Mazda brought Geneva show-goers dazzled by exotic hype back to earth with its Hazumi concept, a thinly disguised preview of how the next Mazda 2 will look.
Described as foreshadowing “Mazda’s next subcompact car”, the Hazumi took the so-called Kodo design themes of recent Mazdas and bundled the low, aggressive nose, upswept rear waistline and heavily sculpted flanks into a smaller but no less attractive package.
Mazda admits style is a strong factor in shifting cars in the cut-throat B-segment, where female buyers predominate and rock-bottom prices are the norm, and if the Mazda 2 closely follows the Hazumi’s design it’s likely to stand out from the crowd.
While Hazumi details such as the monster 18-inch rims, recessed doorhandles, tiny mirrors and central twin-exhaust won’t make it onto the Mazda 2, the sheetmetal is locked in and ready to fire.
But designer Ryo Yanagisawa – the man also responsible for the look of the BT-50 pick-up – said the Hazumi’s more masculine shape than the somewhat cuddly-looking current Mazda 2 could mean its appeal could be skewed more towards male customers than the typical young female sub-compact buyer.
“The market is for all genders or all varieties of customer base,” he said.
“But we are aware that all the forms we created in the theme of ‘soul of motion’ has been popular among male customers, so probably in following that theme we might have created something more appealing to boys.”
Backing this up is the likelihood of a performance version, powered by the same 114kW 2.0-litre petrol engine fitted to the new Mazda 3.
The Hazumi name – which in Japanese means a coiled muscle ready to pounce, presumably like a stalking cat – won’t make it into production, but then neither will much of the ritzy interior with its individual bucket seats, masses of chrome highlights and prominent trapezoidal centre display.
But its new 1.5-litre diesel – the first appearance of Mazda’s smaller SkyActiv oil-burner – definitely will, alongside smaller petrol engines, when the new Mazda 2 hits Australian showrooms late this year to replace its seven-year-old but still strong-selling predecessor.
If the next Mazda 2 follows the Hazumi’s dimensions, it will be substantially larger than its predecessor. At 2585mm, the concept’s wheelbase is 95mm longer than the current car, and it is 170mm longer overall at 4070mm.
The Hazumi follows recent Mazda concepts by being blatantly Japanese in name, and in form is far removed from some of the more conservative small European hatchbacks seen at Geneva. According to Yanagisawa, producing such a concept at the Geneva show – regarded as a bastion of European automotive design – was a deliberate ploy.
“The last thing we want to be seen as doing is following the European trend. So we want to say: this is what we can present from Japan,” he said.
“We are still discussing exactly which features are Japanese characteristics, but ideally I think what we want to say is this is different; this is Japan.”