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May 20, 2020

Mazda Gives the CX-3 A New Engine and Polymetal Gray Color for 2021

UPDATE: See Mazda Philippines response below (05/21).

The introduction of the CX-30 crossover has somewhat muddled the positioning of the smaller (and much older) CX-3, especially since the gap in pricing doesn’t really amount to much. Well, Mazda seems to have understood the problem and will start to offer the CX-3 with a brand-new engine for 2021 helping it confidently slot below the CX-30 in both price and positioning.

Now available in Japan, the CX-3 now comes with a 1.5-liter Skyactiv-G engine. This normally-aspirated direct-injected 4-cylinder engine makes 111 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 144 Nm of torque at 4,000 rpm. For those keeping score, it’s the very same engine found in the Mazda2—the sub-compact hatchback on which the CX-3 is based off on. The transmission remains a 6-speed automatic. The other engine choices—the 2.0-liter Skyactiv-G and 1.8-liter Skyactiv-D remain available.

Apart from the new engine, the 2021 CX-3 gets re-designed seats for improved comfort, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for its Mazda Connect infotainment system, and standard i-Activsense. And for those who’re loving the Polymetal Gray shade, it’s now made available on Mazda’s smallest crossover as well.

The smaller engine helps shave around 24 percent off the CX-3’s price tag. The cheapest CX-3 now comes at just P 1.892 million yen or less than P 900,000. By comparison, the sole variant of the CX-3 fitted with the 2.0-liter Skyactiv-G retails for P 1.3 million. It is not known whether Mazda will offer this new engine to markets outside Japan.

Mazda Philippines President Steven Tan responds to the possibility of the Philippines getting the CX-3 1.5:
We are sorry to disappoint that the Philippines will not offer the 1.5-liter in the CX-3. 
Let me clarify the business case for a 1.5L: it is not for lower cost, it is mostly for to meet taxation requirement. In many countries, the tax regulation favors lower engine capacity in the sensibility that smaller engines get better fuel economy. The scientist in us know that is not necessarily true today, but may be logical 20-30 years ago. 
The cost of making a 2.0-liter engine is not different from making a 1.5-liter, it is the taxation and scale which push their price points apart. If we were to offer the CX3 1.5-liter in the Philippines, it could even be more expensive when you add the engineering cost of adding a 1.5-liter in the lineup (yes it takes engineering resources to add a new engine even if the engine exists in another model -- homologation and compliance adds cost). And so we will stay with a more powerful 2.0-liter 155 horsepower, that is probably as fuel efficient as the 1.5-liter.

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