Mazda Motor Corporation zips into the 2004 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) with its smallest story in years: the MX-Micro Sport concept. The nimble and light five-door concept makes its world premier at the annual auto show in Detroit alongside seven additional all-new or face-lifted production models; including the new Mazda3 four-door and Mazda3 five-door, the new Mazda6 Sportwagon and Mazda6 five-door, the new turbocharged Mazdaspeed MX-5 and the recently face-lifted MPV and an updated 2005 model-year Tribute. Mazda's Hydrogen Rotary RX-8 concept, which premiered last October at the 2003 Tokyo Motor Show, is also making its ÚS debut at NAIAS.
'This has to be our best collection of cars ever,' said Stephen Odell, Mazda's Senior Managing Executive Officer in charge of Global Marketing, Sales and Customer Service, commenting on the collection of concept and production models at the annual Detroit show. 'We've committed ourselves to getting our business stronger in North America. From MPV to RX-8, we've got the right products-these cars represent the strongest showroom in Mazda's history-and we are now aggressively addressing our distribution issues in this key market.' Mazda MX-Micro Sport Concept
The MX-Micro Sport concept is the company's latest effort in its ongoing pursuit to further remake and strengthen its line of Zoom-Zoom vehicles. A production version of the MX-Micro Sport concept will debut in a key automotive market during calendar year 2004, and Mazda is currently reviewing opportunities in other key markets including North America.
MX-Micro Sport presents Mazda's sporty and athletic, Zoom-Zoom design language in a small, compact package. As shown in Detroit, the concept offers local auto show visitors a chance to appreciate the possibilities of a small Mazda in the North American market. Immediately apparent in this concept is the confidence of the exterior design, which communicates a look of tension and high contrast. The vehicle's highly sculptural build quality is clean and simple, yet also very modern and overtly sophisticated.
'This concept pursues the sporty and modern tastes perceived as 'cool' by our target customers -younger people who are particular about maintaining an active lifestyle. With this design, we have not forgotten the company's Zoom-Zoom spirit, but we have very clearly tried to push that spirit in a new direction and to advance some of our familiar Mazda design cues,' said MX-Micro Sport's chief designer Kunihiko Kurisu.
The A- and B-pillars and window sashes are dressed in high-gloss black and create a highly integrated appearance with the glass area of the side windows. The vehicle's dark greenhouse provides a strong contrast to the specially formulated, deep-gloss ZZR red paint.
The pronounced shoulder line that runs the length of the vehicle, combined with the bold front and rear fenders, express a tension of form that communicates strength. In particular, a visually pronounced edge is used to lend sharpness and a sense of volume to the fender design. Riding on 17 inch multi-spoke alloy wheels, the overall forward-leaning stance and solid shape of the concept is sporty and aggressive, a personality so typical of Mazda.
Also keeping with Mazda family design DNA, the MX-Micro Sport concept maintains the family face, yet offers a fresh interpretation of the company's well-recognized five point grille. A large air intake in the front skirt and bold vertical slits at either end of the front bumper have been added to emphasize the aggressive look of forward motion. Large headlamp units feature clear lenses and reflectors with a unique curvature to lend expressiveness to the front end; the finely detailed forms in the headlamps are characteristic of Japanese esthetics. Viewed in sum, all the key design elements express a dynamic, highly sculptural quality.
In a similar fashion, the rear end of the MX-Micro Sport concept features combination lamps that echo the design of the highly sculptured headlamps. The concept also includes a racing-inspired rear air diffuser, vertical slits at either end of the rear bumper and centrally located dual exhaust pipes. This methodical construction of the elements that dominate the rear view of the MX-Micro Sport further emphasize the concept's modern, purposeful and sporty personality. Interior Space and Design
Great attention was paid to the spaciousness and comfort of the interior. An ability to make more room from less space is a skill Mazda's design and engineering teams have mastered during years of developing small and efficient cars for key markets around the world.
