Mazda will have a busy 2014, as the automaker will not only launch an update Mazda 2 hatchback, it will also refresh the CX-5 crossover and 6 sedan. According to Automotive News, Mazda will update the CX-5 and 6 with new front fascias and new interiors in late 2014 or early 2015. Although both cars are relatively new, Mazda reportedly wants to roll out updates more often in the future.
6: Though the 2014 Mazda 6 only went on sale at the start of this year, by the end of next year or early 2015 it will wear a new front fascia, new instruments, new seating and center-stack materials, and an updated infotainment system inspired by that of the new Mazda 3. Although a 2.2-liter turbodiesel engine will debut later this year, which should boast lofty fuel-economy figures, AN reports that Mazda is also considering a hybrid engine for the 6 sedan.
CX-5: The Mazda CX-5 crossover will also receive a new fascia, a new infotainment system, and revised interior materials in late 2014, although AN reports that the interior tweaks are less substantial than on the Mazda 6. The 2014 Mazda CX-5 already received several changes compared to the 2013 model, including the addition of an automatic braking function and a more powerful 2.5-liter engine.
2: The current Mazda 2 hatchback is quite basic and doesn't stand up to most of its rivals, in part because the car was quickly adapted for the U.S. market when Europe refreshed its version of the 2 hatch. For the next version of the 2, Mazda's U.S. planning team is reportedly taking a hands-on approach. The new car, which AN says will debut in the second half of 2014 as a 2015 model, will ride on a SkyActiv platform. It will use direct-injected four-cylinder engines displacing either 1.4 or 1.6 liters. Its interior will be based on that seen in the new 2014 Mazda 3.
MX-5 Miata: As we already knew, Mazda is working on the next generation of its MX-5 Miata roadster. The new car will be twinned with the Alfa Romeo Spider, and the pair of sports cars should enter production in Japan in 2015. AN reports that the new Mazda MX-5 Miata will use the 2.0-liter SkyActiv four-cylinder engine from the CX-5 crossover, and that its roofline will be raked to give it a fastback look.
5: The small minivan hasn't been very successful in the U.S. market, where customers tend to favor full-size vans like the Honda Odyssey instead, but Mazda will probably continue to sell the current 5 here for some time. According to AN, profits from sales in the U.S. help support selling the struggling Mazda 5 in other countries. No significant upgrades are planned, meaning the minivan will not switch to a SkyActiv platform or chassis.
CX-9: Though it was refreshed for 2013, the Mazda CX-9 will be totally revamped by 2015 for the 2016 model year.AN reports the three-row crossover will migrate to a SkyActiv chassis, but it's unclear what engine could power the new model (currently a 3.7-liter V-6 is used). Mazda doesn't make a SkyActiv V-6, and doesn't plan to as volumes for such an engine are too low to justify its production. Alternative choices include using a turbo four-cylinder, or sourcing a V-6 from another automaker.
3: The 2014 Mazda 3 launched this year, yet already the automaker is said to be considering adding a diesel engine for better fuel efficiency. However, no decision will be made until Mazda determines how well the 6 diesel sells. Also under consideration is a Mazdaspeed 3, although officials reportedly have yet to green-light the performance model. The current turbocharged hatch has ceased production, and reports suggest the next model will use a highly-tuned 2.0-liter naturally aspirated engine. It could rev to 7000 rpm and produce as much as 200 hp, although that would put the Mazdaspeed 3 at a considerably power deficit next to rival sports cars like the Volkswagen GTI and Ford Focus ST.
RX-8 replacement: Ever since the rotary-powered RX-8 ended production, the rumormill has buzzed with word of an eventual replacement. Well, keep waiting. ANreports that Mazda plans to build profits based on mainstream models before it considers any future rotary-powered sports cars. Earlier reports suggested that a new rotary car could arrive by 2017, potentially with direct fuel injection. The Mazda RX-8's engine was killed off in part because it couldn't meet strict new emissions regulations.
SkyActiv engines: Unsurprisingly, all these expansion plans will require a plentiful supply of SkyActiv engines. To that end, Mazda announced today that it will boost production of its direct-injected SkyActiv series by 25 percent, to one million units annually by the end of 2014. To do so, Mazda will repurpose a Japanese assembly line that built its MZR series of four-cylinder engines. Mazda began production of SkyActiv engines in May 2011 and already bumped up its production capacity, in 2012, to keep up with strong demand.
Sources: Automotive News, Mazda