Crossovers are big business. Appearing almost out of nowhere, these compact SUVs, which are largely based on hatchback underpinnings, have quickly established themselves amongst the most popular cars in the UK. Mazda is now the latest manufacturer to get in on the action, with the brand new CX-3.

Unveiled at a special preview event ahead of this week’s Los Angeles motor show, the CX-3 slots into the Mazda range below the popular CX-5 off-roader and is based on the 2 supermini.

In its armoury, the CX-3 will feature the sharp ‘Kodo’ design language that now characterises Mazda’s range, a stylish interior and the choice of front- and all-wheel drive. Three engines will be on offer – two 2.0-litre petrol units and a 1.5-litre diesel. All are mated to a six-speed manual gearbox as standard, with a six-speed automatic available as an option.

The new model will be launched in spring 2015 and should boast an impressive blend of economy and performance, becoming the fifth Mazda to feature the company’s ‘SKYACTIV’ fuel-saving technologies. The car will also feature Mazda’s latest all-wheel-drive system, for added traction on slippery surfaces.

The CX-3 will additionally benefit from a range of new ‘i-ACTIVSENSE’ safety kit, along with a lightweight but stiff body construction. In-car entertainment will be taken care of with Mazda’s MZD-Connect in-car media system.

Mazda also chose LA to show off its latest MX-5 sports car, first revealed at the Paris motor show last month, and the mildly refreshed Mazda 6 saloon.

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