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Inline six-cylinder revolution! 2023 Mazda CX-5, CX-8, CX-9 and Mazda 6 replacements with rear-wheel drive set for Australia

Whether it’s called CX-5 or CX-50, the current CX-5’s replacement will pack a power punch. (Image credit: Best Car Web)

Mazda Australia is inching closer to offering a range of new models with inline six-cylinder engines and rear-wheel drive (RWD) as part of its premium push.

Speaking to journalists at the launch of the updated CX-9 large SUV and MX-5 sports car, Mazda Australia’s managing director, Vinesh Bhindi, hinted that the company will offer both mainstream and premium models in key segments.

“We have publicly stated that Mazda is pursuing into the premium territory – not luxury, premium,” he said.

“And we believe as the brand grows, as the portfolio grows, as the next generation arrives, we potentially will be offering things that are above what we do currently.

“But at the same time, we will offer mainstream value propositions to private buyers. So, we are expanding the business, as opposed to just moving.”

When asked by CarsGuide if Mazda Australia will sell next-generation models based on the new platform that was detailed last November, Mr Bhindi confirmed the company would push for them to be sold locally.

“The Mazda (Motor) Corporation executives have publicly said that inline-six, rear-wheel-drive, large architecture would apply to products CX-5 and above, and really, that’s what’s likely to come in the future,” he said.

“If it’s available, then of course we would be putting our hand up for consideration for Australia, as we always have.”

As such, the replacements for the current CX-5 mid-size SUV, CX-8 and CX-9 large SUVs, and Mazda6 mid-size car are set to move to new underpinnings with petrol, diesel or SkyActiv-X compression-ignition inline six-cylinder engines and RWD or all-wheel drive (AWD).

With these next-generation models due from 2023, their predecessors have at least two years left on sale, although it seems the current CX-5 will be sold alongside its replacement, which could instead be called CX-50, a nameplate that’s been trademarked here since 2020.

And if that strategy sounds a little too familiar, it’s because it’s exactly what played out with the CX-3 light SUV, with its slightly larger replacement not only ending up being sold alongside it, but also being named CX-30