Mazda’s next generation of cars are pillared by two aspects – SkyActiv technologies and its new Kodo design language. The Hiroshima based carmaker has shown a compact crossover SUV at Geneva that combines the both.

After the Shinari of Paris 2010, Minagi is the second concept to show Mazda’s new Kodo design language. Kodo, which translates to “soul of motion”, is led by new design chief Ikuo Maeda, who replaced Laurens van den Acker, the man who introduced the Nagare design seen on the brand’s current range.

Mazda says that while the Shinari was a pure design concept to express the full potential of Kodo, the Minagi showcases characteristics likely to be seen in its next generation of cars.

To come up with Minagi, Mazda designers looked at different aspects of cheetahs as they hunt. They then set out to capture the moment when the cheetah contracts its muscles, gets ready to sprint and lunge at its prey. “I felt a compact crossover SUV was the perfect vehicle to express agility and focused movement; the flexibility of four limbs moving in unison, and an upright posture,” explains Masashi Nakayama, Chief Designer of the Minagi.

From the front, the chromed ‘signature wing’ that spears the headlamps is shared with the Shinari and is part of the new Mazda identity. Dynamic contours on the front fenders that directs the eyes to the wheels are also Mazda trademarks that can be found here. The flowing sculpted lines on the Minagi’s side are likened to a cheetah’s muscles by the designers.

Take away the obvious showcar flair and you could be looking at Mazda’s upcoming crossover that sits below the CX-7. Rumoured to get the “CX-5” name, this Tiguan rival will come with Mazda’s SkyActiv tech, a collection of improved to engines, transmissions and chassis that will significantly improve efficiency.

Gallery and a video after the jump.

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