Mazda CX-7: design story

Production Cars 28 Jun 2007
Mazda CX-7: design story

Mazda has released an official document that describes the design process behind the CX-7, the sporty crossover created under the direction of Chief Designer Iwao Koizumi that will be launched in Europe on August 2007.


From the official Press Release:

Mazda CX-7When Mazda presented the MX-Crossport concept car at the 2005 Detroit Motor Show, feedback was so positive that the design team, under the direction of Chief Designer Iwao Koizumi, went to work almost immediately to build a production version – the Mazda CX-7.

Chief Designer Iwao Koizumi, whose previous works include the Mazda6 and the 1995 RX-01 showcar, names the Mazda CX-7 design theme, “advanced frontier”.

The CX-7 takes Mazda to a whole new area of the automotive market.

One personal experience that Koizumi-San used to develop his design from a global perspective was his first encounter with European sports cars.

Mazda Chief Designer Iwao Koizumi“I have a memory from when I was a boy, not quite ten years old. I saw the 1967 Le Mans 24-hour endurance race and I remember being rooted to the spot as a Ferrari P4, Porsche Carrera 10 and Ford GT40 Mk. IV came round the track in a dead heat.

"When I became old enough to drive, that amazement grew into respect for the European car culture.

"This feeling is infused into the Zoom-Zoom ethos I bring to designing cars now.”

The CX-7 development concept was to deliver a “Sport Crossover SUV,” so the team began by consolidating the definition and image of a sports car.

Koizumi had the young designers get together and think about all the design themes that make a person feel “this is a sports car.”

Mazda CX-7 Mazda CX-7

Mazda CX-7It is interesting tonote that the images produced by the young designers clearly drew a lot of influence from Europe, where there is a well-known and enduring sports car tradition. Needless to say, there are so many genres and conventions that the image of a sports car can vary greatly from person to person.

“I believe that through our research we managed to come up with a universal definition of a
sports car” adds Koizumi, “that would be loved by drivers around the world. I believe this is deeply connected to the successful design of the CX-7.”

The resulting combination of form and design languagetransforms the CX-7’s larger proportions using a host of features to signify its sporty credentials.

The 66-degree rake angle of the windshield is sleeker than many SUVs and even sports cars.

Distinct character lines run through the A-pillars along the edges of the hood to the front fascia. A five-pointed grille and prominent front fenders reveal a clear Mazda family identity.

Mazda CX-7 - Side viewThe side profile sports an aggressively rising belt line, a curved roof and prominent wheel arches, producing Mazda’s unique signature.

A tapered cabin rests securely on the lower body’s broad shoulders. From the rear, the detailed round motif tail lamp and large dual exhaust outlets also emphasise the sportscar styling.

Iwao Koizumi comments: “My idea for the Mazda CX-7 design was to combine dynamic movement, speedy shapes, and a bold presence in one passionate statement. Mazda has such a strong sportscar heritage that it can offer a crossover SUV with an exceptionally lively and distinctive appearance.”

Its A-pillar is steeply angled and flows seamlessly into the roof line, which then breaks downward relatively early, over the B-pillar, to slope into the D-pillar and short rear end with spoiler.

Mazda CX-7 - Body in whiteOther sporty design cues include a kick-up beltline and deep character lines over the bonnet, which are placed slightly inward to make room for muscular front fenders.

At the rear, round elements (lamps and large tailpipes) that have been praised for three decades on Italian sports cars are also included.

Beneath the vehicle, ribbed covers attached to the centre under-floor area are especially helpful in optimising the aerodynamics of the airflow.

Interior Design

Mazda CX-7 - Interior DesignMazda CX-7’s interior design also features sports car appeal, created in part by touches like a speedometer scaled to 240 km/h, a leather steering wheel and shift knob.

The driving position, with a wrap around cockpit and a high mounted gear shift, was inspired by studies of modern European sports car interiors.

Design, then, contributes much to making Mazda CX-7 the “sports crossover SUV.”

It combines the timeless appeal of European sports car design – it wears its athletic suit of clothes with the same fashionable sophistication as the Mazda RX-8 icon with its large mouth, eyes and powerful shoulders – with the interior roominess, comfort and quality of an SUV.

Mazda CX-7 - Interior Design Mazda CX-7 - Interior Design

(Source: Mazda)

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