Mazda were at this year’s Tokyo Motor Show ready to wow with a number of developments announced on existing models as well as concept cars to expand the Mazda fleet. Mazda enthusiasts weren’t disappointed with the results. The team at Western Mazda have provided a write up from the event on what was worth taking a closer look at…

Vision Concept

Expected to replace the Mazda 6 in 2020, the Vision Coupe is a thing of beauty boasting sleek, elegant and smooth lines throughout. Utilising Mazda’s Kodo design language, the Vision is a clear evolution of previous Mazda design but still retains everything we love about the current Mazda fleet. The confident Vision Concept is only a concept but from what was seen at Tokyo, this is a car to be noticed.
The long stretching bonnet, expansive windscreen but low profile windows make the Vision a Japanese take on the Aston Martin. The front grill is unmistakably Mazda, but the concept bodywork and cabin shape suggest a development of design where a smooth curvature is favoured over the strong but slightly rounded lines on the likes of the new MX-5. It wasn’t a surprise to learn that the car was inspired by the Sori – the practically straight curve on a samurai blade. There is no doubt that the Vision Concept is visually breath-taking and one of the most exciting concept cars out there at the moment.

Kai Concept

Mazda also revealed their four door concept car likely to replace the current Mazda 3 as early as 2019. Mazda believe the new concept to be “sporty and mature” – an upgrade upon the “juvenile and fresh” current model. Again, the car is unmistakably Mazda throughout but what Mazda has changed, has only been for the better.

The Kai, like the Vision, has the same smoothly curving and long bonnet with a similar natural curvature across the bodywork. However, where the Kai differs is undoubtedly at the rear. The Kai takes a more abrupt and sportier end with a small rear end that looks like it’s more at home in a small SUV rather than a hatchback.

Interestingly, the interior of the Kai looked entirely realistic and ready for mass market. Mazda have retained actual dials rather than following the latest trend for expensive “virtual cockpit” TFT displays. The instrument array is relatively straight forward and ergonomic and Mazda have even played about with the introduction of heads-up display. If there’s anything mildly irritating about the car is the lack of a middle seat, but one would expect such an addition is likely ahead of an official launch.

What however was most interesting from the event was the suggestion by Mazda that the Kai could see the return of the rotary engine (previously dropped back in 2012). Mazda revealed that the rotary “Wankel” engine will kick in when electric batteries are depleted on their new range of hybrids.

Mazda have dismissed concerns that killed the original rotary engine and have been keen to push the fact that the rotary engine will make it the perfect candidate for boost mileage on electric cars due to its lightweight and small design. We suspect that the rotary engine won’t play a primary role in the car, but rather will work to keep charging the battery. This is sure to be interesting to see how it plays out as the only real failing of the original rotary engine was that it failed to meet CO2 emissions levels and was a bit of an oil guzzler.