We thought Mazda’s Koeru concept was going to be a preview of the next-generation CX-9 mid-size crossover, but now that we have details in hand following its Frankfurt auto show unveiling, we’re not so sure.

It looks like a crossover, and indeed, Mazda calls this a “unique and daring interpretation” of one, but this is not the CX-9. At 4600 mm long, 1900 wide, and riding on a 2700-mm wheelbase, the Koeru is only marginally larger than the current CX-5; the only major difference is in the concept’s 1500-mm height, just 45 mm taller than a Mazda3, and a heck of a lot lower-slung than the CX-5’s 1,670-mm roofline. There’s no way a third row of seats is going to fit in a vehicle this compact, and certainly not under a tail that apes the Infiniti QX70.

The Koeru might signal the direction Mazda will take with its next round of crossovers, but if the CX-9 looks like this, it’ll be in general terms, and not in any specific sense.

All that said, this is a good-looking design study with elements that would make for an elegant evolution of any of its current designs.

Mazda provides no specs beyond dimensions, saying only that the concept adopts “the latest SkyActiv technologies,” and that it is significantly quieter “and more relaxing” due to Mazda’s breakthrough noise attenuation tech.

Mazda Koeru (3)

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