Designed with the Russian compact SUV market in mind, Kazamai gives a glimpse at where Mazda is heading with a possible future compact crossover.
In the first six months of 2008 more new cars were sold in Russia than any other European country making it Europe’s largest car market.
One of the country’s biggest markets is the sports utility vehicle (SUV) segment, representing 16 percent of the total sales volume in 2007. Between 2004 and 2007, the segment became 10 times larger and this growth is expected to continue over the mid-term in Russia. Mazda’s mid-sized sports crossover SUV, the CX-7, has been on the market for less than a year in Russia and has already found over 7,900 customers — easily Mazda’s largest market for the CX-7 in Europe.
Now, the Mazda Kazamai concept car addresses the growing popularity of SUVs in Russia and gives a strong hint at where Mazda might be going with a compact crossover SUV. Small, lightweight with dynamic styling, low-consumption, and a next-generation Mazda powertrain, it is meant to appeal to young, upwardly-mobile Russians with a strong sense of style and urban lifestyle demands.
Mazda Kazamai means ‘swirling crosswinds’ in Japanese, and was chosen to express the powerful yet nimble character of this stylish and compact crossover. Kazamai is dynamic and athletic looking on the outside and displays an evolved Nagare ‘flow’ design. Unlike previous concept cars, Mazda Kazamai’s styling represents powerful natural movements that are emotionally expressed through three-dimensional motifs stretching over the whole body, representing a fusion of design and functionality.
Mazda Kazamai is an impressive combination of packaging requirements and design aesthetics. With a width of 1,930mm and a length of 4,520mm, it is slightly larger than the current Mazda3, with room for SUV comfort and functionality on the inside. Yet, because it is only 1,500mm high, has a flat roofline and very short rear overhangs, it also has a sporty coupe look with the promise of driving fun.
The innovative body design features flared fenders that emphasise SUV-like strength and a cabin befitting a sports car. The wedge-shaped profile was designed to evoke the image of a sleek arrow cutting through a mighty wind. In particular, the body design between the front wheel arches and the roof pillars is intended to express the agility and dynamism of wind gusting along the side of the vehicle. The panel lines on the sides represent swift and elegant crosswinds, further accentuating the dynamic and stylish body design. The bonnet itself is lower in the centre than at the sides, which emphasises the car’s powerful front fenders that accommodate large, 22-inch diameter wheels with 265/45 R22 tyres.
The alloy wheel design continues the crosswinds motif with each spoke carefully twisted and larger at the perimeter than in the centre, providing a strong sense of movement. The five-point Mazda grille is integrated into the body to create a clean and light image which, together with the flared front lower sides, contributes to excellent aerodynamic characteristics. The aerodynamics are further improved by making the air intakes as small as possible. The side sill panels and rear combination light covers also help to control the wind flow and reduce drag even further.
Mazda Kazamai is not only a pure expression of speed and power, it also accommodates up to four passengers with compact SUV comfort and functionality. It was designed to fulfil many driver and vehicle interfaces so as to support the driver in enjoying safe and stress-free driving, with a well considered man/machine relationship, good visibility and an easy to operate cockpit. This is one of Mazda’s important areas of the Sustainable Zoom-Zoom plan.
The ideal powertrain match for the Mazda Kazamai concept would be the next-generation 2.0-litre direct-injection petrol engine, which Mazda engineers are currently developing. This engine delivers a balance of sporty driving — especially in a compact car like the Kazamai — with good environmental performance. Mazda Kazamai will feature a DISI engine based on the current Mazda CX-7’s engine, with advanced technologies to minimise energy loss and vastly improved thermal efficiency. Mazda’s next generation 2.0-litre DISI petrol engine also has combustion control technology and variable valve control that deliver strong torque throughout the rev-range for excellent engine response as well as superior fuel economy. A next-generation catalyst also ensures superior emissions performance.
This engine is coupled to a lightweight, next-generation compact six-speed automatic transmission that is highly responsive and delivers the direct feel of a manual transmission, and with four-wheel drive for superior traction. In combination with Kazamai’s next-generation aerodynamics and its lightweight body outlined above, this powertrain would deliver an estimated 30 percent improvement in fuel consumption and emissions (versus the current MZR 2.0-litre petrol) — without compromising driving pleasure.