The 2017 Mazda CX-5 that will launch in Australia in the coming months could well be joined by a seven-seat variant, if reports out of Japan are to be believed.
Japanese site LiveDoor claims that a seven-seat version of the new-generation Mazda CX-5 will be offered in that market by the end of 2017, because Mazda doesn't sell the larger CX-9 seven-seater in its home market. Instead, it has a couple of vans - the Premacy and Biante, which could be on their way out.
The packaging around the potential new model could be a bit of a challenge - the new CX-5 is only five millimetres longer than its predecessor (at 4545mm), and the model is renowned for having one of the smaller boot areas in the class. The new version carries over the same underpinnings as the existing model, so it's unlikely that the boot has grown too much - official figures have not yet been released.
It's unclear, however, if the report is suggesting that a stretched version of the CX-5 may be the reason that the extra seats could fit in the boot. Could we see the return of the CX-7 badge as a result...?
CarAdvice contacted Mazda Australia to assess whether the a seven-seat CX-5 may be sold here, alongside the new model, launches in the first quarter of 2017.
The response was "no comment", because the report out of Japan was referred to as "speculation only" and "written with no confirmed information from Mazda Japan".
For context, the current-generation Mazda CX-5 has been a smash success for the brand - it was the nation's biggest-selling medium SUV in 2016, with 24,564 units sold and a market share in that busy segment of 17.2 per cent. The next-biggest sellers were the Hyundai Tucson (20,132 sales; 14.1 per cent share) and Toyota RAV4 (19,526 sales; 13.7 per cent share).
Currently there are four grades - Maxx, Maxx Sport, Grand Touring and Akera - with the choice of petrol and diesel drivetrains, not to mention the option of front- or all-wheel drive, depending on the variant.