The likes of the Kia Sportage SUV crossover have been a huge success in the UK in the past 12 months, and Mazda is the latest manufacturer to design a car for the smaller end of the SUV segment.
Smaller than the current CX-7, the Minagi is expected to be named the CX-5 when it is released as a full production model in 2012.
The concept is designed using Mazda’s new ‘Kodo’ language, which translates as ‘soul of design’. Designed for the city, the car is attractive and low-slung with chunky wheel arches and a prominent front end.
Much of the design is expected to make it onto a final version of the Minagi as Mazda aims to create a desirable head-turner to compete with the much-lauded Sportage.
The emphasis will also be on environmental impact. The new chassis is made from lightweight materials and the aerodynamic shape helps to improve fuel economy.
The Minagi will also be one of the first new models in Mazda’s line-up to feature its new SKYACTIV technology. The name applies to new petrol and diesel engines and the automatic and manual transmissions they are offered with.
Official figures have not been released, but the engines are expected to lower CO2 emissions, improve fuel economy and deliver similar power to larger engines.
Mazda is hailing the technology as a breakthrough for combustion cars, and hopes to introduce the engines to the rest of its range in future.
The Minagi concept will appear for the first time at the Geneva Motor Show in March alongside the Shinari design concept, the dramatically-shaped coupe which was the first to showcase the new Kodo design language.