Intent on grabbing a piece of the expanding subcompact crossover market, the 2016 Mazda CX-3 debuted in Los Angeles. Spun from the architecture used on the new Mazda2, the CX-3 fully embraces both the automaker's SkyActiv suite of powertrain technologies and its Kodo - Soul of Motion styling language. Roughly a foot shorter than its CX-5 sibling, the 5-passenger CX-3 has a 5.1-inch shorter wheelbase -- numbers that rivals the new Fiat 500X and Honda HR-V.

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The CX-3's bold exterior reflects the sharpest and most dynamic take on the Kodo look to date. Its prominent grille and head/tail light treatments leave no doubt as to its family pedigree while the CX-3's flowing body contours are effectively complemented by short front/rear overhangs, blacked-out D-pillars and contrasting lower cladding that create a seamless blend of contemporary style and genuine substance. 

Youthful character

The youthful character extends to CX-3's cabin, which features soft-touch surfaces and red accent trim whether the seats are covered in cloth or available leather. This newcomer is clean, modern-looking and incorporates the ergonomically configured dash and console similar to those that will appear in the 2016 Mazda2. The CX-3 sports a split/folding rear bench featuring a raised lower cushion to improve the sightlines of those riding in the aft. Like other new Mazda products, the 2016 CX-3 will offer the automaker's i-ActivSense advanced safety technologies as well as the heads-up Active Driving Display screen ahead of the driver along with a 7.0-inch fixed center display accessed through Mazda's commander control. The CX-3's option roster also will include the Mazda Connect in-car infotainment system.  

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All CX-3 models sold in North America will be powered by a 2.0-liter SkyActiv-G gasoline engine -- although Mazda has yet to confirm final output figures - backed by a 6-speed automatic transmission. Buyers can choose either front-drive or all-wheel drive configurations. Opting for the latter brings a new-gen system that incorporates the active torque control coupling first used on the CX-5. The system also features a world-first front-wheel slip warning detection system, a new power take-off and a smaller, lighter rear differential. Mazda promises the CX-3 will remain true to the zoom-zoom philosophy of fun-to-drive vehicles. Launching initially in Japan next spring, the 2016 Mazda CX-3 is due to arrive here later in the year. Pricing and other details regarding U.S. versions will be released closer to the on-sale date. 

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