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Geneva show: Minagi points the way for Mazda

Mazda Minagi: Could give clues to a possible new sub-CX-7 crossover.

‘CX-5’ hint in Minagi concept as Mazda gets set for change of SUV style

Mazda logo19 Jan 2011

By RON HAMMERTON

MAZDA is preparing to whip the covers from a new compact SUV that could point the way to a new sub-CX-7 crossover vehicle.

Called the Minagi, the concept has been revealed in two renderings released in Japan ahead of the car’s unveiling at the Geneva motor show on March 1.

The Minagi is the second Mazda concept vehicle to show off the Japanese manufacturer’s new Kodo styling language that will set the style for the next generation of Mazda production vehicles.

Last September, Mazda displayed the Shinari four-door sports ‘coupe’ – the brainchild of design chief Ikou Maeda who has overseen the development of the new Kodo theme since his elevation to the design helm in 2009.

Kodo design – said to communicate “pent-up energy bursting with vitality as the vehicle nimbly navigates a sprawling urban cityscape” – will replace the current Nagare theme.

It will be progressively rolled out across the range, along with engineering incorporating Mazda’s SkyActiv-Body and Chassis – Mazda’s buzz words for measures to reduce weight and improve safety.

Mazda is holding its cards close to its chest on the prospects of the Minagi going into production, saying it is purely a concept to show off the new Kodo design theme, which it describes as ‘soul of motion’.

22 center imageLeft: Mazda Shinari concept from 2010.

A ‘CX-5’ would give Mazda a third weapon in the burgeoning SUV market, where its CX-7 has been a major hit for the company in Australia.

Last year, CX-7 sales soared 115 per cent to 9530 vehicles for the 12 months, making it the leading importer’s third best-selling model behind the Mazda3 and Mazda2. It was the fourth best-selling compact SUV, behind the Subaru Forester, Toyota Rav4 and Nissan X-Trail.

While Minagi’s future as a production car might be up in the air, its drivetrain definitely will see the light of day in showrooms. Mazda says the concept will showcase its new SkyActiv powertrain technologies, which are set to enter production this year.

Mazda’s short announcement accompanying the two images of the Minagi did not provide any detail of the SkyActiv engine and transmission in the show car, but as Mazda has already announced, the fuel-saving technology will be applied to a range of petrol and diesel engines from 1.3-litres to 2.5-litres for use across the model line-up.

As GoAuto has reported, the first petrol SkyActiv-G engine is expected in Australia later this year, probably in a Mazda2 or Mazda3 upgrade.

In Japan, the 1.3-litre SkyActiv engine is said to achieve 3.3 litres per 100km fuel efficiency in the Demio – the Japanese name for the Mazda2.

A 121kW 2.0-litre SkyActiv-G petrol engine producing a class-leading sub-6.0L/100km is expected to arrive in the upgraded Mazda3 late this year.

The diesel SkyActiv-D range of engines will make its first appearance in 2011, possibly in a new Mazda6. The twin-turbo 2.2-litre diesel earmarked for the Mazda6 is said to return 4.2L/100km.

Along with the Minagi concept, Mazda will show the Shinari concept in Geneva, giving showgoers a look at the future of the brand.

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