Mazda’s Hakaze Concept Glides Into NYIAS

In Japanese, the word Hakaze comes from “ha” for “leaf” and “kaze” which means “wind,” a fitting combination for a vehicle that looks like it is effortlessly cutting through the air while standing still. Mazda Hakaze has very compact proportions. At 174 inches, it is roughly the same length as the Mazda3 hatchback – which ensures agile, sporty handling – but is wider (74.4 inches, + 5.3 inches), and taller (61.4 inches, + 3.7 inches) with a high seating position, a very large glass area and large suspension travel, all attributes usually associated with a C-segment SUV.

The design team took inspiration from sports and outdoor activities in the wind or in the water, giving the sensation of being free. The team looked at sports like kite-surfing, flying, diving, driving personal watercraft or a motorcycle. They looked for shapes molded by natural elements – how the wind shapes the sand is a key element in the exterior design of the Hakaze.

Hakaze’s exterior forms are combined with colors, materials and surface treatment that also express Nagare flow. A desert image is the source for its golden color, reminiscent of a desert at sunset.

The natural look to the exterior surface was further underscored by employing a “flop” technique in the color treatment of all panels that are bent at an angle to form two sections with a smooth edge between them. The paint used for such panels was designed to give the upper part of the panel a more transparent feel, which is created by a transparent layer over the color. Then the color “flops” over towards a darker impression below the edge, an effect achieved by additives to the paint and by a slightly different use of particles in the paint. The final effect is similar to a sand dune or a wave in sand, which is lighter above and darker below.

Hakaze was designed to show how a possible future C-segment crossover would meet emerging lifestyles trends, and no other trend sport is as perfect a fit as kite-surfing, the latest big crossover sport. It is designed for typical surfer flexibility.

The interior of the Hakaze is a triumph of form, texture and functionality. Its two large, pop-up doors are keyless, one-touch and give a wide opening into one of its four bucket seats. Once inside, Hakaze’s interior gives an intense open feeling, even with the roof up. The windscreen extends to behind the front occupants, creating an enormous viewing angle. The A-pillar dives into the instrument panel just in front of the door, making this feeling even stronger.

The interior design, and especially the instrument panel, is asymmetrical with a strong focus on the driver. The wrap-around cockpit features a long steering unit that gives a feeling of sportiness and depth. It has orange-lit meters on each side of the steering wheel and in the center of the steering column is an LCD screen with navigation information, images from the car’s rear view and side cameras and warning indicators, all of which give an enhanced feeling of control to the driver. The center of the steering wheel is fixed, only the rim and the lower arm can rotate.

There are also unique sliding controls to the right of the driver on the center console, which follow the three illuminated lines in the surface. These lines have a dune wave design to make it easy for the driver to slide their finger up or down along the surface. Doing so adjusts seat positions, heating, audio and multimedia devices, with light below the surface moving up or down with the finger. The wave strip furthest from the driver has the controls for the car’s hard disc drive multimedia system and an LCD screen that electrically rises up and out of the dashboard surface on the passenger side. This screen can be turned by hand so the driver can also see it when the car is parked.

Data can be transferred to and from the car’s computer with a personal “data shell,” which is a further development of the USB stick concept used on the Mazda Sassou design car.

Hakaze also has a wireless charging pad located in the glove box (also using Bluetooth®) to recharge the batteries of a mobile phone, PDA, camera or MP3 player. This insightful solution does away with annoying cables, and keeps the device out of view and safe while it recharges automatically.

The Hakaze design concept has been conceived to be equipped with either a powerful DISI* gasoline engine or a diesel engine. The MZR 2.3-litre DISI gasoline engine is a high-performance turbocharged engine with direct injection that is coupled to Mazda’s active torque-split all-wheel drive transmission. This is Mazda’s latest MZR powertrain technology and is an ideal match to the adventurous and fun nature of Hakaze. It delivers high torque and power, 6-speed sport automatic transmission and beach-ready four-wheel drive traction.

Photo Gallery: Mazda Hakaze Concept Pictures

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