Mazda announces 2016 CX-3 specs, features

Automatic only; pricing and EPA figures TBD

Mazda announced full specifications and trim information for its upcoming CX-3 compact crossover Friday. We now know the small CUV will be powered by a 146-horsepower SkyActiv four-cylinder mated exclusively to a six-speed automatic transmission and available with front- or all-wheel-drive.

Mazda's new 2-based 'ute will compete with Honda's HR-V, Chevy's Trax and Jeep's Renegade, among other established and upcoming models. It may lack the six-speed manual option found in some of its competitors and the beefier engines available in others, but it does have one one thing in its corner: curb weight.

In front-wheel-drive guise, the new CX-3 will tip the scales at just 2,809lbs; all-wheel-drive pushes that figure up to 2,952lbs. Mazda's two-liter SkyActiv engine boasts 146 lb-ft of torque (matching its horsepower figure) and should motivate the little Mazda sufficiently. Given that the larger CX-5 was offered with a manual transmission from the get-go, the absence of one here is a bit of a let down, but given its availability overseas, it can't be ruled out completely as a late-availability option.

The CX-3 borrows 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 emphasize the soft-roader's KODO genes, bringing it in line with Mazda's current design language.

The interior is essentially carried over from the Mazda2. The CX-3 features a simple, function-oriented cockpit with a three-spoke multi-function steering wheel, a color screen that pops up from an otherwise bare dashboard and a digital instrument cluster. The crossover will be offered with a long list of high-tech options including a heads-up display, Bose audio, an "active driving display" and blind-spot/cross-traffic monitoring.

The CX-3 will be offered in Sport, Touring and Grand Touring trims, following Mazda's conventional trim structure.

Sport models receive 16" steel wheels, USB connectivity, cruise control and a full infotainment suite (complete with a seven-inch screen, E911 assist, SMS text audio delivery, Aha/Pandora/Stitcher compatibility and voice control).

The Touring trim adds aluminum wheels (still 16"), an upgrade speaker system, and heated exterior mirrors with integrated turn signals. Leatherette is available, along with a moonroof, heated seats and other amenities.

The Grand Touring tops out the range, adding leather, 18" alloy wheels, adaptive LED headlights, navigation and Bose premium audio, along with other driver aids and comforts.

Pricing and EPA figures for the 2.0L engine will be available closer to the CX-3's on-sale date later this year.

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