Mazda Koeru Crossover Concept Coming to Frankfurt
SUV Could Preview Replacement for CX-7 or CX-9
The crossover segment is about to get substantially more stylish, as Mazda announced that it would bring its Koeru concept to the 2015 Frankfurt International Motor Show, happening September 15-27. The crossover, which looks to be larger than the company’s CX-5 compact SUV, is likely a replacement for the seven-seat CX-9, although it could instead be a two-row crossover in the vein of the Nissan Murano and late Mazda CX-7.
Mazda says koeru is Japanese for “exceed” or “go beyond,” which is likely what the company hopes to do in comparison to its crossover’s intended competition. The stylish Mazda6 sedan, Mazda3 compact, and CX-5 crossover have each injected elements of driving fun and panache into their respective segments, so it would make sense that the company would want to bring that mojo into another size class.
Based on the teaser sketch released today by Mazda, it’s on the right track with the Koeru concept. If it takes the form of a personal crossover in the vein of the Nissan Murano, it will definitely rival that SUV in terms of eye-catching styling, although to our eye, the Mazda will be far less polarizing and more traditionally attractive. And if the Koeru is sized more like the Honda Pilot and Ford Explorer, the Mazda will be far and away the most attractive vehicle in the segment (although perhaps at the expense of interior space, given the concept’s attractive, sloping rear window).
A SKYACTIV Generation 2 engine may power the Koeru, featuring an enhancement to the company’s trademark engine architecture. In addition to the existing SKYACTIV technologies, which include aluminum construction, low-friction engine internals, direct injection, direct ignition, variable valve timing, and high compression, Generation 2 could add homogenous charge compression ignition (HCCI). HCCI relies on increased cylinder compression to produce auto-ignition (much like a diesel) under certain circumstances, and the technology allows a much leaner air-fuel mixture for cleaner combustion and increased efficiency. A conventional ignition system might still be on hand for high-load situations (heavy acceleration or towing).
In any case, it’s fair to expect segment-leading (or at least equivalent) fuel efficiency from the Koeru’s production-car progeny. Mazda has been on a roll lately in producing fun-to-drive and efficient vehicles, and we’ll be excited to see the company capitalize on its momentum to give us an athletic larger crossover.