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Australia’s love affair with Mazda is so passionate, and so unique, that even the car company itself can’t really explain it. Nowhere in the known universe is Mazda quite as popular, or as successful, per capita, as it is in this country, and in the most recent sales charts, it maintained its place as our second most popular brand, after mega-global giant Toyota.
In the US, Mazda didn’t have a single car in the top-10 selling vehicles in 2018, globally it is ranked 16th in production numbers, behind every other Japanese brand, including Suzuki, and in Japan itself it came in sixth in sales last year.
But in Australia, we can’t get enough of them, so obviously there’s a lot of excitement about what new Mazda cars are on the way, what new Mazda sports car might be in the offing and which of Mazda’s latest models are about to updated.
Here, then, for those many new Mazda fans out there, is a complete list of what’s out there in 2019 and what’s coming up for the future.
New Mazda ute
Mazda gave the BT-50 an Australian-designed facelift in 2018, which brought a squarer bumper and made it slightly less disturbing to look at.
For now, though, ute buyers will have to either put up with the current look, go and buy a Ranger or wait for the new BT-50, which is around two years away.
Mazda Australia says the design for the new car is already locked in and that it’s “very happy” with the way it’s looking, so you can bet it will be quite different to the current one.
While today’s BT-50 is a joint venture with Ford, its replacement will be something new as it’s a co-development with Isuzu and will share its architecture with the rugged and reliable D-MAX ute. We can expect to see the new vehicle in around 2021, and Mazda Australia managing director, Vinesh Bhindi, knows just how vital its success will be. For Toyota and Ford, utes are their biggest sellers in Australia, while for Mazda it’s still very much the 3, so a successful BT-50 replacement could push Mazda even further up the sales charts.
“For Mazda Australia the BT-50 is critical,” Bhindi says. “Our focus will be private buyers even for the ute.”
New Mazda SUV
You might not be able to see much space between a Mazda CX-3 and a CX-5, but perhaps you’re just not looking hard enough, because Mazda has found a gap in there, which it’s going to plug with a Goldilocks model known as the CX-30, which will arrive in Australia later this year.
The CX-30 is longer and wider than a CX-3 (4395mm and and 1795mm versus 4275mm and 1765mm), yet smaller than the CX-5, which measures 4545mm in length and 1840mm in width.
The big news, particularly for young parents who love the CX-3’s styling but wish it could fit a standard pram in the boot is that the CX-30 can do just that, with 430 litres of luggage space, up from just 264 in the CX-3.
Engine offerings should include the Skyactiv G 2.0-litre petrol and the exciting new Skactiv X petrol engine.
New Mazda sports car
Speculation that there would be a new Mazda RX-7 or RX-8, or some other new Mazda rotary, to cash in on those glorious cars of yore with their screaming rev limits has been quashed of late, with Mazda repeatedly saying no such vehicle is in planning, nor required.
The company is not giving up on the Wankel rotary technology it did so much to make famous, however, and says that it will form part of a special range-extender platform, basically a rotary hybrid.
The “flexible rotary hybrid platform”, which combines a rotary-based range extender with a battery-powered EV driveline, is tipped to be so fuel efficient that it will help Mazda to compete even in countries with the stricter emissions requirements. At this stage, the rotary project is called XEV, and Mazda spokes people have said that it will come to Australia, at some point.
New Mazda 2
One of the best little city cars around, and one of the best looking, the current Mazda 2, which dates back to 2015, still looks fresh and isn’t due for replacement until 2021, so you won’t find too many run-out deals on it yet at your local dealership if you’re keen to buy one.
It may not end up being a new version of itself, of course, because if the current trend for making SUVs out of every single segment on the market continues, the 2 might morph into something else entirely.
Indeed, Mazda has hinted that it is watching trends to see just what shape the next 2 might be, and that it could become a very small SUV indeed, slotting in under the CX-3, rather than its current, traditional hatchback shape.
Watch out, then, for the CX-2 to show its face on a motor show concept stand in the next couple of years.
New Mazda 3
New cars don’t get much more important for a brand than the 3 is for Mazda. While many buyers are moving away from traditional hatches and small sedans - and the new 3 offers both - the Mazda 3 somehow maintains its popularity.
