LOS ANGELES — Mazda, the little automaker that could, is chugging into the near-premium space with updates to its core models that are aimed at pulling in more discerning, loyal and profitable customers.
The brand is among the most fuel-efficient in the industry, and that’s without any hybrid or electric vehicles in the mix. Look for electrification to seep into Mazda’s lineup later than most; the brand sees plenty of efficiency gains to be made using just the internal combustion engine and a second generation of its Skyactiv lightweighting philosophy. However, an EV is inevitable, so expect one by the end of the decade, likely in crossover form.
Mazda3: Mazda’s workhorse gets a light freshening for the 2017 model year, including tweaks to the exterior and interior refinements. Mazda’s new G-Vectoring torque-based handling feature is now standard, while the 2.0-liter and 2.5-liter Skyactiv four-cylinder engines carry over. Look for a redesign in 2018 as a 2019 model, with both the sedan and the hatchback returning.
Mazda6: The midsize sedan was freshened for both the 2016 and 2017 model years, the latter of which arrives at dealerships this fall with G-Vectoring and a refined interior. A redesign is expected in 2018 as a 2019 model and will continue the brand’s climb up the premium ladder. A naturally aspirated, four-cylinder Skyactiv engine will remain standard, though it’s possible Mazda will bring either the 2.5-liter turbo or a diesel offering to the Mazda6 family.