Mazda Hakaze: the lowdown
Mazda claims to have reinvented the 4x4 with this new banana-coloured Hakaze concept at the Geneva Motor Show next month. It's a crossover with a twist, mixing the best bits of coupes, roadsters and SUVs, apparently. It's also, worryingly, designed to appeal to a very definite demographic: kite surfers aged between 30 and 40. Sounds like your usual concept claptrap, then... The Hakaze is the third in a series of concept cars honed by Mazda design chief, Laurens van den Acker. Along with the Nagare and Ryuga, the Hakaze defines a new look for the Mazda, inspired by natural flow lines. Think waves, and the shape of wind-blown sand dunes. Hmm.
Sounds like another crazy concept car with zero chance of making it to the showroom...
Well, Mazda says that the European-designed Hakaze signals an interest in a 'future compact crossover vehicle'. It's desperate to launch a smaller SUV under the CX-7, since its market research shows that compact 4x4s are going to soar in popularity over the next decade. So strip away the kite-surfing addendum (there's a storage box for your surfboard and a camera to record your mates' 'radical' moves) and show-off concept details (20-inch wheels and sand-proof switchgear), and you're left with a C-segment sized SUV which stretches to a modest 4420mm long. There's no B-pillar and the glass roof lifts out and stores in a compartment in the rear bumper, so when you lower the four frameless windows, you can watch your mates kitesurfing on the beach.
Enough concept car madness... Is the Hakaze a runner?
You probably won't be late to your kite-surfing lessons, because the Hakaze runs the 2.3-litre petrol turbo engine from the 6 MPS; that means that you can expect an output of around 260bhp, driving all four wheels. Despite all the mad show-car details, it seems that the Hakaze could be a rare Mazda concept car destined for a showroom near you. Company officials promise this concept is merely a titillating concept, but there are encouraging noises suggesting something like this could make production. Watch this space.