From the driver’s seat, the view is pure Mazda RX-8, with a three-dial instrument cluster and a thick three-spoke steering wheel. The cockpit-type driver’s area is defined by a small meter hood placed just in front of a large ‘roof’ that stretches across the entire instrument panel - called a ‘double roof’ - at the base of the windscreen. The double roof has the effect of unifying the front of the cabin, bringing together the driver and front passenger.
The ceiling of the MX-Crossport is made up almost entirely of glass, which adds to the open, airy feeling of the interior. This large variable-mist glass roof can be operated to change from clear to translucent white and back again instantly. Being able to adjust the amount of light flowing into the vehicle in this manner enriches the comfort of the cabin space.
The ceiling of the cabin also features a neatly integrated and highly flexible overhead console running the length of the vehicle and is able to accommodate various attachments such as rear entertainment display and a range of additional storage compartments.
Three Panel Display System Advances the Zoom-Zoom Driving Experience
The MX-Crossport features an advanced, multi-use information display and entertainment system that is designed to be intuitive and easy to use. The Three Panel Display system incorporates a hemispherical monitor which can be used as a touch panel (called the ‘handling panel’) mounted above the centre console, just to the right of the steering wheel, a second ‘status monitor’ mounted above and a third ‘entertainment monitor’ to the right, mounted immediately ahead of the front passenger.
The Three Panel Display system features numerous driving support functions such as vehicle diagnosis upon engine start-up, safety instructions, monitoring of blind spots, parking guidance, satellite navigation system and emergency information. Additionally, the system features basic audio and climate controls and can be used to send and receive e-mail and reach the Internet.
The third element of the Three Panel Display system, the entertainment monitor, is designed to help share the driving excitement with the front passenger by providing a ‘virtual view’ from the driver’s seat and beyond. Using a unique size of 365mm x 80mm (15" wide) liquid-crystal display screen and five cameras, the entertainment monitor offers four unique views of the road. Specifically, there are the Driver’s Eye View, Front Wheel View, Super Low Angle and the Rear Wheel View.
Driver’s Eye View, for example, offers a view of a real-time display of the three-dial instrument cluster from the driver’s seat. Front Wheel View, conversely, offers a three-screen view of the road ahead (the Driver’s Eye View, plus a view from cameras mounted in each of the two side-view mirrors), not unlike a popular racing video game. Also, the entertainment monitor can be switched to DVD mode for the front passenger during a long drive.
High Quality Utility with a Mind Toward Innovation
A number of unique, high-quality features with a touch of innovation are incorporated throughout the MX-Crossport’s interior. The gearshift lever, for example, features two distinct positions for the two drive modes - automatic and manual. In automatic mode, the gearshift is tilted forward to lie nearly flat on the centre console and gears (reverse, drive, park, etc) can be chosen with the simple push of a button on the topside of the gearshift lever. For manual mode, the gearshift can be lifted to stand upright and can then be used as a plus/minus lever to manually select gears while driving.
A power-retractable tonneau cover neatly covers the rear storage area, which features ample space for approximately three golf bags behind the rear seats.
Overall - as with the exterior - the dynamic nature of the interior design was created to communicate a visual sense of motion and speed and to test potential design themes that could be incorporated into a production model.
While Mazda has not yet officially confirmed a production model based on the MX-Crossport, the company has clearly stated that it intends to expand its line of new-generation Zoom-Zoom products for the North American market and beyond. The MX-Crossport is an important step forward in the process.Published 17 December 2004