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[YesAuto Design Decoding] Some people say that Volkswagen has only one car-Golf. After being stretched, widened, heightened and rounded, different types of Volkswagen cars are derived; some people say that the difference between BMW X5 and X6 is only the car. The top curve; it is also said that the Mazda CX-4 that was unveiled at the Beijing Auto Show is “skinned” from the CX-5. Does the development of a new model sound so simple? How do manufacturers build a “coupe SUV”? Let's talk about the development story of CX-4.

What is “Coupe SUV”?

When you are struggling to define whether a car is a sedan or an SUV, you can generally call it a “coupe SUV”. That's right, Mazda CX-4 is such a new product that combines the characteristics of a sedan and an SUV model. The body shape is more inclined to a sporty sedan design, which completely abandons the toughness of the SUV model.

We know that Mazda is not the first manufacturer to introduce the concept of “coupe SUV” to the table. Before Mazda, BMW X6, X4, Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe, GLE Coupe, etc. have set such a vane, and even at the Beijing Auto Show this year. The brand manufacturer Kai Chen also launched its own “Coupe SUV”-Kai Chen T90.

Why do manufacturers such as Mazda make “coupe SUV”? Nowadays, if we want to buy an SUV model, we have a variety of choices, because the SUV market has become one of the most intense battlefields for manufacturers. Want to break their own path in the chaos, some manufacturers will further segment the market or meet the needs of different users. The launch of the CX-4 is for Mazda to show its brand personality. The group it faces no longer cares about whether the SUV model is big enough and the space is enough. They are a group of young consumers who pursue sports but don't give up the feeling of SUV. Although these young people may not be large enough at present, Mazda believes that they will definitely expand most people's awareness of SUVs in the future.

Where does “Coupe SUV” come from?

Of course, the continued popularity of SUVs in the global market has also stimulated many manufacturers to create popular SUV models. They have entered the SUV market in different ways, even using chassis foundations such as cars or microfacers. Came to evolve an SUV model.

Although we do not have a unified model definition for this type of “cross-border SUV” at this stage, many manufacturers do cross-border SUV models through different platform foundations. Does Mazda CX-4 have its own solid SUV chassis foundation? In other words, is the blood relationship of CX-4 and Mazda 3 Axela closer or closer to Mazda CX-5?

Can a tire expose the life experience of CX-4?

    When it comes to CX-4's life experience, as Mazda's chief design director, Koizumi, who can also be called the “biological father” of CX-4, silently wrote two lines on the paper: “225/65/R17” , “225/55/R19”, these are the two tire sizes of CX-5, and the tire size of CX-4 is currently displayed as “225/55/R19”. When I looked confused, Koizumi marked the number “Φ730”, saying that this is the common tire outer diameter size of CX-4 and CX-5.

The tire outer diameter and suspension jump stroke of a car determine the tire envelope surface (that is, the space occupied when the wheel jumps up and down and turns to the extreme position). The tire envelope surface determines the engine compartment, wheel arch cover, and wing. Sub-board and other body structure, and the size of the engine compartment determines the matching engine model, so that it affects the subsequent chassis and body weight settings and overall layout.

Therefore, for the development and design of the whole vehicle, the design of the tire outer diameter is first determined by engineers and designers. If CX-4 and CX-5 are set to the same tire outer diameter, you can’t be convinced that CX-4 is a newborn with a real SUV basis, then let’s lean down and take a look at the chassis of CX-4 and CX-5. Can tell us what.

Maybe we don’t agree with the Mazda designer’s theory that the CX-4 is derived from the basis of the SUV based on the tire outer diameter, but from the comparison of the chassis of CX-4 and CX-5, both of them do use the suspension structure and materials. With a similar design, this basically proves that the Mazda CX-4 is a model with real SUV genes.

How to see the characteristics of CX-4 SUV?

    Earlier, we introduced the CX-4 SUV gene from the perspective of the chassis structure. From the appearance design, how did the styling designer make the CX-4 reflect the style of an SUV?

For designers, the addition of black skirt guards is undoubtedly just a small trick to reflect the style of SUV, and the difficulty is how to subtly integrate the characteristics of the car and the SUV, because they cannot simply make the upper body of this car look like a car. The lower body is like an SUV, and it is more important to incorporate Mazda's own “soul movement” concept.

How does “Coupe SUV” inherit “soul movement”?

In recent years, Mazda’s styling design really shines, and the design language of “soul movement” runs through the various models of the brand. How does the brand new CX-4 inherit this “soul movement” concept? As the chief design director of Mazda, Koizumi explained to us the different expressions of the concept of “soul movement” with a cheetah running posture.

When inheriting the concept of “soul motion” to this CX-4 positioned as a “coupe SUV”, Mazda gave it its own unique sports characteristics. From the early concept map, you can see the body of the CX-4 The posture presents a dive posture, the overall proportion emphasizes the wheel part, and the large-size rim design conveys the strong grip of this car.

