In an interview with CarAdvice, Masahiro Moro, Mazda North America’s president and CEO, said there’s a big demand in the U.S. for AWD, so Mazda’s looking into it.
Ah, but maybe we can’t have everything.
“I think we are not able to combine four-wheel drive and the 2.5-liter turbo. We have a layout issue with the sedans, that’s why a four-wheel drive isn’t deployed on the Mazda 3 and 6 so far,” Moro said. “But there is a huge demand, at least what I know is that in the East Coast of the USA, 80 or 90 percent of premium sedans are sold with all-wheel drive.”
And with Mazda going upscale, it only makes sense to give upscale, performance-oriented customers what they want, like the AWD sedans the German premium brands have been offering for years.
“Four-wheel drive becomes a premium cue for U.S. consumers,” said Moro, “and obviously I have asked our R&D department to think about how we can accommodate four-wheel drive capability in the future.”
Though the CX-9, being a crossover, of course has AWD in combination with that turbo engine, it simply must not have the platform limitations of the sedans. And all-wheel drive in the Mazda6, at least, has been available in Japan, Europe and Australia, but paired with the Skyactiv-D and another smaller engine, diesels we don’t get here. Moro’s statement leaves open the possibility of AWD with the base 2.5-liter engine, but maybe not. Besides, a premium buyer would want the turbo.
So, when Moro says the future, he means not now, not in the Mazda6 facelift we just saw. But maybe in the next big redesign? Or maybe the configuration problems will be easier to overcome when working with the innovative new 2.0-liter Skyactiv-X compression-ignition engine that’s expected in the 2019 Mazda3.