8 months with a Renault Clio

Top Car's Wayne Batty says goodbye to his Renault Clio. It’s not a soppy farewell but the little 'automatique' did its maker proud.

Kia's trendy family pick

Wheels24's Janine Van der Post experiences the upcoming Cerato.

Mazda SUV aims at BMW X3

2004-12-15 10:08

The new car represents a new direction Mazda is considering as it works to expand its line-up of successful new-generation products.

The MX-Crossport was designed at Mazda?s main design studio in Hiroshima; it is a crossover-type vehicle that combines the strong, sports car styling motif of the company?s flagship RX-8 with the more practical packaging of a sport-utility vehicle.

At 4 630mm long the MX-Crossport is compact, agile and relatively small compared to other key products in the crossover segment.

The design is highlighted by a low and wide exterior measuring 1 930mm wide, with short front-and-rear overhangs and a relatively long wheelbase of 2 795mm.

The tyres are relatively large as well, measuring 275/45R-20. At an overall height of 1 630mm the MX-Crossport is comparatively low in structure to the traditional small SUV-type vehicles.

The design also features a cabin that three-dimensionally narrows towards the rear of the vehicle, working in harmony with the narrowing window graphic.

Wheel design

The strong rear wheel arches compliment the aggressive five-spoke wheels, which are based on a design first used by Mazda nearly a decade ago on the Koizumi-designed RX-01, a precursor to the current Mazda RX-8.

The exterior colour -a newly created colour called "K2 Red" -is another important detail in completing the exterior design of the concept.

The colour is said to be reflective of the famous red earth of Utah?s Monument Valley in the United States.

Like the flagship Mazda RX-8, the MX-Crossport features four buckets seats - it is more sports car than family car.

When viewed from the outside, the seems small and compact, but special design measures were taken to create an interior space that is both roomy in size and modern in appearance.

Key to delivering the feeling of room and space are the "floating" seats; each seat is fastened to the floor with a single, centre-mounted post and adjustable via a "monorail" system mounted in the floor.

With generous amounts of top-quality, semi-aniline leather, a black mesh highlight line running down the centre, and integrated safety belts, the seats present a modern and sporty image.

High tech

Further emphasising the high tech image, as well as adding an extra visual pleasure for the rear seat passengers, the back of the front seats are aluminium and acrylic, with the mechanism of the safety belts clearly visible, not unlike the back of a high-class, mechanical wristwatch.

From the driver?s seat the view is pure Mazda RX-8, with a three-dial instrument cluster and a thick three-spoke steering wheel.

The cockpit-type driver?s area is defined by a small instrument hood placed just in front of a large "roof" that stretches across the entire instrumental panel -called a "double roof" - at base of the windshield.

The ceiling of the MX-Crossport is made up almost entirely of glass which adds to the open, airy feeling of the interior. This large variable-mist glass roof can be operated to change from clear to translucent white and back again instantly.

Left, strong rear styling The ceiling of the cabin also features a neatly integrated and highly flexible overhead console running the length of the vehicle and is able to accommodate various attachments such as rear entertainment display and a range of additional storage compartments.

The MX-Crossport features an advanced, multi-use information display and entertainment system that is designed to be intuitive and easy to use. T

Display system

The "Three Panel Display" system brings together three important features - a hemispherical monitor which can be used as a touch panel (called the "handling panel") mounted above the centre console, just to the right of the steering wheel; a second "status monitor" mounted above the handling panel; and a third "entertainment monitor" to the right, mounted immediately ahead of the front passenger.

A number of unique, high-quality features with a touch of innovation are incorporated throughout the MX-Crossport?s interior.

The gearshift lever, for example, features two distinct positions for the two drive modes -automatic and manual.

In automatic mode, the gearshift is tilted forward to lie nearly flat on the centre console and gears (reverse, drive, park, etc) can be chosen with the simple push of a button on the topside of the gearshift lever.

For manual mode, the gearshift can be lifted to stand upright and can then be used as a plus/minus lever to manually select gears while driving.

A power-retractable tonneau cover neatly covers the rear storage area, which features ample space for approximately three golf bags behind the rear seats.

While Mazda has not yet officially confirmed a production model based on the MX-Crossport, the company has clearly stated that it intends to expand its line of new-generation "Zoom-Zoom" products for the North American market and beyond.

The MX-Crossport is an important step forward in the process.


Inside Wheels24

Take a virtual tour of the McLaren 570S in SA

Want to experience what it's like to be behind the wheel of a 419kW sports car? Take a virtual tour of the McLaren 570S in our interactive Snapchat video filmed in SA.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.