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Tokyo show: Next Mazda6 concept to front up

6 of the best: The next-gen Mazda6 is likely to be an evolution of the current-gen car that launched in Australia in 2012.

Mazda will display its next-gen 6 in concept guise but don’t expect much change

7 Sep 2017


MAZDA has confirmed that it will reveal a mid-sized concept that will point to the next-generation Mazda6/Atenza sedan by this year’s Tokyo motor show in early November, ahead of the production version’s mid-to-late 2018 global debut.

Aimed squarely at the North American market, where mid-sized sedans such as the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord and Nissan Altima still sell in massive numbers, the redesign will most likely involve a complete reskin and an all-new cabin over what will essentially be the same four-cylinder mechanicals.

Reports out of Japan suggest that overall length and height will be reduced, while the wheelbase grows a little to increase rear-seat passenger space.

Whether the more European-focused wagon will continue with the slightly shorter (by 80mm) wheelbase of the existing model is yet to be confirmed.

That said, do not expect any revolutionary lines or visual breakthroughs due to the inherent conservatism of the US consumers the Mazda6 is aimed at.

In fact, from what we hear, the evolution of the finished version will be quite subtle.

According to Mazda Motor Corporation director and senior managing executive officer with oversight for research and development, Kiyoshi Fujiwara, the car-maker is committed to the mid-sizer for the foreseeable future, despite an expanding number of SUVs, including the soon-to-be-revealed three-row CX-8 that is being considered for the Australian market.

“We need a limousine for our master plan,” he told GoAuto at the Mazda Global Tech Forum 2017 in Frankfurt. “Of course the business has become severe, but that kind of sedan style is needed for Mazda design.

“In mid October or Tokyo motor show you can see our C/D sedan ‘Vision’ models.”

However, while Mazda will also concentrate on quelling noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) levels to help address the criticism aimed at the five-year old third-gen model, the 2019 Mazda6 will not adopt the wholesale revamp that defines the all-new SkyActiv II platform destined for the 2019 Mazda3 small car.

“We are planning to install this type of technology to the Mazda6 flagship later,” Mr Fujiwara said. “Firstly we have to start with some compact models… just before the end of 2020 you will see the new small car.”

In Australia, the popularity of mid-size cars has dropped significantly in the past decade, and despite being the second best-selling model in the sub-$60,000 segment behind the dominant Aussie-built Toyota Camry, the Mazda6 has not been immune to the shift to SUVs.

Back in 2007, towards the end of the lifecycle of the first-gen Mazda6, the car-maker sold 12,397 examples of the mid-sizer.

In the first full year of sales for the current model, 2013, just over 7700 units were shifted, which dipped to 4369 last year.

To the end of August this year, 6 sales are down by 18.8 per cent to 2442 units, with Ford’s resurgent Mondeo hot on its heels with 2239 sales.

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