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Hazumi concept is expected to form the basis of the Mazda2 replacement.(Headlineauto)

Mazda Hazumi B-segment concept previews Mazda2

Since the 2011 Mazda Minagi concept closely resembled the production CX-5 that followed, and the Takeri Concept that appeared at the Tokyo Motor Show that year gave rise to the Mazda6 production model, it is hardly surprising that the Hazumi concept revealed at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show was widely expected to pave the way for the production Mazda2 replacement.

“Hazumi is indicating where we are going with our look at the B-segment, which of course in our case is the Mazda2”, Mazda Europe Chief Designer Peter Birtwhistle told Automotive Engineering

The “Kodo” design language used for the CX-5, Mazda6, and more recently the Mazda3 applies distinctive design to a conventional layout using conventional materials. Hazumi is a five-door hatchback design with short overhangs front and rear.

Mazda’s Skyactiv technologies are designed to optimize efficiency through design, ensuring that weight is reduced and aerodynamics improved. The company has not provided a drag coefficient for the design, but claims that airflow is optimized over the upper body and under-body surfaces have been designed to minimize turbulence.

 “It had to link closely to where we want to go in that segment,” said Mr Birtwhistle, “So generally, the proportion, the layout is what is coming.

“The link between it and probably the Mazda3 are closest in terms of the body language, so we have quite an expressive movement in the side of the car, with these lines that run down rear to front. Where they intersect is part of the Kodo body language. It’s quite difficult in a small car because you obviously don’t have the playground that you have on a larger car, so that’s why it has to be more playful in a way, not so graceful as we could do on the 6.”

“I think at the rear end, the basic design has some links with the present production car—the high rear lamps. At the front end, we’re just continuing this message with the five-point grille with this embellishment that goes up and links to the headlamps—the signature wing. We’re just trying to get front ends that are a little more expressive and have a stronger message than just a kind of black hole.”

It is unusual to find a head-up display in a model this size, but the Hazumi features one. Birtwhistle lists the three most important pieces of information for the driver as speed, fuel, and navigation. Information relating to these is shown in the headup display.

A touchscreen in the center of the dashboard handles the infotainment system and navigation. Birtwhistle has reservations about touchscreens for automotive use, “I don’t find them to be so good a solution when you’re driving a car. Our operation with a “commander and enter” is quite intuitive.

“I have a very basic mantra when it comes to car design. The key thing for me is the balance and proportion, especially when you look at it from the side. Does it sit on the wheels right? Do you feel comfortable with the way it is? For me these are core disciplines before you even worry about design of lamps and details.”

Mazda also used the Hazumi concept to introduce a new small diesel engine, needed in Europe to compliment the company’s 2.2-L four-cylinder diesel, which produces between 150 and 185 hp (112 and 138 kW) and is used in the Mazda3, Mazda6, and CX-5.

Mazda did not reveal much detail about the new engine beyond the displacement, but it is likely that the company uses similar technologies to the larger diesel. This includes the i-stop stop-start system and i-ELOOP energy recovery system.

Like the larger engine, Mazda claims that it can reach Euro 6 emissions limits without using exhaust aftertreatment such as a NOx trap or selective catalytic reduction. The company claims carbon dioxide emissions of less than 90 g/km. While that is fairly normal for small European diesels today, the Hazumi concept is equipped with a conventional torque converter six-speed automatic transmission from Mazda’s Skyactiv-Drive range.

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