Mazda Kabura Explores an Entry Sporty Coupe
MX-5-Based Concept Introduced in Detroit
Owing more mechanically to the recently launched third-generation Mazda MX-5 (you remember, the sports car formerly known as Miata) convertible than to the RX-8 (which has been expected to spawn a two-door variant), the Kabura concept that introduced at the 2006 North American International Auto Show offers exterior dimensions between the MX-5 and RX-8. The concept explores the idea of an entry-level sports coupe that also offers enough interior space for today’s demanding audiences. While Mazda did not promise the Kabura is scheduled for production, they did indicate that if produced, it would stand as its own model line, alongside MX-5 and RX-8. Vehicle Voice and AutoPacific correspondents were there to take a look.
The Kabura is a two-door, rear-wheel-drive coupe powered by the Miata’s 2.0L four-cylinder engine mated to the six-speed transmission and borrowing suspension setup and components from the Miata. If our recent drive of two versions of the Miata are any indication, the Kabura could be a terrifically fun car to drive, though its larger size and expanded interior utility could increase the vehicle’s weight.
Dramatic Styling for a Strong Coupe Profile
The Kabura is a coupe, but a three-door coupe with a two-part hatchback and has a classic coupe profile. The windshield extends into the roof as far as the B-pillar, allowing for much more light in the interior. The overhead area of the glass incorporates adjustable tinting so the driver can retain control of just how much light is coming in. The hood also incorporated a clear panel, through which one can see the engine. The Kabura offers an aggressive front face and sculpted sides.
The hatch on the Kabura is a two-piece glass unit, which helps visibility. The upper panel lies flush until pivoted up by an electric motor. That panel serves as a roof spoiler and vents the interior, as well as improves rear headroom. (Probably not wise, then, to take rear-seat passengers out on a rainy day!) A solar cell in the panel helps recharge the battery and control ambient interior temperature. The larger section of glass has side hinges, for easy access to the cargo area.
Optimized for Three Passengers, Four is a Squeeze
On the driver’s side, the Kabura offers a traditional door for access to the driver’s seat and rear jump seat. The passenger’s-side, however, is shifted ahead six inches of the driver’s seating position, giving the passenger position behind as much space as the guy in front of him. Mazda carved the space to move the front passenger’s seat forward by eliminated in the glovebox and minimizing the instrument panel. Pity the one who gets stuck in the jump seat behind the driver. This arrangement was chosen from the recognition that owners of two-plus-two coupes most frequently carry only the driver, but when the driver does carry passengers rarely is there a fourth. The setup allows the ability to carry a fourth in a pinch, but two or three much more comfortably.
Though the Kabura offers two doors on the passenger’s side, the second door slides back and out of the way, more similar in concept to a minivan door than a conventional coupe door. The door is opened at the touch of a button, though the front door must be opened first.
The interior materials include an innovative regenerated leather-type material, created by a company called Sustainable Solutions, Inc, and developed from 100-percent post-industrial waste.