Mazda MINAGI compact crossover SUV concept debuts at 2011 Geneva Motor Show

Article by Christian Andrei, on March 2, 2011

The new Mazda MINAGI compact crossover SUV concept made its world premiere at the Geneva Motor Show. This vehicle will feature its all-new SKYACTIV technologies and a new design theme, KODO – Soul of Motion. Mazda said that the MINAGI concept is the forerunner to the launch of Mazda’s upcoming next-generation products.

This concept also symbolizes the “evolution of the Mazda brand for a new era.” The MINAGI is powered by a SKYACTIV engine and mated to a SKYACTIV transmission fitted to a SKYACTIV body and chassis.

Mazda said that the combination results in a package that’s light but highly safe. Mazda said further that the MINAGI’s new SKYACTIV technologies were developed to promote “harmony between driving pleasure and outstanding environmental and safety performance.”

The MINAGI’s KODO design is also believed to evoke a powerful and emotive sense of pent-up energy and vitality, which make the vehicle a standout in the city. The MINAGI’s exterior has been fitted with the chromed ‘signature wing’ on the front fascia, a front grille that is slightly angled downwards, while nearby headlamp housings are designed with an upward slant.

A wide, SUV-style stance is created by the rear fenders that project outward. Mazda also said that a sense of depth is heightened because of the design of the three-dimensional headlamp and rear combination lamps.

The new Mazda Minagi Concept crossover features an emotional design that conveys its superb performance and practicality. For instance, its hunkered stance resembles that of a cheetah standing with its weight perching on its hind legs, seemingly all ready to go into action.

Its A-pillar has been placed rearward to underscore the cabin’s rearward orientation – a departure from the typical placement of frontward A-pillars on minivans that result to a single-arc silhouette. The rearward placement of the A-pillar further highlights the driving position, which is a primary focus of the Mazda Minagi concept.

Moreover, the cabin's position in relation to the lower body is moved farther back compared to that of conventional SUVs, a configuration that further emphasizes its expressed motion. The new Mazda Minagi Concept also features a cargo bay that departs from the usual styling of conventional SUVS that makes them appear to be wearing a backpack.

As for the Minagi, it offers styling that suggests a muscular entity that cleanly integrates spaciousness within its well-toned lines. On the other hand, the front end of the Mazda Minagi Concept features the chromed 'signature wing' on the front fascia that is also featured on the Shinari, as well as a front grille that angles slightly downwards with a contrasting headlamp housings design that slants upward.

Its front fenders don more dynamic contours typical of Mazda cars – thereby conveying KODO design language's philosophy of accumulating and releasing pent-up energy. These front end elements are complemented by the dynamic form of the Minagi’s rear fenders that underscore the wheels.

The rear section of the Mazda Minagi Concept features rear fenders that boldly go outward to add to a wider yet more stable stance typical of an SUV. These fenders are contrasted by the stiff and taut lines of the Mazda Minagi Concept.

On the sides, the concept features sculpted lines and contours that underscore its sense of power. These contours extend and connect with the rear fender. The new Mazda Minagi also features a character line running along the lower part of its side panels -- symbolizing KODO's sense of power being accumulated and then released.

Press Release

Mazda Minagi Concept

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 Mazda 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, Mazda 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, Mazda 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, Mazda 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
Exterior design

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 Mazda 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
Front view

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
Side view

Sculpted lines along the sides of Mazda 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
Rear view

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
Headlamp design

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
Interior design

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
Craftsmanship

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

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