Mazda Shinari

The underlying creative theme for this car is based on the concept of potential energy inherent in a bow pulled to maximum tension just before the archer releases the bowstring to free his arrow. It's a powerful image indeed, redolent of tensed predatory animal musculature just before a sudden pounce. There's a link with car performance, as well. Design division general manager Ikuo "Speedy" Maeda, whose father, Matasaburo, was head of Mazda design when the first RX-7 was created, is a committed car guy and a racing driver, not just a casual enthusiast. He designed the current RX-8 and the Mazda 2 compact. Like his father, Maeda is devoted to Mazda, to performance, and to design, and he's highly competent and motivated. His Shinari is good. I just wish there were a bit more formal innovation.

Front 3/4 view

1.This point on the grille base and the spoilerlike surface beneath it provide visual direction but absolutely inadequate ramp capability. Well, it is a show car.

2. There's an awful lot of complex shaping and surfacing in the front bumper fascia-to little purpose.

3. LED lamp tucked under the upper surface of the lozenge-shaped hollow is a subtle touch.

4. Headlamps are elegantly small, the length of their cover glass adding to the horizontal linearity that makes the Shinari so dramatic. Chrome from the lower grille perimeter fades to nothing in the headlamp. Very nice.

5. Front fender peak drops on its way rearward to fade into the front door skin.

6. The chopped-top look is a bit too exaggerated. For a more harmonious, better-proportioned profile, the side glass should be taller.

7. Second parallel dropping crease line derives from the upper corner of the grille, then fades away in the rear door.

8. Parallel crease line leads to the exhaust tip at the base of the rear fenders.

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