Mazda Washu Concept
The Mazda Washu is an innovative six-seat concept that presents a new genre of vehicles. It is well proportioned and features Mazda's product DNA in every aspect of the vehicle. Low and sleek, the six-seat concept also works to tear down the barriers that traditionally separate sports cars and family cars.
Mazda Washu means "Eagle's Wing" in Japanese. The vehicle's design was based on the image of an eagle soaring swiftly through the air - a concept particularly evident in the unique doors. The Mazda Washu is an attempt to express the excitement of "Zoom-Zoom" through the proportions of a vehicle.
Modern proportions combined with the wide, low-slung layout are applied to the exterior. The beltline extends slightly outward to provide a sense of enhanced interior spaciousness, while the glass area is maximized by reaching upward to the roof to provide an open, airy feeling in the cabin. The roof also incorporates extensive glass area to further enhance the spacious feeling. The exterior design has been evolved through an elimination of side mirrors and the use of sleek LED headlamps. In addition, the LED headlamps are equipped with an Automatic Focusing System (AFS) linked to the vehicle's steering mechanism. This system enhances visibility while cornering at night by adjusting the direction of the light as the vehicles steers through a corner.
The "airplane doors" first open outward and then slide rearward. With the sliding door fully extended, the doors provide an opening that measures 1,100mm across, with an additional 400-mm opening in the roof section. This allows passengers to enter the vehicle in an almost upright position, making it dramatically easier.
The Washu concept benefits from a low, flat floor and long wheelbase, both of which help to maximize interior space. The seats in the Washu are captain's chairs and can be arranged in a flexible manner to accommodate a variety of passenger and cargo-carrying chores. The middle pair of seats is electrically powered and can be independently moved fore-and-aft a full 645mm. The seats can also slide to the side to allow easier access to the rearmost seats.
Eliminating the need for a traditional steering shaft, steer-by-wire technology also makes it possible to neatly store the steering wheel inside the instrument panel when the vehicle is parked. Further, the adjustable instrument panel makes access to the front of the car more convenient, as it can be moved upward a full 300mm - and steering wheel stowed - making getting in or out of the front seats particularly easy. In addition to this, from the stowed position, an ID card is used to automatically deploy the instrument panel and steering wheel into the driving position.