Wednesday, March 2, 2011

201 Mazda Previews New Compact SUV with Minagi Concept

Mazda lifted the wraps off its new Minagi concept SUV today at the Geneva Motor Show. The compact SUV study builds on the Japanese brand's new Kodo design identity first seen on the Shinari concept last year. However, unlike the Shinari, the Minagi, which previews Mazda's forthcoming VW Tiguan rival, looks to be more production ready.

“I wanted to convey something different from the Mazda SHINARI. I felt a compact crossover SUV was the perfect vehicle to express agility and focused movement the flexibility of four limbs moving in unison, and an upright posture,” said Masashi Nakayama, the designer of the crossover concept.

The front uses the same large grille as the Shinari, outlined by a chromed “signature wing” that extends all the way through the headlights, giving the car a sharp and aggressive look. The Minagi sports the same sculpted forms dictated by the Kodo design language, with the contours of the front and rear fenders emphasizing the wheels. The car has a sleek and dynamic profile, which ends at the back with a powerful and muscular look. Both the headlamps and the taillights have similar shapes and a hi-tech appearance, with Mazda's press release comparing the design of the headlights to a “wild animal's gaze”.

Inside, the Minagi features a driver-orientated cockpit with four upright satin chrome struts appearing to support the dashboard. The design of the instrument panel has sporty touches, such as the round chronograph-like clocks or the three-spoke steering wheel.

As for the technical side, the company only said that the concept incorporates the next-generation of powertrain and chassis technologies, reunited under the SKYACTIV name.

Although this has not been confirmed, Mazda's new compact SUV model could be developed together with partner Ford, whose 2012 Escape/Kuga production model was previewed in Detroit by the Vertrek Concept.

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