Mazda CX-3 in a class of its own, claims design director
"We don't do cartoon cars." These are the words of Kevin Rice, design director of Mazda's R&D centre, on the topic of the new CX-3.
While this compact off-roader could be seen to go head-to-head with the popular and boldly-styled Juke, Rice vehemently denies that Mazda's new creation competes with this small Nissan: "We don't see it as a rival at all. The Juke has its own character and I think the people we're hopefully going to impress with the CX-3 have a completely different understanding of design.
"We believe the CX-3 is going to start a new segment. It has to be sophisticated, it has to handle really, really well, it has to show that sporting handling and the design has to bring that across." Rice goes as far as to describe Mazda's new off-roader as a consummate all-rounder; a machine which blends sharp design with equally-sharp handling, the option of four-wheel drive and a practical interior.
Also starring at the recent LA show was the new smaller MX-5, which has shed 100kg over its predecessor. Explaining the weight loss, Rice says: "We said let's go back to the initial inspiration, which was the 1960s sports cars – lightweight, lightweight, lightweight.
"We looked at every detail of the design, and the engineering was put under scrutiny to find out where it could be reduced weight-wise without compromising safety or performance. And that was a hell of a job."
Rice claims the new car needed to look tougher and more purposeful than the previous model, and maintain the classic roadster proportions of the original MX-5 with a long bonnet and a muscular design.