How to maintain a unified “soul moving” soul?

As the saying goes, the eyes are the window of the soul, and the car lights are also the focus of expressing the soul of the design, so Mazda starts with the car lights. Generally speaking, different types of headlight technologies are used for vehicles with different configurations, for example, LED headlights, xenon headlights, halogen headlights, etc. will be equipped in order from high to low. Although such a strategy can open up the pricing level of products, headlights built with different technologies will show different looks in cars.

In addition, the size of the headlights of the CX-4 is also relatively small, so I believe that the factors of styling and layout have also made Mazda choose LED technology with more volume advantages.

CX-4's unique “soul moving” details

Compared with other current Mazda models, the CX-4 has detailed changes in the color of the body. The A-pillar of the body has become black, which is more integrated with the front windshield and windows. The purpose of this design is not only to make the CX-4's visual center of gravity lower, but also to reveal the dream of flying into the blue sky in the heart of design director Koizumi.

If you observe carefully, you will find that this black A-pillar is not sprayed with paint, but is directly covered with a black film. Why did Mazda take this “auto parts city model” route when designing the body color? The reason is still limited by cost.

Therefore, Mazda chose a more cost-saving solution, which is to directly paste a black film on the A-pillar of the body. Of course, compared with the ordinary film, it has stronger wear resistance and corrosion resistance.

What technical problems does the “Coupe SUV” continue the concept of “Soul Motion”?

    When the styling designer draws the design sketch of the CX-4, I believe that the engineers responsible for transforming the idea into a real car will have a tight brow, because the designer's goal is that the CX-4 has both the heritage of the SUV model and the inheritance. Dynamic sedan-like lines under the concept of “soul movement”.

We know that for pedestrian safety, this section of longitudinal space is the life buffer zone when it collides with pedestrians. There are also clear requirements in safety regulations. The smaller the space, the lower the safety. So how does Mazda solve this safety hazard?

Flattening the engine compartment also means to innovate the suspension structure , because the reduction of the longitudinal space of the nacelle also affects the travel of the suspension. Compared with the CX-5, the suspension travel of the CX-4 is shorter and shorter. Not only must it be replaced with a new shock absorber, the entire front suspension must be redesigned and developed.

Mazda engineers said that compared to the redesigned front suspension, the rear suspension of the CX-4 is basically not much different from the CX-5, except that the suspension parameters are different. I believe that the self-styled “coupe SUV” “The CX-4 will pay more attention to the sportiness and stability of the vehicle.

The mighty power behind a waistline

The concept of “Soul Motion” reflects Mazda's new design language. The dynamic body lines reveal the improvement of the manufacturing process behind Mazda's factory. Compared with the previous Mazda models, the new generation models such as CX-4 put forward higher stamping dies. Claim.

How to solve the shortcomings of the rear vision?

Although details such as the driver's field of vision may not be a rigid indicator when we buy a car, it still has a great impact on our daily car use. For crossover models or cars with smooth roofs like CX-4, the rear windshield glass is often restricted by size. Regarding this point, as the design director, Koizumi also drew the CX-4 rear windshield design on paper to answer us.

A coup to improve the space in the car

Finally, we walked into the car to take a look at the much-respected rear space in the car. Consumers who are picky about space may not be cold about the “coupe SUV”. In fact, the rear space of the CX-4 is really as they imagine Is it so cramped?

Although the concave treatment of the roof has “dug” out the head space as much as possible for the CX-4, its space is still not comparable to ordinary SUV models due to the limitation of the roof profile. “Fish and bear's paw can't have both.” The space inside the car is a question that Mazda designers will consider after drawing the coupe-like lines.

Summary

In order to gain a share in the fierce SUV market, Mazda has given a unique understanding of SUV models. They believe that sports SUVs will be an important trend in the future, which will meet the individual pursuit of young people, and it will be born. The idea of creating this “coupe SUV” based on the CX-5, although behind this “idea” is to reflect Mazda’s ability to combine design and engineering, and to show that the characteristics of cars and SUVs are integrated into a brand new The development level of the model has allowed designers and engineers to communicate countless times to solve many problems such as engine compartment cover design, interior space, and driver's vision.

The Mazda CX-4 made its global debut at this year's Beijing Auto Show, which is enough to show how much Mazda attaches to the Chinese SUV market. In recent years, FAW Mazda has been gradually surpassed by Changan Mazda. At present, the sales of Atez, Mazda 6, Mazda 8, Ruiyi and CX-7 produced by FAW Mazda are far less than that of Changan Mazda 3 Axela and CX-5. Such as the main model of Changan Mazda. This time FAW Mazda, which has obtained the right to manufacture the CX-4, also has high hopes for this new car, and strives to revive FAW Mazda's previous glory through the CX4. Of course, whether it will take on the heavy task or not will need to wait for further verification by the future market. (Auto House Text/Picture Xia Zhimeng)