Mazda may expand its lineup with a smaller crossover that fits beneath the CX-5. Autocar reports that Mazda plans to launch a "B-segment" crossover by 2016, along with a new full-size model at the same time.
Mazda officials reportedly don't plan for the new crossover to look much like the CX-5 (pictured), telling Autocar that it will be "prettier and more expressive, in line with our 'Kodo' design language." We first heard reports of a small Mazda crossover, possibly called the CX-3, late last year. The new model was said to be based on the next-generation Mazda 2 hatchback and could use small four-cylinder turbodiesel or turbo gasoline engines.
If Mazda plans to build a crossover based on the next-gen 2 hatchback, the timing of a 2016 launch makes sense. We previously reported that the all-new Mazda 2 will go on sale late next year as a 2015 model, so a crossover variant could conceivably follow a year later. The new Mazda 2 is expected to ride on a new SkyActiv platform and could use 1.4- or 1.6-liter inline-four engines. Because Mazda's American product team has had a heavy hand in the development process, the 2 is expected to be more competitive in our market. Nonetheless, it's unclear whether a B-segment crossover would be sold in the U.S.; the only real model currently in that segment is the Buick Encore, and reports suggest a Mazda CX-3 would likely be a European-only affair.
It's also not surprising that we can expect a new full-size crossover from Mazda in less than three years' time, as earlier reports posited that the Japanese automaker will soon revamp the three-row CX-9. Although the Mazda CX-9 was face-lifted for the 2013 model year, the big crossover is not yet on one of Mazda's modern SkyActiv chassis and isn't as fuel-efficient as some rivals. We expect the next Mazda CX-9 to debut by 2015 as a 2016 model. It could use a turbocharged four-cylinder engine, or possibly a V-6 engine borrowed from another manufacturer, as Mazda doesn't currently build any SkyActiv V-6 engines.