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27/10/2017 774

Mazda - Kai Concept

Mazda KAI CONCEPT, the compact hatchback that sets the stage for the future of the Mazda brand

The Mazda KAI CONCEPT compact hatchback makes its world premiere at the Tokyo Motor Show. In pursuit of representing the ideal vehicle powered by an internal combustion engine, the KAI CONCEPT skillfully blends Mazda’s breakthrough next-generation technologies with next-generation design. The KAI CONCEPT embodies Mazda’s goal of being a brand that forms a strong bond with customers and becomes an indispensable part of their lives, and its commitment to continue making cars that exceed customer expectations.

The powertrain selected for the KAI CONCEPT is the SKYACTIV-X, Mazda’s next-generation engine that introduces an innovative combustion method called Spark Controlled Compression Ignition (SPCCI). SKYACTIV-X is set to become the world’s first1 commercial gasoline engine to use compression ignition. Also adopted is Mazda’s next-generation SKYACTIV-VEHICLE ARCHITECTURE, which maximizes the human body’s inherent abilities and realizes the ultimate connection between driver and car. Combined with the SKYACTIV-X engine, it delivers highly refined driving dynamics in every respect, from the performance feel and comfort, to the quietness of the ride.

The design features deeply honed beauty created by shaving away all unnecessary elements to produce a hatchback that presents itself as a strong, solid mass. As an artistic expression embodying Japanese aesthetics, Mazda has condensed the latest iteration of KODO design into a compact car. What results is a car that depicts Mazda’s ideal hatchback proportions.

The name “KAI” literally means “the pioneer.” Mazda chose the name in hopes the KAI CONCEPT will set the stage for the next generation.

1 - As of August 2017. According to in-house investigations.

Creating allure that stirs the instincts — a new challenge in hatchback design

People worldwide love hatchbacks for the great value they offer, including features such as highly practical packaging. Mazda set its sights on bringing the brand’s unique value to the universal presence and tradition of the hatchback. Specifically, Mazda decided to take on a new hatchback challenge through the application of evolved KODO design. The goal was to create an alluring hatchback that differs from all that have come before to win hearts and stir people’s instincts. The Mazda KAI CONCEPT is born of this wish as a model that, standing unfettered by conventional concepts or stereotypes, represents the ideal hatchback form in its simplicity and beauty.

One goal of the design team was to achieve proportions that realize a condensed presentation of power and beauty. They then took on the challenge to create new styling that presents the body and cabin as a single solid mass. The result is a bold expression with a whole new twist that accentuates characteristic hatchback solidity and presence along with an overwhelmingly powerful stance.

The body design does away with character lines and instead adopts boldly punctuated surfaces with constantly changing reflections that create a lively, emotional expression. While featuring a simple form, this design exhibits beauty that causes the viewer to stand and stare in admiration, much as when viewing a fine work of art. The key to achieving this and to evolved KODO design on the whole is the concept of “less is more.” It calls for intentionally eliminating unessential elements to generate richness in the resulting blank spaces. The bold yet subtly detailed body side panels were crafted at the hands of Mazda’s highly skilled clay modellers, and finely controlled transitions between light and shadow create a rich sense of vitality. This is the primary feature of the KAI CONCEPT design.

The front face further evolves the three-dimensional depth and deeply sculpted features characteristic of KODO design. The KAI CONCEPT’s signature wing combines with the deep luster of the dark metallic finish to emphasize the mature, sporty nature that befits a hatchback.

A cabin environment that hones the Jinba Ittai connection between car and driver

The interior design establishes a connection between driver and car with a natural-feeling environment that gently embraces cabin occupants without feeling overly restrictive. This embodiment of the “less is more” ideal further refines the Jinba Ittai experience Mazda is constantly working to achieve.

Appointments such as the instrument panel, door trim and centre console are designed to leave open spaces between them. They intersect in a manner that instills a feeling of longitudinal direction and speed that runs throughout the cabin. Every aspect of the cockpit design features perfect horizontal symmetry, while also placing the three-meter cluster and ventilation louvers directly in front of the driver.

The driver is constantly aware of this single driver-centred axis through the cockpit zone and the feeling of being comfortably embraced in a manner that strengthens the connection with the car and creates a sense of communicating with it. In keeping with this theme, bright red accents subtly placed on the door trim and floor console help express the active nature that befits a hatchback and the fun of the Mazda KAI CONCEPT’s agile dynamic characteristics.

Mazda KAI CONCEPT major specifications

Seating capacity

4 persons

Overall length x width x height

4,420mm x 1,855mm x 1,375mm






Front engine, front-wheel drive


Front:245/35R20 / Rear:245/35R20

Rim width

Front:9.0J / Rear:9.0J





2017  Tokyo
2018  Geneva


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