LOS ANGELES -- Mazda Motor Corp. has a new baby in the family.
The independent Japanese automaker on Tuesday formally introduced the CX-3 crossover ahead of its official unveiling at the Los Angeles Auto Show.
With the CX-3, which stands 4 inches taller than a Mazda3 compact five-door from road to roof but 7 inches shorter from bumper to bumper, Mazda is joining the growing list of automakers offering off-road looks and premium content in a package that was once considered too small for anything but economy cars.
Mazda said that it plans to launch the CX-3 next spring and sees the crossover becoming a new core model in its worldwide lineup.
“The CX-3 is a global car,” Mazda CEO Masamichi Kogai told Automotive News this month. “We have lots of owners of Mazda2 compacts. And as the lifestyles of those owners change, with growing families and such, the CX-3 will be a good replacement.”
Though it is based on the new Mazda2 subcompact, assembled in Japan, Thailand and Mexico, Kogai said the CX-3 will be manufactured only in Hiroshima, Japan.
Using Mazda’s Kodo design language, the CX-3 takes many of its cues from the Mazda3 and Mazda6, including a shield-shaped grille flanked by chrome wings with lines that extend into the headlights. But it conveys its status as a crossover with a larger air intake beneath the grille, angular housings for the fog lights and black plastic wheel arches that transition into the rear bumper.