Mazda today unveiled its new compact SUV, the CX-3, at the 2014 LA Auto Show.

The CX-3 shares much of its styling with the new Mazda2, with which it also shares its wheelbase of 2,570mm.

The CX-3’s overall dimensions are smaller than those of a Nissan Qashqai, and the company claims to have achieved excellent passenger space thanks to ‘human-centric packaging.’

Familiar Mazda styling cues have been accentuated with the CX-3, and to our mind the new model is perhaps the company’s most well-resolved embodiment of its ‘Kodo’ design language.

High points include the wing motif that underscores the large front grille and continues into the headlights, while chunky wheel-arch extensions emphasise the CX-3’s all-wheel-drive capability.

This wing design element continues inside, with the shape of the instrument cluster following that seen elsewhere in the range such as the Mazda3, while the design of the fascia closely echoes that of the new Mazda2, with its high-resolution touch-screen providing access to the company’s excellent MZD Connect navigation and infotainment system.

Two engines will initially be available: a 1.5-litre SkyActiv-D diesel and a 2.0-litre petrol SkyActiv-G unit in two power versions.

Both will be available with a choice of front- or all-wheel-drive, plus manual or automatic transmissions.

A new AWD system, based on that of the CX-5, uses a power take-off and new rear differential, combined with an active torque control system.

A full set of safety systems are expected to be available, including Mazda’s i-ActivSense radar-based system.

The new Mazda CX-3 goes on sale in Japan in spring 2015 and global markets soon after.