Mazda CX-3 to start at $19,915, joining the new $20,000 club

Editor’s note: An earlier headline misstated the CX-3‘s base price. It is $19,960.

All around the auto industry, executives are betting that they can sell Americans on a vehicle with the height and style of a crossover, yet the agility and size of a subcompact.

The magic number for making that sale, it seems, is $20,000.

Mazda revealed today that its new CX-3, which joins the Honda HR-V, Nissan Juke and Chevrolet Trax in a burgeoning market for mini crossovers, will start at $19,960 ($20,840 including shipping) for the 2016 model year.

For the base price, plus or minus $300, a customer will now be able to choose between a CX-3, HR-V, Trax and Juke, all with front-wheel drive and an automatic transmission. (Honda is alone in offering a stick shift; it sells for $800 less.)

It shows that mini crossovers are taking a common position in lineups across the industry. They are being priced above compact cars, which usually start at $16,000 to $18,000 before shipping, yet below midsize sedans, which have clustered together at a starting price between $21,000 and $23,000.

“We wanted to send a strong statement that new buyers, early adopters, empty-nesters and right-sizers can get everything they want in a crossover that fits their needs,” Jim O’Sullivan, CEO of Mazda’s North American arm, said in a statement today as the company revealed its pricing.

In the U.S., the CX-3 will be sold with just one engine — a 2.0-liter Skyactiv engine mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. It will top out at $28,160 for a Grand Touring model with optional all-wheel drive and an added technology package, before Mazda’s $880 shipping charge.

The $20,000 club Honda HR-V: $19,915

Mazda CX-3: $19,960

Chevrolet Trax: $20,120

Nissan Juke: $20,250

All prices refer to a base model with front-wheel drive and an automatic transmission, before shipping.

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