Mazda Koeru Could Make It To Production
The Mazda Koeru Concept made its debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September of 2015. At that time, many believed that the sporty crossover concept would serve as a preview for Mazda’s next generation crossover, with the likely candidates being the CX-5 or the CX-9. Turns out, neither scenario is going to happen as the Koeru Concept is actually a preview of a totally new model that will join Mazda’s lineup in the future.
Speaking with Automotive News, Mazda CEO Masamichi Kogai described the Koeru Concept as a “lower, sporty SUV” that will be separate from any of the company’s line of CX-badged crossovers and SUVs. Kogai even threw out the possibility that the production version of the Koeru will look the part of a wagon, likening it to the Subaru Outback. It’s unclear if Kogai intentionally threw out the Outback’s name as a hint towards an impending competition between the two models, but the mere suggestion seems to indicate that the production version of the Koeru will be slotted in the same segment currently occupied by the Outback.
Right now, Mazda is in the process of collecting customer feedback regarding the Koeru to determine whether introducing a new model to its lineup would help the company’s sales volume. So there’s still no guarantee that a production version of the Korei will happen. What’s clear is that the Japanese automaker wants to be sure that the model will be successful, especially if it’s going to go up against the Subaru Outback. The latter, for its part, has a strong and loyal customer base and it would take something truly special for Mazda to get customers to choose a new model over something that’s already established.
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Why it matters
By now it’s been established that Mazda has plans for the Koeru Concept. What exactly those plans are is still being discussed by the company brass, but it is safe to assume that at some point in the future, we could very well see a new wagon-type model from Mazda. That would be a welcome development for the company, considering the closest thing it has to one right now is the Mazda3 five-door hatchback and the CX-3 crossover. The problem is that neither of these two models can be considered as direct competitors to the Subaru Outback. The Mazda3 hatch, in particular, doesn’t have the all-wheel-drive, go-anywhere ruggedness of the Outback so there’s a definite hole in the Mazda lineup for such a model.
The Koeru would certainly fill that gap, even though Mazda has yet to release any technical details other than saying that a production version would utilize the latest in Mazda’s SkyActiv powertrain technology. Mazda played it smart by keeping the model’s tech details close to its chest. Doing so means that it can work on a variety of configurations to determine which setup will work best on the model. If it’s really going to line up against the Outback, it’s imperative for the model to have an all-wheel-drive setup since that’s one of the biggest calling cards of the Subaru.
The model should also have a powertrain that can compete with the Outback’s 2.5-liter, four-cylinder boxer engine. Fortunately, Mazda already has that engine, which is currently being used on models like the CX-5. Whatever route Mazda chooses, it’s going to be interesting to see how the Koeru will evolve from a concept to the company’s official Outback fighter.
I, for one, am looking forward to seeing the vehicle in the flesh. It’s about time that the Outback had some serious competition. This new model, whenever it arrives, could be the one that takes the fight to the current benchmark of its segment.
Read our full review on the Mazda Koeru here.
Source: Automotive News