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The Mazda Arata Is Another Try at Making an Electric SUV

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The main star at Mazda’s stand in Beijing at the Auto China 2024 is unquestionably the rear-wheel-drive electric 6 sedan. However, it’s not the only premiere since the Arata is also making its first appearance. It’s a sleek-looking concept of an electric SUV destined to go into production by the end of next year in China.

Much like the EZ-6 sedan, the Arata has been developed by Changan Mazda, a 50:50 joint venture between Changan Automobile and Mazda founded in late 2012. It’s likely to adopt a different moniker for the production version, possibly an alphanumeric designation to echo the other SUVs. The “EZ-60” nameplate has already been trademarked in China and therefore might be used for this vehicle.

Meanwhile, the Arata (Japanese for “new” or “fresh”) previews an attractive electric SUV that could be related to an existing product. While the EZ-6 is expected to be a reskinned Changan Depal SL03, the EZ-60 is likely to be based on the Changan Deepal S7. However, these will be more than just cases of swapping badges and calling it a day since there are major design differences. We reckon the Mazda sedan and SUV duo looks significantly more upmarket to justify what will likely be a higher price tag.

The Arata is strictly an EV affair, at least for now, whereas the EZ-6 going on sale this year in China will also be sold with a plug-in hybrid setup. The SUV also adopts the familiar Kodo design language and has relatively small windows and sleek lights front and rear. Just like the sedan, it gets an illuminated grille. The large “Mazda” script on the sides also lights up.

Since it’s still a concept, it has cameras instead of conventional mirrors and also does away with door handles and a rear wiper. Mazda gave it a chunky spoiler bisected by a vertical third brake light that seems to extend to the roof panel. The design of the quarter panel gives the illusion of flying buttresses but we’re not sure there’s an actual hole. Nonetheless, it’s an unexpected design cue to see on an SUV.

Mazda isn’t saying anything about selling the sedan and SUV outside of China where the two will be manufactured. The Zoom-Zoom company has taken shy steps toward electrification but it knows EVs are inevitable. Although the MX-30 hasn’t been a commercial success, to say the least, the Japanese brand is aware it must pursue electrification to survive.

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