To assure ample headroom, the A-pillars and side windows feature relatively upright angles and the instrument panel is void of uneven surfaces and parting lines, resulting in a clean cut, spacious design. In all, the interior's highly-tangible quality, the individualistic color scheme and key design details are used to appeal to a target customer that most certainly recognizes high quality and sophisticated design.
The front seats have been specifically developed to provide exceptional side support-much like the seats used in the all-new Mazda3-and long-haul comfort. The rear fold down seats have a sporty bucket look and are designed to provide excellent lateral support and ease of vehicle entry and exit. Both front and rear seats have generous thickness in the shoulder area, and assure firm and comfortable seating.
At 3980 mm (156.7 inches) in length, the MX-Micro Sport concept is compact in size, a full 505 mm (19.9 inches) shorter than the new Mazda3 five-door. At the same time, it is nearly as wide as the Mazda3 and 85 mm (3.3 inches) taller, so the cabin feels open, spacious, and offers room enough for four adults. The luggage compartment comes equipped with a detachable partition for flexible stowage arrangements. Fitted at floor level, the partition allows use of the area beneath the floor as a sub trunk. Fitted in the upper position, the partition can function as a rear shelf and a cover to conceal luggage from view. Color Schemes and Details
Originality is often expressed in design through the use of color and shapes. In the MX-Micro Sport, the interior is crafted with an elegant balance of black and brown leather, and highlighted with a subtle red pin stripe. This warm design theme helps create an appealing, inviting atmosphere that is distinctly modern and also sporty.
The instrument panel's central section incorporates a highly reflective silver finish that works to complement the large, black-on-white instruments. To the right of the steering wheel is a large, multi function display. Positioned centrally between driver and front passenger, the central display is visible and easy to operate by both, adding to the high functionality of the cabin. As with the instruments, the center display is trimmed with a high reflective silver finish. Bright silver is also used to give a satisfying tactile quality to the steering wheel spokes and inner door handles, while meters and horn buttons have chrome-plated rings.
The black and brown, two-tone leather seats are highlighted with red pin striping along the outer seam, expressing a simple, modern, well tailored appearance, and complimenting a similar striping treatment on the instrument panel. The color coordination, including the continuous black/brown/red leather trim running from the instrument panel to the door trim, is a clear expression of the individuality and active lifestyle that characterizes the target customer. Key design details include air conditioner louvers and audio tweeters stacked vertically together at either end of the instrument panel, which are combined to create a clean, sophisticated appearance and a visual expression to the audio system's dynamic potential.
An additional feature of the MX-Micro Sport concept is Mazda's keyless entry system. The system works with a 'credit card' that contains personalized information about the driver. When inserted into a receiver in the instrument panel, information such as common destinations for the navigation system and preferred audio sources are automatically set by the system. In addition, the card activates the engine start switch mounted on the instrument panel. The engine is started with a simple push of a button, and can be shut down just as easily.
Dynamic Performance Fired by the Zoom Zoom Spirit Mazda MX-Micro Sport concept features a MacPherson-type front suspension and a torsion beam rear suspension tuned to provide the lively driving response and natural balance that is a central characteristic of Mazda's DNA. Good straight-line stability, progressive steering with sharp turn-in feel, and extremely linear brake response are consistent aspects of all Mazda products-the Zoom-Zoom driving experience that can be felt while driving quickly on an open road or even while slowly motoring through congested traffic.
The MX-Micro Sport concept is equipped with Mazda's proven MZR 2.0-liter four cylinder engine. Resting on liquid-filled engine mounts for improved NVH performance, the 16-valve engine benefits from a variable-length induction system, lightweight pistons and low-friction cams and tappets. The exhaust manifold has been specifically tuned to provide a pleasant, sporty engine note.
As with all Mazda MZR engines, the overall output has been tuned to provide ample torque throughout the rev range to help deliver a feeling of responsiveness in the throttle pedal. This balance of horsepower and torque is a key ingredient to the overall driving experience. In the MX-Micro Sport, a concept six speed manual transmission is used to take full advantage of the engine's power and to encourage the type of enjoyable, Zoom-Zoom driving that all Mazda products have been created to deliver.Source - Ford Media