What Is It?
Mazda Sassou

What’s Special About It?
Although B-cars may not be all the rage in the SUV-lovin’ U.S., the rest of the world is largely enamored with their small size. This morning Mazda unveiled its Sassou concept calling it "a concept for B-car strategy for the future."

The Sassou is a lightweight, three-door hatchback Mazda says is based on Japanese Shoji screens which are so thin they only partially conceal what’s behind them. This design theme is obvious in the Sassou’s front and rear lamps, which are partially hidden behind translucent plastic pieces until the car is unlocked and the lights are illuminated.

The Sassou is intended to carry either three or four passengers, with the rear seat inflating itself down the center to accommodate two passengers, or on both outboard sides to sculpt a single seat in the middle. Rear seats also fold into the floor to create a flat load floor.

A concept targeted to young drivers intrigued by the latest technology, the Sassou uses a USB stick which is inserted in a port in the center console. A joystick then rises to offer the driver control of the car’s functions.

When a feature, such as the stereo, is selected, lights illuminate a path to that item as if blazing a trail to the entertainment. Better yet, the USB can be used at home to download music and other features that can then be uploaded to the Sassou’s hard drive and navigation system.

No powertrain is currently in place, but the Sassou is designed for either a small gas or diesel engine. According to Mazda’s engineers, a 1.0-liter turbocharged three-cylinder mated to a twin-clutch six-speed transmission with steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters would be ideal.

Romain Boudre
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