China-bound Mazda EZ-6 sedan sure looks like the next-gen 6

mazda ez 6 17 l

Mazda traveled to the biennial Beijing Motor Show to unveil two electrified cars. One is a production-bound sedan called EZ-6, and the other is a close-to-production concept named Arata that takes the form of a compact crossover and that’s also headed to Chinese showrooms.

An important distinction is that the EZ-6 wasn’t developed by Mazda; not quite. It was designed by Changan Mazda Automobile, which is a joint-venture between a Chinese government-owned manufacturer named Changan and the Japanese brand. Who did what during the development process hasn’t been clarified. Regardless, the EZ-6 looks like the logical successor to the 6, which left our market in 2021.

Designers gave the EZ-6 a more fluid interpretation of Mazda’s Soul of Motion design language. While still recognizable as a Mazda, the sedan looks more futuristic than the previous-generation 6 (which remains available in some global markets) thanks to sharper-looking headlights that stretch into a wide grille-like trim panel with LED illumination. Its door handles are integrated into the body, and the fastback-like silhouette flows into a tall, swept-back rear end with a speed-activated spoiler. We’d argue the EZ-6 looks far more upscale than the 6.

Mazda packed some interesting technology into the sedan. For example, the driver can control some functions by voice even when standing outside of the car. The list of orders that the EZ-6 responds to hasn’t been revealed. Inside, numerous features respond to voice and gesture controls. The brand hasn’t forgotten about handling, though. The EV has a 50-50 weight distribution, and both models were designed around the “Jinba-ittai” philosophy, which translates to “car and driver as one” in Japanese and famously characterized the original MX-5 Miata.

Technical details haven’t been announced yet, but Mazda says EZ-6 buyers will be able to choose between a plug-in hybrid drivetrain and an electric drivetrain. The model “combines Mazda’s strengths with Changan Automobile’s electrified technology,” company CEO Masahiro Moro explained, which suggests the drivetrain might not entirely come from Mazda’s research and development department. The electric EZ-6 will have a maximum driving range of approximately 372 miles (though surely less with U.S. ratings), while the plug-in hybrid version will benefit from up to 621 miles of range.

Rear-wheel-drive comes standard, which partly corroborates an earlier rumor. There’s no word on whether all-wheel-drive will be available later in the production run. At 194 inches long, 74 inches wide, and 58 inches tall, it’s ever-so-slightly longer, wider, and taller than the 6. 

Details about the Arata are more vague, presumably because it’s farther away from production; what you see in the gallery above isn’t exactly what’s headed to showrooms. Mazda simply noted that the concept crossover is “designed to appeal to the advanced, sophisticated taste of Chinese consumers” with a design that’s more futuristic than the EZ-6’s. It’s electrified to some degree (either electric or hybrid).

Mazda notes that the EZ-6 will go on sale in China before the end of 2024, while the Arata will spawn a production model at some point in 2025. It’s too early to tell whether either model will end up in American showrooms. We know that a lot of Mazda fans would love to see a new 6 (regardless of what it’s called), but would there be a market for it beyond the enthusiast pool? Perhaps, if Mazda can successfully market the sedan as a premium model and position it as an alternative to, say, the Audi A4. If it can’t pull that off, the EZ-6 is dead on arrival.

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