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Car and Driver: Production Mazda Koeru Concept: “More Driving Pleasure” than Other CUVs

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-Mazda’s CEO, speaking with Automotive News, has confirmed that the company is well on its way to offering a production version of the striking Koeru concept, which debuted this past September.

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Prior to the Koeru taking the stage three months ago, most onlookers believed it would preview the all-new CX-9 three-row crossover. But while the CX-9 does indeed share some styling elements with the Koeru, the show car is in fact built on the smaller CX-5 platform, with the two sharing the same wheelbase. The Koeru is dramatically lower and substantively wider and longer than the CX-5, however, a vehicle that received a comprehensive update for 2016, and we posited at the time that the Koeru could turn into something else altogether.

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It seems that’s going to be the case. Mazda CEO Masamichi Kogai tells Automotive News that he sees a production Koeru as “a totally new car. It’s a lower, sporty SUV. It’s close to a wagon.” He added that it would provide “more driving pleasure” than the company’s other crossovers, which already generate plenty of driving pleasure, and now we’ve typed “driving pleasure” enough times that it’s starting to look creepy.

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In any event, this sounds like a vehicle we can get behind. While we’re no fans of dressing up cars to look like butch off-roaders—or sportifying SUVs—the reality is that we won’t be getting any traditional wagons like the sultry Mazda 6 liftback from the company any time soon. And with Mazda on a hot streak in terms of vehicle styling, dynamics, and interiors, we’ll take all the stuff from them we can get (even if it’s hideous and wears a Scion badge). A roadgoing Koeru would adhere to the company’s Skyactiv weight-saving and efficiency strategies, but it’s unknown what engine it might receive. We vote for a version of the new turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder that just debuted in the CX-9.

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Now we wait to find out whether Mazda will give final approval to the project, which would slot alongside the CX-5 in showrooms and could resurrect the CX-7 nameplate. (If Mazda’s feeling loony, it could follow BMW into the add-one-number-to-the-donor-vehicle breach and call the thing the CX-6, but let’s hope not.) We’re guessing we’ll hear more on the Koeru’s future soon, so stay tuned.

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