The Mazda Kusabi concept car made its debut at the 2003 Tokyo Motor Show, billed as a "daily compact sports car".
The Kusabi is based on the compact Demio platform, to which was fitted a 3-door hatchback body measuring 149.6 inches long, 68.8 inches wide and 50.7 inches tall. The design is original to the Kusabi, but the innovations were not restricted to the extremely long wheelbase and wide wheeltrack. The roof has a bold reverse-wedge shape, and the side-window treatment blends seamlessly. While the Kusabi is a bit tall for a sports car, it has freshness of form that is certainly sporty enough.
Another unique design feature is the "twin-lift hatchback" in the rear. Unlike normal hatches that only open upward, the two halves of the twin-lift hatchback can also open out like the wings of a butterfly, allowing easy access and storage. It is a paragon of engineering for everyday usability.
The seating layout is a 2+2 4 seater, but when passengers climb into the back seats, the top halves of the front seats fold back into the cabin and out of the way, another brilliant feature.
The engine is based on the MZR 1.3L, the Demio's DOHC straight-4. For the Kusabi, upgrades like dual sequential valve timing, a supercharger, and a 4-barrel electric throttle beef up output to 148BHP. The gearbox is a 6-speed automatic with manual shifting mode. The suspension mirrors the Demio, with struts in the front and a torsion beam set-up in the rear, but of course on the Kusabi this has been upgraded and fitted with 17" wheels. The Kusabi is a multi-use sports car combining practicality and excitement.