Ever since Mazda confirmed it was working on a rear-wheel drive architecture for large cars, hopes have been high that the automaker would develop a new sports sedan with rear-wheel drive.

    The on-again, off-again… back on-again saga is seemingly off, once more.

    According to Mazda’s annual report presentation, published last week, the company described the launch of the CX-80 in Japan, Europe, and Australia as “completing our four Large product lineup globally”.

    Now the narrow body five-seat CX-60 and seven-seat CX-80, as well as the wide body five-seat CX-70 and seven-seat CX-90, have been introduced to their respective markets, Mazda will make “full-fledged efforts to develop and increase the volume of Large products” to around 200,000 cars per year.

    With its statement last week, Mazda seems to be quashing reports in the Japanese press claiming it will develop a rear-wheel drive successor to the well-regarded, but aging 6 sedan and wagon.

    The current front-wheel drive 6 was launched back in 2012, and has been withdrawn from many key markets, including Japan and North America, although it remains in production for Australia and a few other markets.

    In 2022 Mazda bucked automotive trends by a rear- and all-wheel drive platform with a longitudinal engine layout, as well as new straight-six petrol and diesel engines with support for mild hybrid and plug-in hybrid setups.

    Hopes of a rear-wheel drive sedan were most recently raised in September 2023 when Best Car Web reported the success of the CX-90 had emboldened Mazda execs to approve a new range-topping four-door coupe-style sports sedan using drivetrains borrowed from its large crossovers.

    If our reading of the corporate tea leaves is correct, it means the only rear-wheel drive Mazda sedan in the works is the EZ-6.

    Unveiled at the recent Beijing motor show, the EZ-6 looks to be a lightly restyled Deepal SL03 from Mazda’s Chinese joint venture partner, Changan.

    Due to go on sale in China from late 2024, the EZ-6 is a rear-wheel drive sedan-style liftback with a choice of plug-in hybrid and pure electric drivetrains. The EZ-6 might be sold in Europe as the 6e, a name Mazda has registered there.

    With the demise of the Ford Falcon in 2016, Holden Commodore in 2017, and Kia Stinger in 2023, Dodge is among the last mainstream brand globally to offer a petrol-powered, large rear-wheel drive sedan.

    Earlier this year, it unveiled the next-generation Charger sedan and coupe. While the hottest members of the new range will be pure electric variants, less powerful versions of new Charger will be available with the company’s 3.0-litre twin-turbo charged Hurricane straight-six engine.

    Pricing for the new Charger has yet to be announced, but the outgoing model started at US$35,325 ($52,800) for the naturally-aspirated 3.6-litre V6, with V8 models kicking off from US$42,960 ($64,200).

    By comparison, the V6 Holden Commodore Evoke started at $35,490 ($42,900 in today’s money), while a manual V8 Commodore SS began at $47,490 ($57,400 today) back in 2017.

    MORE: Everything Mazda 6

    Derek Fung

    Derek Fung would love to tell you about his multiple degrees, but he's too busy writing up some news right now. In his spare time Derek loves chasing automotive rabbits down the hole. Based in New York, New York, Derek loves to travel and is very much a window not an aisle person.

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