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Koeru concept previews Mazda's next large crossover (pictures)

Is the Mazda Koeru concept a preview of the new CX-9 or a herald of the CX-7's return to the automaker's lineup?

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Antuan Goodwin
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1 of 16 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

FRANKFURT -- Mazda gives us a forward look at the larger end of its lineup with the Koeru crossover SUV concept, debuting here at the Frankfurt Auto Show.

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2 of 16 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

The Koeru stretches the latest iteration of Mazda's Kodo design language over a larger frame.

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3 of 16 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

Unsurprisingly, the overall design looks a lot like what we've seen on the current CX-3 and CX-5 crossovers.

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4 of 16 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

We expect that the Koeru is actually a preview of the upcoming Mazda CX-9 refresh, which will bow at the 2015 Los Angeles Auto Show.

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5 of 16 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

The steeply raked rear hatch raises concerns, as the CX-9 is a seven-passenger model. Could this concept actually be a preview of the return of Mazda's CX-7?

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6 of 16 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

No mention has been made of powertrain or technologies, only that Mazda's SkyActiv suite of efficiency tech would be at work.

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7 of 16 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

The footprint appears to be similar to that of the current CX-9, but the Koeru concept appears to have a lower roofline.

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8 of 16 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

Blacked-out A-pillars create a floating roof illusion and a steeply raked design makes the Koeru appear athletic and compact.

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9 of 16 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

21-inch wheels shod with Pirelli P-Zero tires mean that the Koeru at least has the grip to back up its sporty aspirations.

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10 of 16 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

Forward illumination is provided by LED headlamps and daytime running lights.

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11 of 16 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

Out back are familiar horizontal tail lights that flow into aggressively flared haunches.

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12 of 16 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

With its latest crop of vehicles, Mazda has placed dual emphasis on efficiency and driving fun, tying the two imperatives together with lightweight construction.

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13 of 16 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

We expect that the CX-9 previewed by the Koeru will be lighter than the outgoing model and potentially more compact.

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14 of 16 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

Mazda has also showed that it's a brand that's not afraid to step down in power, so we may see an engine with smaller numbers than the CX-9's 273-horsepower 3.7-liter engine.

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15 of 16 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

We'll expect to hear more about Mazda's plans for the Koeru later in the show and later this year.

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16 of 16 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

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