Mazda Koeru Lands in Frankfurt to Give Jaguar a Run for its Money
Five-Seat Crossover Should Eventually Become New CX-9
We may have been a bit hasty in labeling the Jaguar F-Pace the prettiest SUV in the world because the Mazda Koeru crossover concept is giving the big cat a run for its money.
OK, the comparison is apples and oranges, since the F-Pace is a production-ready vehicle that meets global standards for safety, lighting, and environmental impact, while the Koeru is a pie-in-the-sky showcar made only to draw attention to Mazda’s design prowess. So, yes, the Jaguar is still a stunning achievement, since the Koeru will likely get watered down in its eventual transition to become the next CX-9.
Still, Mazda’s sleek Kodo design language wears itself very well on the Koeru, which is just a few inches longer than the CX-5 small crossover. Key to the Koeru’s stunning appearance is its low, wide stance: At 59 inches, the Koeru sits more than 6 inches lower than the CX-5, and only 2 inches taller than the Mazda3 hatchback.
For the Koeru, Kodo gets toned down slightly, giving the crossover more gracefully arced front and rear fender contours. Clean, fuselage-shaped bodysides look particularly stunning in the shade of red Mazda chose for the Koeru, and the bold, “Signature Wing” grille shape is larger on the Koeru than other Mazdas.
There’s not a lot to say about the Koeru’s styling, and that’s no bad thing. It’s a remarkably uncluttered design, aside from some superfluous dark-painted rocker panels and wheel arches. The design of the 21-inch alloy wheels could also be toned down somewhat. But otherwise, the long roofline, lovely side window treatment, athletic stance, and steeply raked backlight conspire to make the Koeru one of Mazda’s most attractive concept vehicles to date. Any unnecessary filigree would only detract from its clean, sleek styling.
Although the Koeru is a (reasonably spacious) five-seater, plan on the replacement for the seven-seat Mazda CX-9 to take a good deal of its styling from the Frankfurt concept. Plan on Mazda elevating the roofline, downsizing the wheels, and enlarging the bumpers, but the deep backlight and athletic proportions should make the jump to production. It’s also possible that Mazda will build a CX-7 or CX-8 variant of the Koeru, giving it the same low roofline and “intimate” cabin as the showcar. Such a vehicle would compete well against other fashion-conscious crossovers like the Nissan Murano and Ford Edge.
Predictably, there aren’t many powertrain details to share, but Mazda says the Koeru brings the MX-5 Miata’s jinba-ittai ethos to the crossover market. That Japanese phrase, which means “horse and rider in harmony,” denotes a great driving experience. We’ve enjoyed Mazda’s other models (including the excellent CX-5 and current CX-9), and we can say they offer a fun drive that’s unlike most of their competition. While we’re not sure any crossover is deserving of the Miata’s mantra, the Koeru likely comes close.
However, the Koeru (or whatever its production form looks like) could drive like junk and lots of people would still clamber for one because it’s just that pretty. Like the Jaguar we showed you yesterday, its long, lean lines bring a new level of beauty to the crossover market.