By Mark Kleis
Monday, Feb 27th, 2012 @ 6:38 am

Gas prices seem to be on the rise yet again, and invariably, they will eventually settle higher than they were before the jump...and consumers will continue to demand utility vehicles to be practical vehicles for daily use.

As such, many automakers are bringing compact or even subcompact crossovers and SUVs to market. According to an inside source at Mazda that spoke with Caradvice, Mazda is looking to jump on the bandwagon and is in the process of considering a sub-CX-5 utility that would likely be called the CX-3.

"We are now developing a more compact SUV [than the CX-5] - more for Europe and we must imagine emerging markets...Eastern Europe, South America, India, etc,"ť said the source.

Some of you may recall that former Mazda partner Ford recently revealed the Ecosport, a Fiesta-based CUV that is destined for global markets outside of the U.S. Mazda will likely use the next-gen Mazda2 platform, due by 2014, in order to underpin its own subcompact crossover.

For now, the source says the CUV isn't a total lock, but it seems like a highly probable course of action for the struggling Japanese automaker.

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