Never mind the MX-5 Miata, the highlight of Mazda’s stand at this years Frankfurt auto show is the Koeru concept. Unveiled without fanfare ahead of the company’s official press conference, the Koeru concept likely provides our first look at the next CX-9 three-row crossover.
Mazda characterizes the concept as a “unique and daring interpretation” of one of the fastest-growing car segments. The name Koeru comes from the Japanese for “exceed” or “go beyond,” and it seems almost certain that the car points toward a production model that might arrive within the next year.
Building on the company’s dramatic Kodo design language, the Mazda Koeru concept has a long, low silhouette that screams station wagon rather than crossover, but a raised ride height and black fender cladding clearly identify this model as the latter. At 181.1 inches long, the Koeru is a five-passenger model that measures about 9 inches shorter than today’s CX-9, and only about 2 inches longer than the two-row CX-5. And at just 59.0 inches tall, the Koeru is significantly shorter than either of those models and only 2 inches taller than a Mazda3 hatchback, helping to give the large concept a very athletic appearance.
Out front, Mazda’s familiar grille sticks out from the angular nose, with chrome trim around the bottom of the aperture and along the lower edge of the front fascia. The sloped hood leads into a dramatically raked windshield, with blacked-out A- and B-pillars to produce a semi-floating-roof look. Chrome roof rails further the signals that this is an active-lifestyle model. Out back, the car essentially forms a boomerang shape, with a steeply angled windshield and a mostly vertical lower liftgate. Large, round chrome exhausts poke out from beneath the rear bumper. Character lines on the body sides are subtle, without the sharp creases seen on many of today’s concept cars, and follow the trends sent out by production models like the Mazda3, 2, and CX-3.
While the Mazda Koeru concept is just a 5-passenger model, it almost certainly paves the way for a production CX-9. Our spy shots show that the next-gen Mazda CX-9 will likewise go for a long, low appearance, although many of the Koeru’s show-car elements will be toned down for production. Expect a flatter nose with a taller, flatter hood, although the raked rear windshield and flared rear haunches of the concept were evident in our spy shots.