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Compact Mazda CUV to Break Cover in Geneva

CX-3? CX-4? We do know it will get a breakthrough engine.

by on Feb.05, 2019

Mazda is preparing to show off a new crossover at the Geneva Motor Show, but if its a CX-3 or CX-4 is anyone's guess.

Mazda has released a very well-camouflaged teaser image of a “new compact SUV” coming to the Geneva Motor Show a month from now.

Problem is, the accompanying text opens up more questions than it answers, including the most basic: will it go by the name Mazda CX-3, replacing the current small crossover, or be dubbed the CX-4? There seems to be a fairly big split among industry-watchers as to which will prove to be correct.

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But it does appear that we have an answer to two other questions. For one thing, the new crossover will be “the first production car to feature Mazda’s innovative SPCCI technology,” the company confirms, a reference to what is more often referred to as the SkyActiv-X engine.

For those not familiar with the “X,” it will become the first production powertrain that can run in homogeneous charge compression mode. Essentially, it uses extremely high compression rates, like a diesel, but runs on gasoline. Other automakers have been trying to figure out how to make HCCI work effectively and been stymied. Mazda’s approach is to add a spark plug to ensure the highly compressed fuel-air mixture always ignites at the right time. That’s why it calls its technology SPCCI, or Spark Plug Controlled Compression Ignition.

(Mazda shows off “matured” design for new Mazda3. Click Here for the story.)

Mazda has a CX-4 in China, but if it plans to make this new crossover coming next month the new CX-4, a makeover is clearly in the works.

The automaker claims it still can get diesel-like fuel economy, as well as surprisingly good performance, out of the engine – something TheDetroitBureau.com experienced in 2017 when it drove an early Skyactiv-X prototype.

To further enhance the efficiency of the package, the engine will now be paired with Mazda’s new M Hybrid system, marking a critical move into electrification. The company had been reluctant to start using battery technology and had hoped it might somehow do well enough with the Skyactiv-X alone, but it has now accepted the idea it will be offering hybrids and even more advanced battery technologies over the next few years.

As to which designation the new model will get, some are betting the Geneva news will focus on a replacement for the existing CX-3 crossover. That’s a reasonably sound prediction, but it requires one to accept the idea that the existing model will grow a moderate amount in its new version, taking it from the subcompact to compact category.

(Click Here for TDB’s first drive in the 2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata.)

One reason this works is that Mazda is confirming the new model will be based off the “new-generation” Skyactiv Vehicle Architecture that underpins the latest Mazda3 hatchback.

The new Mazda3 sedan will share the same platform at the new crossover the company is displaying in Geneva next month.

An alternate prediction is that the new crossover will slot in-between the CX-3 and the recently launched CX-5. In other words, meet the new CX-4, they suggest. That would make sense for a number of reasons, including the idea that Mazda might want to retain an entry into the subcompact crossover segment – especially for the European and Japanese markets.

There already is a CX-4 in China, though it’s more of a station wagon than true crossover. But the idea of a redesign is not out of the question.

What we can see here is that the Geneva CUV will be a bit taller and wider, and feature round taillamps and LED accent lights.

(No more what if: Mazda bringing out a faster Miata. Click Here for the story.)

Oh, and there’s one more question that appears to have been answered by Drew Carey, Mazda’s new PR chief. He indicates that, whatever it’s called, the new crossover will be coming to the States.

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