Two months after the facelifted Mazda CX-3 made its world premiere at the New York International Auto Show (NYIAS), the updated B-segment crossover will gone on sale in its home market of Japan starting tomorrow. Its minor exterior changes hide deeper revisions under the skin, including a new diesel engine.

Out goes the 1.5 litre SkyActiv-D turbo four-cylinder, replaced by a larger 1.8 litre unit which Mazda says provides better real-world fuel economy and emissions. Equipped with ultra-high-response multi-hole injectors and a variable-geometry turbocharger, it produces 116 PS at 4,000 rpm and 270 Nm from 1,600 to 2,500 rpm – increased of 11 PS and 20 Nm.

The oil burner is mated to six-speed automatic and manual transmissions with either two- or all-wheel drive. Depending on the drivetrain, the diesel-powered CX-3 has a combined fuel consumption figure of between 19.2 and 23.2 km per litre on the new Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP) cycle.

The 2.0 litre SkyActiv-G naturally-aspirated petrol mill, hitherto only available outside Japan, has finally been introduced in the Land of the Rising Sun. It comes equipped with upgrades from the new CX-5, including low-friction pistons with edge-cut heads and new high-dispersion injectors, for quicker throttle response and reduced real-world fuel consumption and emissions.

The improved engine makes 150 PS at 6,000 rpm and 195 Nm at a low 2,800 rpm, and has a WLTP-rated combined fuel consumption figure of between 15.2 and 16.2 km per litre. Here, the six-speed manual is only offered on the two-wheel drive model; the AWD version is auto-only.

Mazda has also made significant changes to the chassis, incorporating some of the technologies from its next-generation models. New springs, dampers and anti-roll bars have been equipped, while the electric power steering and G-Vectoring Control systems have been retuned to achieve “even smoother changes in vehicle posture.” There are also softer tyres for the 18-inch wheel option for better ride quality.

Elsewhere, the CX-3 gets thicker front and rear door skins, improved door seals and a more sound-absorbent headliner; the rear windscreen is also thicker at four millimetres, now matching the front. The cabin is quieter as a result, helped along by the new tyres that reduce road noise by suppressing vibrations from the road’s surface. The front seat cushions also use the same high-damping urethane as the CX-8 for better comfort.

As mentioned, the styling tweaks on the outside are subtle – unsurprising 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.

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, along with more mature interior colour schemes.

Safety-wise, the new CX-3 is the first Mazda model to come with an improved Advanced Smart City Brake Support (SCBS) system with nighttime pedestrian detection, and it also gets the new Stop & Go function for the Mazda Radar Cruise Control (MRCC). A 360-degree camera and an auto-dimming rear-view mirror have become standard features across the lineup.

Lastly, Mazda is introducing a special edition Exclusive Mods model, based on the range-topping petrol and diesel L Package variant with the automatic gearbox. Additions include dark gloss 18-inch alloy wheels, ultraviolet- and infrared-attenuating windscreen and front side windows and red Nappa leather upholstery paired to white dash trim. This model is not available in Titanium Flash Mica and Eternal Blue Mica colours.