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Future models - Mazda - CX-3

CX-3 to usher in new business for Mazda

Hitting the spot: Mazda Australia will be one of the first markets to launch the new CX-3 small SUV in about April next year.

Mazda's compact SUV to lure customers dissatisfied with current crop of contenders

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Mazda logo20 Nov 2014

By BYRON MATHIOUDAKIS

MAZDA expects its all-new CX-3 to be a conquest customer hero when it is launched in Australia about April next year.

Speaking to Australian journalists in Hollywood at the small SUV’s global unveiling on the eve of the Los Angeles motor show, Mazda Australia managing director Martin Benders said he was confident buyers were out there waiting for the right combination of price, features, design and engineering.

“Research conducted by us suggests that there are people out there looking to moving from a small car to an SUV,” he said.

“And so I think the CX-3 is a great opportunity to grab new business from other brands.

“It is a sweet car in a sweet spot in the market and so it has plenty of potential for us.”

The new Mazda2-based SUV will be powered by a choice of 1.5-litre diesel and 2.0-litre petrol four-cylinder SkyActiv engines, mated with a six-speed automatic transmission.

It will also be available in two-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive formats in Australia where it will sit below Mazda's super-successful CX-5 mid-sizer in the SUV range.

While Mazda is not talking pricing or specification of CX-3 at this early stage, the company has strongly indicated it will be keenly priced within the competitive set of the compact SUV segment.

Marketing director Alastair Doak told GoAuto the company had undertaken extensive research into the small and compact SUV segment, and that the market positioning of the CX-3 would reflect all that hard work to get the vehicle right for Australia.

“I believe it will be the best all round package in its class,” he said.

Mazda is confident the CX-3 will make waves in the market, especially with other current compact SUV strong sellers such as the Hyundai ix35 – which leads the class with 15,028 units sold to the end of October - and Volkswagen Tiguan (another top five player) now in their twilight years.

Furthermore, both rivals are likely to move up into the medium segment when their larger next-generation replacements arrive later in 2015 or in 2016.

“It will give us a chance to establish what is a really new and fresh product in the compact SUV segment,” Mr Doak said.

Sandwiched between the ix35 and Tiguan in the class are the Holden Trax, Subaru XV, Nissan Dualis/Qashqai and Mitsubishi ASX – though only the Trax is a properly B-segment light-car-based crossover.

Mazda reckons that although the CX-3 is based on the latest-generation Mazda2 hatchback, it has the sort of premium design and versatile specification including all-wheel drive and turbo-diesel engine availability to move to the head of the segment.

“We’ve made sure we’ve done it right with the CX-3,” Mr Doak said. “Otherwise there’s no sense in us even trying to get into that market.”

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