NY Auto Show: Mazda Minagi stands out among compact SUVs

There are a lot of pretty concept cars at the New York International Auto Show this week, but the Mazda Minagi has an odd allure to it that I can’t explain. It’s compact SUV design is production-ready and fairly practical, but its paint job stands out from the crowd. These pictures only hint at it, but the Minagi practically glows. If it is within sight, it will catch your eye.

Mazda says the Minagi is just a taste of its upcoming vehicles, using its KODO design. Supposedly, Mazda looked at the cheetah to come up with the design of the Minagi.

“A cheetah’s head is positioned high, while long, powerful and supple limbs hold its lean torso upright to enable it to change direction quickly at high speed,” reads a Mazda press release. “When visualizing how the animal hunts, Mazda designers set out to evoke the moment when the animal contracts its muscles, ready to sprint and lunge at its prey. Furthermore, such a lunge can be in any direction; an idea which fits with the function of an agile compact SUV as it quickly yet gracefully maneuvers through a sprawling cityscape.”

The new car uses Mazda’s new Skyactive technology, which helps the internal combustion engine achieve 30 percent better mileage (40 mpg range) than its previous lineup. The tech looks to find efficiency gains in the transmission, engine, and from lighter components in the body and chassis. This is a better approach, Mazda argues, than diving neck-deep into electric car development.