The Mazda CX-3 has been a rather successful product for Hiroshima, and as promised early in the year, a facelift has been introduced at the ongoing New York International Auto Show (NYIAS) to keep the B-segment crossover at the sharp end of the field. Rather than rewriting the rulebook, the updates are small but numerous and are intended to provide tangible benefits to consumers.

On the outside, the tweaks are subtle – given that the outgoing model was already a handsome car to begin with – and are meant to add a feeling of quality and elegance. The six-point grille gains double chrome slats, while chrome accents on the front corners and side skirts are said to help create a feeling of forward motion.

Moving to the rear, the tail lights have been redesigned with a more cylindrical, machined look, as well as light guides inspired by the CX-5. The new 18-inch wheels, meanwhile, receive a multifaceted five-double-spoke design with a metallic sheen. Gloss black window pillars and fog light surrounds, as well as a new Soul Red Crystal paint option from the CX-5, complete the exterior revamp.

There are greater changes on the inside, where you’ll find a mildly revised dashboard that ditches the current full-width air vent design. But the biggest change can be found lower down – the manual handbrake lever has been replaced by an electronic parking brake that not only frees up storage space but also finally allows for the inclusion of a proper padded armrest, something that will surely go down well with customers over here.

Elsewhere, the front seats are wider and feature high-density, vibration-absorbing urethane foam that is said to provide greater support while still being supple enough to be comfortable on long journeys. At the rear, passengers are treated to a new centre armrest with built-in cupholders. Thicker door panels, tailgate glass and headliner as well as upgraded door seals make for a quieter, more refined cabin.

Mazda has also updated the materials, with suede-like trim from the new Mazda 6 gracing the dashboard and door panels. For the first time in the United States, top-spec models get full leather upholstery, incorporating glossy pleated red piping that complement the new red air vent accents. Colours have also been simplified, with a grey base colour complemented by black or white seats on higher-end variants.

Power comes from a revised 2.0 litre SkyActiv-G naturally-aspirated four-cylinder petrol engine, retuned to increase torque across the entire rev range, improve fuel efficiency and reduce internal friction. This enables the engine to respond much quicker to the driver’s intentions while at the same time improving refinement. In the US, outputs are rated at 148 hp and 201 Nm of torque.

The usual six-speed automatic and manual transmissions and front- and all-wheel drive options will be retained, along with the G-Vectoring Control (GVC) system introduced last year – which tweaks engine timing to control the car’s dynamic behaviour. Under the skin, the suspension and steering have been retuned to optimize dampening characteristics and enhance responsiveness, while the 18-inch wheel option features new tyres that better absorb shocks from road surfaces and reduce braking distances.