February 07 2018
What does it mean to craft something, rather than simply assembling it? The difference is attention to detail. When Mazda designed the all-new 2017 CX-5 crossover SUV, the goal was to create a crafted interior with a sharp focus on how the driver and passengers perceive comforts and create a unique connection with the vehicle.
To achieve “oneness” between a vehicle and its driver, Mazda engineers were inspired by the Japanese concept of “Jinba Ittai,” or “horse and rider as one.” When a vehicle becomes an extension of the driver, only then is harmony achieved. Providing better control and confidence means every drive is an elevated experience. That’s why every Mazda, from the throttle response and driver-centered cockpits to their agile steering delivers this feeling of Jinba Ittai.
Connecting man to machine is the spirit built into every Mazda. A belief that a car should respect and adapt to its driver’s sensibilities. That’s why every Mazda interior is designed with a driver-centric approach that’s both welcoming and intuitive, with controls and gauges laid out with precision and purpose. And through ceaseless exploration of unconventional ideas, Mazda designers have discovered more ways to make a difference in everyday driving.
“We try to reflect the customer’s taste and hone in on what they’re really needing and wanting, and listen to their voice,” said Mazda designer Teresa Spafford. “You have to start with quality materials. From the metal finishes, to the wood trim, to the suede or leather that people touch, it all has to be high quality.”
A traditional design approach has been to use metal or wood trimmings, but Mazda likes to defy convention. Mazda designers created a combination finished called “Metal Wood,” which expresses a rich, elegant look with a simpler Japanese design aesthetic. It was no easy task — development took over a year and more than 20 prototypes before “Metal Wood” was perfected.
At Mazda, designers and engineers bring this level of meticulous obsession to all their work, relentlessly seeking artistry at every step of the design process.
So while refined materials are the foundation of a pleasing interior design, they’re not the final product. The next stage of crafting a sophisticated interior is the aesthetic.
“You have to look at the shape that you’re putting that material into,” Spafford explained. “You have to make sure that there’s harmony between the material and the shape. I think what we’ve done as a team is to pull together how our materials harmonize and complement our forms.”
The result is an interior that exceeds expectations.
“It’s definitely a feeling of getting more than you wanted, so that you really get a feeling for everything as being more refined and a much more sophisticated taste,” she stated.
In the fiercely competitive crossover SUV marketplace, it’s common for automakers to cut corners to save money. It’s understandable, but it’s not how Mazda does business.
Crafting with a human touch, this physical connection to the product, is critical. Mazda believes this imparts the spirit of each crafstman into every vehicle it makes. You’ll see this expressed in every aspect of Mazda designs. But more importantly, you will feel it.
Originally posted on Inside Mazda