There's more than one way to increase efficiency, and Mazda seems intent on proving that it can compete in the ever-rising stakes of fuel mileage without actually going to the trouble of investing heavily in hybrid technology.
Instead, Mazda is taking a multi-pronged approach that includes new gasoline and diesel engines, efficient automatic and manual transmissions and lightweight structures that incorporate both the body shell and supporting chassis architecture. That whole philosophy is bundled up nicely in a package Mazda is calling SkyActiv.
In addition to SkyActiv, Mazda is also using the 2011 Geneva Motor Show to introduce the world to the second showcar (the first being the Shinari) styled using its Kodo design language: the Minagi Concept. A production version of the Minagi is slated for a debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show later this year.
We wouldn't expect many wholesale changes to the exterior design of the Minagi, as it looks pretty production-ready in its current state... minus a few of the extra-concepty bits like the minimilist exterior mirrors and giant rolling stock. Naturally, the marque's SkyActiv technology will be in full effect in the production Minagi.
We suggest you check out the live photos in our high-res image gallery below, but you can also read a whole bunch of information from Mazda on Kodo design language and how it's featured in the Minagi concept after the break.
Live photos copyright ©2011 Jeremy Korzeniewski / AOL
The Mazda MINAGI concept car embodies Mazda's new SKYACTIV technologies and new KODO design language, signaling the way for the next generation of Mazda cars to come.
The MINAGI concept makes its world premiere at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show as the expression of Mazda's new SKYACTIV technologies and new KODO design language. It is the first model which showcases characteristics likely to be seen in the next generation of Mazda cars.
For this reason, Mazda has fully incorporated its SKYACTIV technologies into every aspect of driving performance, including the powertrain, chassis, and even body design. As the second concept vehicle to incorporate Mazda's new 'KODO – Soul of Motion' design language, MINAGI challenges conventions with emotional design and exhilarating performance.
While SHINARI was a pure design concept to express the full potential of KODO design, MINAGI gives a glimpse of the next generation of products to come. As the second concept car to adopt Mazda's KODO design theme, MINAGI's design elements combine the expression of energy pulsing throughout the vehicle with the keen agility to move about freely and nimbly. With its upright, compact packaging, MINAGI offers a vision of KODO design that is different to SHINARI, yet it shares the same sinuous, powerful stance.
"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."
– Masashi Nakayama, Chief Designer, MINAGI Concept
The Mazda MINAGI is a stylish expression of pent-up energy. In Japanese, its name conjures up the image of an object pulsating with energy and perfectly reflects the vehicle's speed, agility and spirited character. For MINAGI, Mazda designers looked at different aspects of cheetahs as they hunt. A cheetah's head is positioned high, while long, powerful and supple limbs hold its lean torso upright to enable it to change direction quickly at high speed. Mazda's designers set out to evoke the moment when an animal contracts its muscles, ready to sprint and lunge at its prey. Furthermore, such a lunge can be in any direction; an idea which fits with the function of an agile crossover SUV as it nimbly darts through a sprawling cityscape.
Major features of the Mazda MINAGI Concept
An urban-friendly compact crossover SUV which combines emotional design with exhilarating performance
• Mazda MINAGI is the first concept car to fully adopt Mazda's SKYACTIV technologies and new 'KODO – Soul of Motion' design and it represents Mazda's next generation of products
• Mazda's unique compact crossover SUV for urban explorers fuses emotional design – which conveys a lively ability to quickly leap into action and head in any direction – with the driving pleasure and outstanding environmental and safety performance of SKYACTIV technologies
• KODO design elements adopted by this compact crossover SUV express pulsating energy and a nimble ability to move about freely
KODO design embodied in the form of a compact crossover SUV Proportions
• The vehicle's crouched stance expresses the image of a cheetah as it stands with its weight poised on its hind legs, ready to lunge at its prey
• The cargo bay of conventional SUVs often resembles a vehicle wearing a backpack, whereas MINAGI presents an image of a muscular entity that cleanly incorporates spaciousness within well-toned lines
• Placing the A-pillar rearward emphasizes the rearward orientation of the cabin. This stands in sharp contrast to the single-arc silhouette of frontward A-pillar placement on minivans, and emphasizes the driving position - a priority for the design of the MINAGI concept
• The cabin's position relative to the lower body is further back than on conventional SUVs. This emphasizes the motion expressed in MINAGI's form
• The chromed 'signature wing' on the front fascia, shared with SHINARI, makes MINAGI immediately recognizable as a Mazda and creates a strong impression
• Angling the front grille slightly downwards, while juxtaposing the headlamp housings design to slant upward, creates intensity
• Adding more dynamic contours to the prominent front fenders – highly characteristic of Mazda cars – expresses KODO design language's forceful sense of accumulating, then instantly releasing pent-up energy. These elements combine with the dynamic form of the rear fenders further emphasizing the wheels, which form the legs of this predator
• Sculpted lines along the sides of MINAGI's body accentuate a sense of power which suggest the supple strength of a cheetah. These contours extend and connect with the rear fender in an expression which suggests the powerful musculature that joins the cheetah's shoulders and hips to its legs
• The overall effect is a graceful and beautiful form which directs the eye from front-to-rear
• The character line that flows along the lower part of MINAGI's side panels symbolizes KODO's sense of power being accumulated, then quickly released
• The rear fenders project boldly outward to create a wide, stable stance befitting an SUV
• The contrast between the rear fenders and the taut lines of the car's rear end mimics the strong and seductive hip line of a toned athlete
• As with SHINARI, the chromed 'signature wing' that sweeps up from the bottom of the front grille disappears into the center of the headlamp housings dramatically
• The design of the three-dimensional headlamp and rear combination lamps add a heightened sense of depth
• The line of the 'signature wing' element and the headlamp design combine to express the intense look of a wild animal's gaze
High quality expressed in every detail heightens anticipation of an exhilarating drive Aims
• Mazda's designers set out to realize a driver-focused cockpit and cabin environment that expresses a reassuringly high level of strength and solidity. The interior employs quality materials along with the superior fit and finish of detailed hand craftsmanship
• The above features add to the anticipation of the driving pleasure to come by creating a refined and quality cabin environment
• The main black interior colour is highlighted by the colour red in the rear seatbacks and at the bottom of the door armrests
Characteristics unique to a compact crossover SUV
• Four upright satin chrome struts appear to support the instrument panel, each rising upward in an image of vertical strength which appears to defy gravity, underscoring the impression that MINAGI's occupants are securely protected
• The design of the instrument cluster and surrounding switches emphasizes the snug, sporty nature of the driver-focused cockpit while expressing Mazda's sporty ethos
• Leather seats and door trim have been fashioned using the finest leather available
• Skilled craftsmen have carefully sewn the striking raised pleats, a touch that expresses the interior's high level of quality
• The 'black smoked' coating on the dark tinted horizontal metal panel – positioned along the center of the instrument panel – shows the high quality of the interior components
• Solid metal components, including the door handles, are milled from solid aluminium and carefully polished to provide a smooth, quality-enhancing surface. The door levers are designed to resemble the beauty and functionality of high-end racing bicycle components, and provide a level of quality that ensures they are a pleasure to use