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Mazda preparing subcompact crossover, Subaru sitting out segment

Tentatively called CX-3, the crossover could share its platform with the new Mazda2.

Mazda has confirmed it is putting the final touches on a long-rumored subcompact crossover designed to slot underneath the CX-5.

"[A subcompact crossover] is not that far away," hinted Martin Benders, the head of Mazda's Australian division, in an interview with The Motor Report.

Tentatively called CX-3, Mazda's next crossover will reportedly share its platform and the bulk of its mechanical components with the new Mazda2 hatchback (pictured) that is scheduled to greet the public at the Paris Motor Show next October. Both front- and all-wheel drive models will be available.

Outside, the CX-3 will borrow styling cues such as a shield-shaped radiator grille and narrow headlights from the aforementioned 2 and the larger Mazda3. Sculpted flanks and sharp horizontal tail lamps will emphasize the soft-roader's KODO genes.

When launched, the Mazda CX-3 will compete in the hotly-contested subcompact crossover segment against the new Jeep Renegade, the Nissan Juke and the upcoming Honda HR-V. The CX-3's base price will likely lie in the vicinity of $20,000.

Although Mazda has not revealed when it will present the CX-3, we wouldn't be surprised to see it bow at a major auto show in Europe or in the United States next year. Whether or not the crossover will land in U.S. showrooms in time for the 2016 model year is up in the air.

Subaru Sits OutIn a separate report, Subaru has announced it will not join the subcompact crossover fray and instead focus on developing its core models. A spokesperson for the automaker explained executives have not been able to make a favorable business case for a pint-sized crossover because Subaru doesn't have access to a platform on which to build it and small-displacement gasoline- and diesel-burning engines with which to power it.

Developing the required components in-house would be an overly expensive endeavor, especially considering that the subcompact crossover's main market would be Europe where a lack of image has historically hampered Subaru sales.

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