The new, and truly wonderful looking version, will do nothing to hurt those sales numbers and should instead give them a boost, with its improved interior, lower levels of NVH and the arrival of the epoch-shifting Skactiv X petrol engine.
New Mazda 6
Those rare families who aren’t tempted by the lure of a new SUV would find the Mazda 6 sedan and wagon hard to go past. Indeed, its appeal is such that Mazda was still tipping the 6 to sell 3700 units over its first 12 months when the latest facelift arrived, in May last year.
The big change for that update was the addition of turbocharged variants, to add some spice to the range.
There were also structural changes made to the 6 to help reduce noise and improve comfort, including thicker floor panels. Cosmetic changes included a new grille and headlights, and 17 or 19-inch wheels.
There was also a bit of love shown to the interior, with comfier seats, a new dash and an Active Driving Display (a head-up display, in other words).
Once again, in a shrinking market place, the future of the 6 is hard to deduce, but for now it’s a family car with a low centre of gravity that’s well worth considering.
New Mazda CX-3
A new, or at least updated, Mazda CX-3 was launched to an already adoring public late last year, with the 2019 modeller upgrade including minor cosmetic tweaks, a nicer interior and some engine fettling.
The original CX-3 was only launched in 2015, and yet it feels like it’s been a feature on our roads for longer, so enthusiastically have Australians taken to it.
The interior is noticeable better and has more oddment storage, thanks to Mazda’s decision to replace the old-school hand brake with an electronic one.
New Mazda CX-5
It’s hard to overstate just what an enormous success the CX-5 has been in Australia. It’s been our number-one selling SUV for the past seven years, which is pretty impressive when you consider that it’s a mid-sizer and not particularly off-road capable.
What it is, however, is pretty much the perfect sized family car for city dwellers, and attractive and good to drive to boot.
It is, for now, still behind the 3 on Mazda’s own sales charts, but even with the arrival of the sexy new version of that car, Mazda is tipping that the CX-5 will become the brand’s top seller over the next year or two.
The CX-5 was most recently updated in May, 2018, with Mazda adding cylinder-deactivation technology and slashing prices across the range. You can read all about it here.
New Mazda CX-6
Yes, there does seem to be one more gap in the Mazda line-up that could be filled by yet another sleek SUV, and that would be the CX-6, tipped to arrive around 2021.
Destined to sit between the big-selling CX-5 and the twin-sister CX-8 and CX-9, the CX-6 would be a coupe-styled SUV, following in the footsteps of some very popular efforts from the European SUV makers (think BMW X4 for example).
Sure enough, speculation has it that this will be a more premium model with smooth and futuristic lines.
As the so-called CX-6 will be aimed at the premium end of the market, it will likely be powered by a the 2.5-litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine from the CX-9 large SUV and Mazda6 mid-size sedan.
New Mazda CX-8
Yes, the CX-8 does sit very close to the CX-9 in the Mazda range, but that doesn’t mean it’s not unique, and clever.
Initially a Japan-only model, Mazda Australia begged to bring it here, and managed to do so in June last year. It has the long wheelbase and the seven-seat layout of the CX-9, but also the narrower width dimensions of a CX-5, making it just that bit easier to park.
It also looks different, not a lot, but enough, with the headlights from the CX-9 and the taillights from the CX-5.
The idea seems to be to give Mazda a foot in both the mid-size and large SUV camps at the same time, for those people who aren’t quite sure which they want to go, and end up coming down right in the middle.
New Mazda CX-9
The big daddy of the Mazda range, the CX-9 has won many plaudits, and plenty of fans, for is stylish design, driveability, clever use of space and the fact that it’s a seven-seat SUV you might actually desire to own.
Most recently updated in September last year - with new tech, better safety, improved handling and a touch of interior classiness - the CX-9 also bumped up its price slightly.
New Mazda MX-5
The car that puts the Zoom Zoom in Mazda, the MX-5 is a sporty, two-door roadster that puts a smile on the face of anyone who drives it. Enormously successful and seemingly getting both better looking, and better to drive, with each new generation, Mazda recently celebrated the 30th anniversary of the MX-5 with a special edition in bright Racing Orange.
Just 3000 examples of the 30th Anniversary edition will be sold worldwide, with a choice of either soft-top or hard-top, and such is the love for this car that you can bet they’ll all become collector’s items.