The low-slung Mazda CX-4 is quite a handsome thing, so it’s a shame that it’s currently exclusive to the Chinese market. That might soon change, however – Australian portal CarAdvice has stumbled upon photos of the SUV “coupé” being tested in Melbourne, hinting at the development of a global model.

The silver unit seen here, an entry-level 2.0 litre model, wears a sticker proclaiming that it’s a left-hand drive engineering evaluation vehicle. Although the publication says that it’s not uncommon for carmakers to test Chinese-market cars in Australia, it wouldn’t make sense to conduct further evaluation on a car that’s already been on sale for more than a year, so something is clearly afoot.

Before the CX-4 was launched in China, Mazda Australia’s communications manager at the time, Karla Leach, told CarAdvice, “We like the look of the car, and think that the styling very much is in line with Australian tastes, [but] at the moment it isn’t going to be sold outside of China.” The presence of the test mule Down Under hints that Hiroshima’s stand on the matter could be changing.

Measuring 4,633 mm long and 1,535 mm tall, the CX-4 is 78 mm longer and up to 135 mm lower than the outgoing CX-5, but shares that car’s 1,840 mm width and 2,700 mm wheelbase. There are two engine options available – 158 hp/202 Nm 2.0 litre and 192 hp/252 Nm 2.5 litre SkyActiv-G petrol engines, available with six-speed manual (2.0 litre) and automatic transmissions and either front- or all-wheel drive (2.5 litre).

An update for the 2018 model year in August added G-Vectoring Control across the range, plus Smart Brake Support (SBS), Lane Departure Warning System (LDWS), Mazda Radar Cruise Control (MRCC) and High-Beam Control on the range-topping 2.5 litre variant.