Each Sunday or Monday, a really beneficiant man seems in my driveway with a brand new automobile. The identical man, in not as beneficiant a style, additionally removes a automobile from my driveway. The newest alternate concerned the arrival of a fourth-generation 2018 Kia Rio and the departure of the 2018 Mercedes-Benz E400 4Matic Coupe we reviewed final week.
“Chilly one immediately, eh?” I say.
“I’m getting ready myself for some chilly days in PEI this winter,” Mr. Sowerby says with a chuckle. We chat for a second a couple of latest Chevrolet Traverse occasion that was slathered throughout my Twitter feed, and as Garry will get into the Mercedes-Benz to depart he says, “You’re getting a Mazda CX-Three with a six-speed stick subsequent week.”
Huh? It could possibly’t be. Critically?
However the manual-shift CX-Three just isn’t destined for the US.
Though Mazda has confronted its share of struggles in Canada, the model continues to exert itself way more efficiently north of the border than south. By means of the primary eight months of 2017, Mazda owned Three.6 p.c of the Canadian market however simply 1.7 p.c of the market within the U.S., the place its gross sales are falling. And whereas the CX-Three is an afterthought each for Mazda’s U.S. sellers and for American subcompact crossover shoppers, the Canadian success of the CX-Three performs a big function within the model’s 7-percent year-over-year progress by way of the primary two-thirds of 2017.
Consequently, whereas Mazda’s 2018 CX-Three continues to completely hyperlink the 146-horsepower 2.Zero-liter four-cylinder to a six-speed computerized — a superb computerized that makes that 2.Zero-liter really feel surprisingly bubbly — Canadians will now be provided a six-speed handbook. Few automakers execute a handbook shifter in addition to Mazda, so this will probably be a superb alternative for Canadian subcompact crossover customers to expertise slightly bit extra of what makes Mazda Mazda.
Granted, few will achieve this. The six-speed handbook provided by Mazda Canada is reserved for the bottom GX trim and might’t be paired with all-wheel drive. The profit is a decrease MSRP: in 2017, the least pricey Mazda CX-Three in Canada stickered at $22,690, together with $1,995 in charges. For 2018, Mazda drops the bottom value by $700 and can now promote a sub-$20Okay base value (excluding charges): $19,995, or $21,990 earlier than tax. The value of the essential CX-Three GX with a six-speed computerized, in the meantime, climbs by $600 to $23,290.
Capitalizing on a number of extra potential CX-Three patrons whose urge for food for a handbook transmission would have beforehand led them to the Honda HR-V, Nissan Qashqai, Subaru Crosstrek, or Chevrolet Trax will serve some function. With the ability to promote a cheaper price on one of many phase’s leaders is probably much more essential. The CX-Three owns solely Three p.c of the U.S. subcompact crossover sector; it’s roundly outsold by the Jeep Renegade, Honda HR-V, Subaru Crosstrek, Chevrolet Trax, and Buick Encore in America. Even the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport is twice as widespread. However the CX-Three is without doubt one of the phase’s huge canine in Canada, claiming 13 p.c market share and outselling each competitor up to now this yr besides the HR-V.
Consequently, regardless of a market that’s solely one-eighth the dimensions of the US’ auto business, Canadians purchase very practically as many CX-3s as Individuals do. The 10,528-unit whole achieved by the CX-Three within the U.S. up to now this yr is just one.5 occasions stronger than Mazda Canada’s CX-Three whole.
Introducing a manual-shift CX-Three in the US would quantity to a trivial blip on the radar. Doing so in Canada, the place Mazda has far better sway, would possibly really accomplish one thing.
Timothy Cain is a contributing analyst at The Fact About Automobiles and Autofocus.ca and the founder and former editor of GoodCarBadCar.web. Comply with on Twitter @timcaincars and Instagram.