rear camera, multi-function commander control, voice command, Aha/Pandora/Stitcher internet radio compatibility, SMS text message audio delivery and reply and E911 Automatic Emergency Notification also come standard. i-ACTIV AWD is available. Specifications are subject to change.

CX-3 Touring

CX-3 Touring combines the features of CX-3 Sport with added amenities like 16-inch alloy wheels, a six-speaker audio system, heated exterior mirrors, mirror-mounted turn signal lamps and center armrest. Leatherette seats are also available, as are a seven-speaker premium BOSE audio system, power glass moonroof, SiriusXM satellite radio, HD radio, heated seats and cargo cover. Specifications are subject to change.

CX-3 Grand Touring

At the top of the CX-3 range, CX-3 Grand Touring comes with standard 18-inch alloy wheels, power moonroof, leather/Lux Suede® seats, LED headlights, adaptive front lighting, LED fog lights, LED daytime running lamps, navigation system, BOSE premium audio system with seven speakers, SiriusXM/HD radio, automatic climate control, Active Driving Display, paddle shifters, driver and front passenger seat heaters and rear cargo cover.

Available equipment includes the GT i-ACTIVSENSE package, which includes Mazda Radar Cruise Control (MRCC), Smart City Brake Support, Smart Brake Support, lane-departure warning, high beam control, automatic on/off headlights and rain-sensing wipers. Specifications are subject to change.

Crystal White Pearl Mica and Soul Red Metallic paint colors are available as premium paint options on all trim levels.

Dimensions, comfort and ease of entry/exit

  • With dimensions of 168.3 in. overall length, 69.6 in. width and 60.7 in. height (when equipped with the shark fin antenna and 16-inch wheels; 60.9 inches with 18-inch wheels and shark fin antenna), CX-3’s size makes it easy to handle, even when driving in town or parking. Its long 101.2-in. wheelbase establishes flowing proportions while securing adequate space for comfortable seating.
  • The front seats provide excellent shoulder room, distance between the two front seats and legroom to comfortably seat occupants of any size.
  • The seating position of the rear seats is set closer to the center of the cabin than the front seats, and the hip-point is set taller than on the front seats. The resulting layout makes it easier for rear seat occupants to see out of the front and to enjoy conversation with people sitting 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.

Finding the “perfect” driving position

  • An optimal driving position allows the driver to enjoy driving while appreciating a more clear view, adding to a feeling of confidence.
  • The CX-3 provides a wide field of vision. At the same time, mounting the outer mirrors on the body panel of the doors widens the field of vision between the front window and mirror. To maximize 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 adopted.
  • Positioning the front wheels forward and optimizing the shape of the pedals and the distance between them provides a comfortable driving position that enables the driver to sit comfortably, extend his or her legs and reach the pedals more naturally. A floor-hinged accelerator pedal is used because the arc it travels as the driver presses down on it is more natural feeling than that of a top-hinged pedal.
  • The seatbacks and cushions are designed for a comfortable ride while still fitting all shapes and sizes of drivers.

Human-Machine Interface (HMI) and connectivity system

  • Mazda’s new-generation HMI pursues safety as its top priority. The cockpit design is based on the “Head-up Cockpit” concept, which aims to help drivers process large amounts of information while maintaining the correct driving position and concentrating on driving safely.
  • Mazda Connect is an in-car infotainment system that makes it safer and easier to take advantage of functions such as music streaming and communications on the move. It provides great convenience by enabling hands-free phone operation, reception of short text messages and internet radio including Aha by HARMAN via Bluetooth® connectivity, Pandora and Stitcher.
  • Information the driver requires and the devices for controlling its display are optimally positioned with safety in mind. This includes the Active Driving Display, seven-inch center display and commander control that come as part of Mazda Connect.

A crossover that handles like a Mazda

Mazda is in constant pursuit of creating vehicles that deliver driving pleasure and have a response matching the driver’s actions. Mazda’s Jinba Ittai — literally “horse and rider as one” —philosophy on driving experience and cannot be achieved merely with power and speed. Based on Jinba Ittai, the CX-3 development team focused on delivering ease of handling on city streets, reassuring confidence on the highway and, in particular, on faithful response when negotiating curving roads.

By fully adopting SKYACTIV Technology and tuning all the characteristics, Mazda produced light, linear responses to the driver’s actions. Front-wheel drive comes standard, and Mazda’s industry-first predictive i-ACTIV AWD system is available on all trim levels. Using the vehicle’s onboard thermometer to determine ambient temperature, ABS and stability control systems to determine vehicle direction and available traction, and other sensors throughout the vehicle, i-ACTIV AWD routes power to the most surefooted wheels in inclement conditions.

But the real secret to the system is that it is able to predict where the drive needs to be routed –front to back – based on available data about the driving situation and react before the vehicle slips, not just react as other systems do. CX-3 also uses a newly developed power take-off and compact, lightweight rear differential.

Chassis and body

  • The CX-3 features Mazda’s unique SKYACTIV-CHASSIS, which is lightweight and relies on application of high-tensile-strength steel in selected locations to deliver refinement befitting a considerably more expensive vehicle. Engineers fine-tuned every related component to optimize natural response, ease of control and reassuring confidence, along with a sharp, progressive steering feel.
  • The CX-3 also adopts Mazda’s SKYACTIV-BODY, which achieves high levels of performance in three areas: collision safety, weight reduction and rigidity. It combines effective positioning of high-tensile steel and optimized cross section shapes to produce a body that features high rigidity, which translates to excellent road feel.
  • The chassis employs a lightweight torsion-beam rear suspension system that features highly efficient packaging.
  • The EPAS steering system allows light and agile handling in the city and in parking lots but feels stable on winding country roads and the highway, with a light weight, progressing to a firmly weighted, precise feel.
  • The brake system enables excellent control of vehicle speed at low- to mid-speeds and offers excellent braking performance under high-speed and high G-force conditions.
  • The usage ratio of high-tensile steel throughout the vehicle body and parts is 63 percent. The usage ratio of ultra-high-tensile steel (780MPa or higher) is 29 percent and four percent of the total is rated 1,180 MPa.

NVH and Aerodynamic Performance

  • Quietness is achieved through 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 CX-3s equipped with i-ACTIV AWD, additional reinforcements were added to the crossmember that connects the rear frame, and the shape of the beading used on the spare tire pan was modified to enhance aerodynamic performance and rigidity.
  • 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 improved fuel economy.

Preliminary Specs for 2016 Mazda CX-3

Body Type 5-Door Crossover SUV
Seating Capacity 5
Overall Length x Width x Height  168.3 x 69.6 x 60.7  inches
Wheelbase 101.2 inches
Engine SKYACTIV-G 2.0L gasoline engine
Transmission 6-speed automatic transmission
Drivetrain Front-Wheel Drive or i-ACTIV All-Wheel Drive
Maximum Power 146 horsepower at 6,000 rpm
Maximum Torque 146 lb-ft torque at 2,800 rpm
Suspension (Front / Rear) Macpherson strut / Torsion Beam Axle
Brake (Front / Rear) Diagonal Hydraulic
Steering System Rack-and-pinion

P215/60R16 94H

P215/50R18 92V


16 X 6.5J

16 X 6.5J

18 X 7J


FWD: 2,809 lbs.

AWD: 2,952 lbs.

Mazda North American Operations is headquartered in Irvine, Calif., and oversees the sales, marketing, parts and customer service support of Mazda vehicles in the United States and Mexico through nearly 700 dealers. Operations in Mexico are managed by Mazda Motor de Mexico in Mexico City. For more information on Mazda vehicles, including photography and B-roll, please visit the online Mazda media center at