Mazda’s success started down the fast road with the introduction of the Mazda3 compact sedan and hatchback, and the Mazda6 midsized sedan, and now the company looks set to revamp its two big nameplates, unveiling the Kai and Vision Coupe concepts at the recent Tokyo Motor Show.
Mazda says the Kai Concept compact hatchback heralds a new generation of Mazda cars, with a new generation of Skyactiv engine and architecture, and a “more mature expression” of the Kodo design language.
The performance and ride are promised to be ramped up, and noise levels and body vibrations are toned reportedly toned down. The latest Skyactiv-X engine promises the best of gasoline and diesel engine (high rpm hp, low-end torque), though it seems strange to have the company reaffirm its commitment to the internal combustion engine at roughly the same timeframe (2020) as others are committing to electrification, though to be fair, Mazda labels its long-term vision “Sustainable Zoom-Zoom 2030.”
Although the chiselled muscular look is bound to change by the time a production vehicle is due for introduction, look for the Kai Concept to become the next generation Mazda3, which is due for market probably as early as 2019.
The Vision Coupe (4-door coupe) will likely become the new Mazda6, unless Mazda decides to introduce another sedan model at the upper end (Mazda remains the only Japanese manufacturer without a premium offering). A new Mazda6 might come along as early as next year, though North America likely won’t see it until 2019.
Like the Kai, the Vision Coupe uses the evolution of the Kodo design language, which seems to have been pressed from a single hunk of metal. The latest curves impart a sense of movement from its chiselled panels that at a glance look like your typical front-end ducts and vents, but there’s actually nothing there. It’s safe to assume a production model will need to cut out those contoured bumpers to provide air to brakes and engine, so this may be an exercise to show how a car-body takes shape before engineers get at it.
We might get a bit more information on these concepts in Los Angeles at the end of November, and will probably see closer-to-production versions at the Detroit show in the new year.