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Frankfurt show: Surprise! It’s Mazda’s CX-4

Another one: Mazda appears set to fill another niche in its SUV line-up with what appears to be a close relative of the CX-5, most likely to be called CX-4.

New SUV to the ‘4’ as Mazda reveals its Koeru concept at Frankfurt show

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Mazda logo14 Sep 2015

By RON HAMMERTON in FRANKFURT

MAZDA calls it the Koeru concept, but GoAuto understands it will be called CX-4 when the Japanese car-maker’s all-new SUV goes into production to fill a niche alongside the wildly popular CX-5 to which it appears to bear a close resemblance under the skin.

Making its debut today at the Frankfurt motor show, the five-door, five-seat wagon seems to be close to production ready, perhaps arriving in showrooms next year.

With an evolutionary design and luxury aura, the concept sits on an identical 2700mm wheelbase to the current mid-sized CX-5 SUV, suggesting it is mounted on a similar SkyActiv architecture.

The fact that the Koeru is 60mm longer and 60mm wider than the CX-5 had led some pundits to assume the company has a CX-6 or born-again CX-7 on its hands, but Mazda sources are adamant the CX-4 moniker has been reserved for the spunky crossover cruiser.

At this stage, Mazda’s plans for the vehicle are sketchy, but more should be revealed in the next 24 hours as Mazda designers and sales executives hold media conferences to discuss the project at the Frankfurt motor show.

How Mazda plans to differentiate the CX-4 from the similar-sized CX-5 is a mystery, and we can only presume it will be either cheaper or more environmentally friendly than the CX-5, thus requiring a separate badge one step below ‘5’ but above the physically smaller CX-3.

No powertrain or performance parameters were disclosed for the Koeru, the name of which means ‘exceed’ in Japanese.

One thing is for sure: this is not the next CX-9 large SUV flagship, as that is just weeks away from launch at the Los Angeles motor show in November.

At three years old and only recently updated, the CX-5 is still only two thirds of the way through its model life, so the Koeru is believed not to be the new generation of Australia’s top-selling SUV.

However, it could well provide another string to Mazda’s bow in the heart of the SUV market.

This year, CX-5 has accumulated 16,692 sales in Australia, well ahead of all other comers in the hugely popular mid-sized SUV segment that is second only to the small-car bracket for popularity.

The CX-5 had a minor update early this year, helping to lift its fortunes and entrench it as Mazda’s second-biggest seller behind the Mazda3 small car.

After having so much success with CX-5 and CX-3, it is unsurprising that Mazda has not tampered too much with the Kodo family design formula on Koeru.

Longer, sleeker LED lights and a slightly bolder chrome-barred grille help set the Koeru apart from the CX-5 that arrived in 2012 with the full suite of SkyActiv chassis and powertrain technologies, along with Mazda’s current Kodo design language that made the old CX-7 look positively out of date.

The media release accompanying Koeru images released today is full of Japanese-speak about “untamed animal” styling and wheels and fenders that are supposed to resemble “legs pounding the earth”.

The most useful information disclosed in the official material was the small list of dimensions that give the first real indication of the scale of the new model that was teased with typically stylised sketches that gave a distorted picture.

The media release also informs us that the Koeru includes Mazda’s ‘i-ActivSense’ package of safety technologies and the MZD connectivity system, which should come as a shock to no one.

As for the rest of the story, stay tuned.

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