At the 2002 Geneva Auto Salon next month, Mazda will unveil a concept model which is said to show the company’s brand DNA and design philosophy in small car form. It demonstrates the standards Mazda aims to achieve in small car lifestyle packaging and driving dynamics.
Through Mazda’s new brand-driven direction, the eye-catching MX Sport Runabout cleverly combines distinctive design, exceptional functionality and responsive handling and performance that is in line with the attributes built into the new Mazda6 and all Mazda’s future production cars.
The MX Sport Runabout proposes a new standard in the class through bold new styling and innovative interior quality with excellent packaging, dynamic performance, class-leading handling and ride comfort.
Inheriting key attributes of Mazda’s new brand and product DNA, it boasts dynamic athletic styling and is instantly recognizable as a Mazda from the “family face” with its five-point grille face and distinctive light cluster (which echoes that of the Atenza).
The exterior creates the right balance between emotional Mazda design and the visual communication of a world-class package. This was achieved by graphically emphasizing the cabin area while maintaining the Mazda ‘surface language’. Short overhangs and large-diameter wheels positioned well into the corners of the body help the MX Sport Runabout convey a clear sense of stability.
To reflect the fun-to-drive message of the MX Sport Runabout, the concept model’s bodywork is finished in bright and distinctive yamabuki orange. The interior is described as a ‘lifestyle environment’ with quality that is exceptional in this market segment. It is light beige color-themed with chocolate lowlights on the upper instrument panel and door trim together with metal-coated audio panel and door trim insert to enhance chic, sophisticated, and sporty design.
Commenting on the concept, Mazda Head of Design, Moray Callum explains: “The MX Sport Runabo7ut gives the occupants an atmosphere where they can literally ‘feel at home’. Using architectural design principles, the interior emphasizes the efficient use of space, at the same time expressing comfort and an inviting atmosphere. This is achieved through a careful balance of form, materials, textures and colors.”
“The interior has all the expected and required functions of a modern family car – however, they have been integrated with an emphasis on familiarity to what the customer uses everyday at home, such as the influence of modern audio units on the centre panel,” he adds.
Through clever packaging, the five-door MX Sport Runabout delivers maximum space and flexibility within compact overall dimensions providing an outstanding blend of comfort, functionality and top-level safety. Even though the compact body measures just 3900 mm in overall length, 1720 mm wide and 1550 mm high, the 2.50 metre wheelbase provides the spacious passenger room of a much larger car, allowing four adults to travel in complete comfort.
Through flexible and easy-to-use storage space, MX Sport Runabout is capable of carrying two complete mountain bikes, thanks to a non-protruding suspension tower design. It also has a one-touch rear seat double folding function, as seen on Atenza.
The MX Sport Runabout is claimed t deliver Mazda’s “fun-to-drive” driving dynamics, thanks to enhanced body rigidity and newly developed suspension. Ride comfort and braking performance are also said to be exceptional for the small car class.
Powered comes from a newly-developed, state-of-the-art 1.5-litre in-line 4-cylinder DOHC S-VT engine with 4-speed automatic transmission.
Though Mazda is labelling this a concept car at this time, it is clearly a model that appears ready for production so don’t be surprised to see it appearing in showrooms in the near future!