Mazda has incorporated some controversial styling into their cars in recent years. The previous design styling, called Nagare, looked great on concept cars like the Furai, but didn’t translate well to production cars like the Mazda 3. I love the 2010 Mazdaspeed 3, but the “stoned guppy grin” of the front end just doesn’t do it for me. Ditto with the new Miata; a smiling, happy face grill does nothing to boost the car’s desirability among heterosexual males, regardless of how well it handles.
Enter the Shinari concept, penned by new head designer Ikuo Maeda as part of “soul of motion” design, called Kodo. The Shinari is an interesting mix of linear design and laminar flow; the front fascia uses a stark, angular design while the front fender reminds me of airflow over a wing. The grille and minimized headlights combine to give the front end a more business-like appearance, and the minimalist styling is carried over to the taillights as well.
Perhaps Maeda’s greatest success with the new design is that I’d immediately recognize it as a Mazda. If this is truly the shape of things to come from Mazda, I say thumbs up, and I can’t wait to see what the next generation RX-7 and MX-5 will look like.