Rowan Horncastle05 March 2014

This is the new Mazda 2. Really

Hazumi concept is more than a flash-in-the-pan design study. This is Mazda's new Fiesta rival

This is Mazda’s Hazumi concept, a potential Fiesta-rivalling supermini that, we're told, showcases the company's ‘Kodo’ design language and range of efficiency technologies.

But before you condemn the Halloumi as nothing more than a design study that’s future will extend to nothing more than a Wikipedia page – don’t. This is what the Japanese company with replace the Fiesta-rivaling 2 with very shortly.

Things like those pretty door handles, wing mirrors and fancy interior won’t make it onto the streets early next year. But that sporty, slashy and good-looking body will. Count us interested.

The Hazumi is longer, wider and lower than the current 2: this production version won't be based on Ford's Fiesta platform like the current model.

As you'd expect, it's front-wheel drive, while the concept uses a new 1.5-litre SkyActiv-D diesel engine mated to a six-speed automatic transmission, to achieve under 90g/km CO2. But when it goes on sale, expect small, naturally-aspirated petrol engines to be available too.

“We wanted something that was a bit more sporty and edgy," Mazda’s Chief of Design for European operations, Peter Birtwhistle, told us. "A car that would take Kodo to the younger market."

For such a small car, the Hazumi really carries some presence on the show stand. OK, maybe it's not quite so striking as the toasted Furai, but Birtwhistle reckons it's channelling some of that racecar's nasty edge. And, um, owls.

“We tried to get some prime evil into the front and rear lights,” Mazda’s designer told us. “The rear lights have a graphic of an owl, and we looked at birds of prey and wildcats – something predatory – for inspiration,  in order to toughen it up and look more purposeful.”

Unfortunately that jazzy interior will be less closely reflected when the car reaches production: don’t expect to see the head-up display and posh seats. But driver-focused dials and Mazda's 'MZD Connect' system - as seen on the 2's big brother, the 3 – should be carried over.

Mazda says we should think of the Hazumi like the Takeri and Minagi: concepts that reached the streets with minimal change as the new 6 and CX-5 respectively.

Reckon the production 2 could look as good as its concept?

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