Over the years, we have learned to pay close attention when Mazda rolls out a new concept vehicle. Chances are that we’ll see the design again, as even the most extreme show cars tend to have a clear influence on the Japanese maker’s upcoming production models.
So it seems to be with the new Mazda Harumi Concept making its debut outing at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show. The little prototype is, according to the maker, a “foreshadowing” of what’s to come when it launches its next-generation Mazda2 minivar.
In sharp contrast to some of its more conservative Asian rivals, Mazda has been pushing the limits of design and using its show cars to gauge both media and consumer reaction. And if the Harumi is any indication, it could strike a responsive chord with those who’ve grown tired of the formula that has long contended that buyers on a budget must settle for bland and boring econoboxes.
The deep red Hazumi features a strong interpretation of Mazda’s familiar trapezoidal grille, sharp creases in the hood, a curvaceous roofline that gives character to what might have otherwise been a me-too hatchback shape. There’s a carbon fiber-like wing above the hatch and cats-eye-like taillamps give the show car character whether you see it coming or going.
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Traditionally, Mazda tends to back off from some of the more radical designs it has showcased over the years, but the Hazumi on display at Geneva’s PALExpo seems more grounded than some of the more flamboyant of those efforts – which means it seems a lot more like a near-ready-to-go production model. Sources suggest we anticipate slightly less aggressive wheels, mirrors, headlights and door handles.
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As you might expect, the Hazumi is based upon Mazda’s new SkyActiv system. That’s often misinterpreted and actually means a lot more than just a new line of high-mileage powertrains. Mazda claims its engineers are seeking to improve efficiencies wherever possible, down to redesigning water pumps and even shaving grams off the lug nuts they use.
That said, the new Harumi Concept is powered by Mazda’s new 1.5-liter turbodiesel engine – which produces just 90 grams of CO2 per kilometer, well below even the strict new European Union emissions rules will permit. How many engines will be used in the production Mazda2 remains to be seen, though there will be a mix of diesel and gasoline power depending on markets.
The interior, meanwhile, adopts the new MZD Connect infotainment system first seen on the latest-generation Mazda3 line.