The Mazda Concept That Looks Nothing Like a Mazda

Mazda Shinari concept

Disaster can befall the automaker that changes the look of its cars too drastically.

But on the other hand, a complete redesign of an automaker’s signature look can launch a new era of profitability and respect.

Porsche deciding to re-sculpt the iconic shape of the Boxster or 911? Bad. Chevrolet choosing to modernize the generic Malibu? Really, really good!

Somewhere in the middle lies Mazda, a company that can design both timeless beauty (MX-5 Miata) and utter catastrophe (Mazda3) in a single model year.

A complete redesign for Mazda can only be a good thing. I can think of a few other automakers that should consider revisiting the ol’ design textbooks, too!

Infiniti Essence concept

While there’s no mass re-styling in Mazda’s immediate future, the Shinari concept shown above is a stunning preview of what’s in store. Part Jaguar up front, part Infiniti Essence and Aston Martin Rapide in profile, the concept is a striking and aggressive shift in design from Mazda’s current language of smiling faces and wavy body panels.

The concept made its North American debut at the LA Auto Show, showing off design language that portrays Mazda as an automaker that is serious about driving. While the design treatments such as the long hood and sweeping roofline look incredible on the concept, one does have to wonder how it’ll all translate to a stubby Mazda5. Still, credit must be handed to Mazda for shaking things up with a look that is sure to position the Japanese automaker ahead of its competition.

I would love to see Honda and Toyota grow some cojones and roll out an aggressive new look for the Accord and Camry. Or at least tone down the bloat from the last few years!

While new designs are certainly risky, it’s even riskier to let design get stale. And no one can accuse Mazda of that!

Which other automakers do you think are due for a major change in design?


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