Juked: 2016 Mazda CX-3

Finally, the Nissan Juke has some competition.

2016 Mazda CX-3

Nissan Juke alternative: 2016 Mazda CX-3

The compact utility vehicle segment will soon be populated by a new model — the 2016 Mazda CX-3 — what is making its global debut today at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show. Where the ugly, but fun Juke polarized the masses, the CX-3 presents a more desirable persona, one that also advances Mazda’s attractive KODO-Soul of Motion design language.

The all-new Mazda CX-3 should serve as a signal to all that Mazda intends to stay in the US market and that its product line is one of the more stylish ones in the business.

2016 Mazda CX-3

2016 Mazda CX-3

That Mazda’s newest model is a utility vehicle should surprise no one. The crossover utility vehicle market continues to grow and the bottom end of the market is woefully under-represented. Nissan has largely had the market to itself since it introduced the Juke in 2011, now shoppers have a choice in what most likely will become a red-hot segment as manufacturers ready competing models.

Of the 2016 Mazda CX-3, Jim O’Sullivan, president and CEO of Mazda North American Operations said, “CX-3 complements the Mazda lineup, as it perfectly hits the target in a rapidly growing segment in the industry. Customers are shopping for vehicles that are fun to drive, great to look at, fit their busy lifestyles and are an outstanding value, both at purchase and when it comes time to trade it in, making every Mazda a smart choice.” Yes, take that Nissan: Mazda thinks your Juke is, well, too freaking ugly.

2016 Mazda CX-3

Gas Engine Only, No Manual Transmission

The 2016 Mazda CX-3 has been designed for global release. In the US, it will be powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. Sorry, unlike the Nissan Juke, there is no manual transmission for the states.

Other markets will see a 1.5-liter diesel engine — imagine such a model available in the US. Well, keep on dreaming as Mazda has no plans to bring diesel clatter stateside, at least not for the CX-3.

The Mazda CX-3 will offer standard front-wheel drive and available all-wheel drive with active torque control for improved handling. Seating five, the CX-3 measures 101.2 inches between the wheels and is 168.3 inches long, 69.5 inches wide and 61 inches tall.

2016 Mazda CX-3

KODO Design Language

From the outside, the Mazda CX-3 advances the brand’s now-familiar face. The headlamp design has the turn signals located outside of the main headlamp unit for a narrow, sharp design. Those lights connect seamlessly with the grille and are integrated with the LED daytime running lights. The front fascia is sporty and displays an aggressive look.

This model has strong shoulders, a powerful stance and its body lines suggest a vehicle in motion, hence the KODO look. Dramatically arched wheels, strong profile characteristics, rocker panel trim and a sports car like roofline enhance its muscular persona. To the rear the Mazda CX-3 is outfitted with a spoiler, wraparound tail lamps and twin chrome exhaust pipes.

Inside, the design flair includes a driver-oriented cockpit, generous use of soft-touch materials and special accents across the door, on the seats and across the dashboard. Cloth seating is standard, parchment leather and suede are available.

Mazda’s SKYACTIV thinking extends to the body that offers a more rigid design for better handling, improved safety and weight reduction. In the CX-3, Mazda makes greater use of high-tensile steel and ultra-high tensile steel throughout the body.

2016 Mazda CX-3

Japan First, Then the World

You’ll have to wait a while for the Mazda CX-3 to show up at US Mazda dealers. Mazda says that it will go on sale first in Japan next spring, then roll out to other markets as the year advances. Pricing, trim levels and other details will be shared closer to its release date.

2016 Mazda CX-3

Photos courtesy of Mazda North American Operations.

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Matthew Keegan
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