A high-concept look at the future of small cars
Preview: Mazda Kiyora Concept
If there's one company we'd love to see put its concept cars on the street, it's Mazda. The latest whiz-bang project, the Kiyora, was shown in Paris with the hint that it might be close to a promised mini-car from the Japanese manufacturer. With a lightweight chassis and body, four-cylinder direct injection gas engine and stop-start system, the Kiyora reflects the meaning of its name, which is "clean and pure" in Japanese. The average car buyer might not be ready for such cutting-edge design, but we're looking forward to the day when the fruits of Mazda's excellent design studio drop from the tree into showrooms.
Why it Matters
Mazda claims the future of all Mazda vehicles lies in its Nagare design principle which employs how natural elements like water and wind flow. So Mazda designers tapped water and harmony when penning the Mazda Kiyora Concept. It's a light weight direct injection four-cylinder powered urban commuter whose name means clean and pure. With all eyes of the world focused on a sustainable future, this is a design study that looks to have a big impact on the little car market, employing start-stop technology to minimize its impact when trapped in snarled urban traffic. While the start-stop technology is nothing new in the automotive marketplace, the car's interaction with the environment, primarily how it moves through the air, is the real focus, giving insight into how future Mazdas could look.
What it Looks Like
There is a lot of glass in this concept; running the length of the roof and most of the side panels, little will hinder the driver's view. The prominent nose that has found its way into so many of the other Nagare concepts has found a home on the Kiyora as well. We’re guessing a flatter nose, doesn’t flow as well as the schnozzes that have found their way into the Nagare design studies. As with the previous concepts, there are lots of vents and sweeping curves to aid the wind in flowing through and over the car instead of the car having to beat its way through it. The swoops continue around the back end, further enhancing the Kiyora's aerodynamics. It even extends to the taillights, which are two thin sweeping strips that run from the top of the rear lip and over the rear hind quarters.
What's Under the Skin
The Mazda Kiyora Concept is powered by Mazda’s next-generation four-cylinder direct-injection engine and equipped with the Smart Idle Stop System to boost fuel economy and lower tailpipe emissions. Standard stuff these days, and since it's a concept, Mazda isn't forthcoming with much more information except to say that the design helps increase fuel economy.
What We Think
We’ve enjoyed watching the Nagare design concept develop over the last couple of years and had hoped they would continue to get more exciting with each iteration, especially after the introduction of the Taiki Concept in Tokyo last year. The Kiyora is interesting, but we’re still hoping Mazda has saved the best for last and will still bring something even cooler. Large expanses of glass make for great concept cars, but offer little in the way of any real production cues to get us excited.
By Vernon Heywood and Greg Brown
Photo credit: Greg Brown