[Click to enlarge image]
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Mazda Motor Corp announced a concept model of the "Kai" hatchback equipped with the "Skyactiv-X" next-generation gasoline engine Oct 25, 2017.

The total length of the hatchback, which falls into the C segment, is 4,420mm. It is expected that Mazda will release the Kai in 2019 as the next-generation "Axela."

The concept model was exhibited at Tokyo Motor Show 2017. For the vehicle, Mazda employed not only the new engine but also the "Skyactiv-Vehicle Architecture" next-generation platform (seventh-generation model). It means that, as in the case of the sixth-generation model, the engine and platform will be renovated at the same time.

Mazda President Masamichi Kogai defines the concept car as a "precursor to the next-generation vehicle." He also said that, with a group of the seventh-generation vehicles, the company will evolve from a popularly-priced car maker to realize "Mazda Premium."

The concept car has four seats. Its width, height and wheelbase are 1,855mm, 1,375mm and 2,750mm, respectively. Its exterior design derived from the "RX-Vision" concept car, which Mazda announced at Tokyo Motor Show 2015. The company especially cared how light reflected on the body looks.

For the next-generation gasoline engine, Mazda employed an innovative technology that combusts fuel by compression ignition instead of spark ignition. The company improved its compression ratio to 16, which is equivalent to the compression ratio of a diesel engine, and realized super-lean burn with an air-fuel ratio exceeding 30.

As the next-generation engine, Mazda is currently developing a 2.0L in-line four-cylinder engine, aiming to achieve a maximum output of 140kW and a maximum torque of 230N·m.

Original Japanese article