Mazda MX Sport Runabout Concept

Mazda will unveil its brand DNA and a design philosophy in small car concept form at the Geneva Motor Show on Tuesday March 5. The world premiere of the Mazda MX Sport Runabout demonstrates the standards Mazda aims to achieve in small car lifestyle packaging and class-leading driving dynamics.

Through Mazda's new brand-driven direction, the eye-catching MX-Sport Runabout cleverly combines distinctive design, exceptional functionality and outstanding performance and handling, in-line with the attributes already incorporated in the highly-praised Mazda6 range and set to appear in all future production models.

Mazda MX Sport Runabout proposes a new standard in the class, superbly combining athletic styling and innovative interior quality with excellent packaging, dynamic performance, class-leading handling and ride comfort.

2002 Mazda MX Sport Runabout Concept Front Angle

The interior is a lifestyle environment with quality levels that are exceptional in this market segment and through clever packaging, the five-door MX Sport Runabout delivers maximum space and flexibility within compact overall dimensions, providing an outstanding blend of comfort, functionality and top-level safety.

In creating the MX Sport Runabout, Mazda ensured that it meets and exceeds customer requirements in terms of its ease-of-use and flexibility to suit active lifestyles.

Even though the compact body measures just 3,900mm in overall length and is just 1,720mm wide, the 2,500mm wheelbase provides the passenger room and storage space of a much larger car - allowing four adults to travel in complete comfort. The remarkable roominess and open, airy feeling is enhanced by a large glass area and a body height of 1,550mm.

In designing the MX Sport Runabout, Mazda has taken careful note of the widespread praise it has received from Demio customers, who appreciate being able to load two mountain bikes after folding the rear seat. As a result, this latest concept model is designed with the same capability thanks to a non-protruding suspension tower design and a one-touch rear seat folding mechanism - as well as a low load height and a host of other neat solutions to stowage requirements.

To deliver an optimum mix of outstanding performance, economy and environmental friendliness, the MX Sport Runabout is powered by a newly-developed, state-of-the-art petrol engine. The 1.5-litre in-line four-cylinder DOHC S-VT unit is mated to a four-speed automatic transmission.

Mazda Head of Design, Moray Callum explained: "The challenge on the exterior of the MX Sport Runabout has been to create the right balance of emotional Mazda design and the visual communication of its world-class package.

"This has been achieved by graphically emphasising the cabin area while maintaining the surface language, which is recognisably Mazda; the result is a design that is highly efficient and full of character. The short overhangs and the emphasis on the wheel relationship to the body, expressing the sense of stability expected in a Mazda, enhance the overall stance of the vehicle.

"With the interior, we have given the occupants an atmosphere where they can literally 'feel at home'. Using architectural design principles, the interior emphasises the efficient use of space, at the same time expressing comfort and an inviting atmosphere. This is achieved through a careful balance of form, materials, textures and colours.

"The interior has all the expected and required functions of a modern family car - however, they have been integrated with an emphasis on familiarity to what the customer uses everyday at home, such as the influence of modern audio units on the centre panel."

The MX Sport Runabout is instantly recognizable as a Mazda by the 'family face' with its five-point grille and distinctive light cluster design, which echoes that of the Mazda6.

With large-diameter wheels positioned well into the corners of the body, the MX Sport Runabout conveys a clear sense of stability, while a newly-developed suspension system provides a careful balance between ride comfort and secure handling.

To reflect the fun-to-drive message of the MX Sport Runabout, the concept model's bodywork is finished in bright and distinctive yamabuki orange while the light beige upholstery and interior trim with chocolate lowlights enhances the light, open feel of the interior.

Mazda President Mark Fields commented: "We've shown the exciting way forward for Mazda with our stunning range of midsize Mazda6 models. Now, with the MX Sport Runabout, we are showing how the distinctive styling, outstanding functionality and fun-to-drive dynamics transfer to the small car segment.

Source: Mazda

Gallery: Mazda MX Sport Runabout Concept (2002)