Five Things You Need to Know About the Mazda Kai Concept
The making of a hot, hot hatch
TOKYO, Japan—With the next generation car due in model year 2019, Mazda hopes to make its Mazda3 compact even more of a hot hatch.
The Mazda Kai concept has a lot in common with the Vision Coupe Concept, also making its debut at the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show.
Though most of the download offered on the car there centered on its new "minimalist" design aesthetic, much of the news also centered on the next Mazda3's Skyactive-X spark controlled compression ignition 2.0-liter high-compression four.
But here are some of the design details you should know about the Kai/Mazda3.
1. What you see is probably very close to what you will get.
The deep-draw scallop in the side profile can be easily reproduced in the factory, says Mazda North America design director Julien Montousse. That side surfacing reflects an uninterrupted "S-line" of light and complements other minimalist surfacing that Mazda refers to as "less is more." Rays of light are directed down into the rear wheel to give the car a look of strength.
2. Mazda designers have gone to extremes with the car's front signature wing.
This refers to the outer surface of the hood that extends over the end of the nose and now overlaps the familiar five-point grille.
3. The LED rear turn signals, thin horizontal lines bifurcating the taillamps, will appear … in some markets.
You can see this unusual design element in the Mazda Vision Coupe concept, too. Montousse says you'll see those taillamps only where not prohibited by local/regional regulations.
4. Designers also spent a lot of time inside the car.
Interior door panels "overlap" with the deep draw doors just outside. Heating/air conditioning vents placed around the driver are at a much higher plane than for the front passenger, Montousse says, to "separate the space between driver and passenger."
5. There will be a next-generation Mazda3 sedan.
The hatchback will have a C-pillar as thick as the concepts, so it will be interesting to see how designers resolve the look and proportion for the sedan. The obvious uptick in the quality of its look is part of Mazda's plan to inch into the premium realm.