By this time next year, we may have a new Mazda3, a new Impreza WRX, and even a Subaru hybrid. But if the manufacturers had their way, we’ll see a lot more Mazda6 sedans on the road—and a lot more diverse Subarus.
Mazda wants to reverse its poor fortunes in America and become a legitimate volume seller, especially in the hotly-contested midsize arena. Certainly it believes that the 2014 Mazda6, which was recently spied out in scenic Big Bear, can do the trick. Mazda’s new design standard will get rid of the wide-mouthed grin that made buyers felt like they were driving around in giant Xanax pills—and what’s been leaked out shows a more muscular tone and sharper edges.
Expect this to make its way to a new Mazda3. It’ll also take advantage of SKYACTIV drivetrains for maximum efficiency, and maybe even a diesel engine to tackle the upcoming Chevy Cruze Diesel. Between the recently-launched CX-5 crossover, the Mazda6 sedan, and the Mazda3 compact, the company is playing into the three most popular segments in the American market with new designs, new technology, and—hopefully—more sales.
Subaru is patching together its product lineup to match those segments. It redesigned its Impreza last year, so all is quiet on the compact front. In fact, for the three segments that Mazda is changing, Subaru already has: the Impreza for 2012, the Legacy for 2009, and the Forester, the oldest one of the three, for 2008. It will be redesigned in 2014 and will be longer, lower, wider, and more befitting an actual crossover than the tall wagon from whence it came, all those many moons ago. It might even see a plug-in hybrid variant.
Other than that, Subaru is emphasizing performance. It’s been months since an STI version of the Impreza was introduced, much less a WRX, and for Subaru fans this simply will not stand. Too bad they’ll have to wait: Subaru claims that the earliest they’ll come will be next year, when the Impreza is facelifted for the 2014 model year. That means another year of waiting for the former rally terrors, but enough time for Subaru to keep pushing the BRZ for us. Sales of the BRZ have been brisk, with 1,587 sold so far since it went on sale in May, and 5,000 total allocated for the rest of the year. Something tells us that every one of those will go out the door.
If the BRZ isn’t interesting enough on its own, Subaru finally broke down and revealed that a convertible BRZ will come next year, for 2014, at the same time as the WRX and STI pairs. For proponents of the Mazda Miata—a car that will see a new model in 2014, for the 2015 model year—it will be a very interesting battle, indeed.