The future of Mazda’s global B-car plans lies in the Sassou concept, a sharp-looking wedge of fiberglass and luminous blue paint from the Japanese outpost of the Ford empire. The concept is a teensy three-door hatchback with a direct-injection 1.0-liter three-cylinder engine and a minimalist interior with front seats mounted on aircraft-style jacks instead of seat rails. Translucent plastic defines some of the Sassou’s design and interior; panel hide the front and rear lamps, which only become visible once the car is unlocked with a USB key that also can carry the driver’s music choices, mapping information and personal data. The Sassou can be reconfigured into a three- or four-seater by a cleverly changeable back seat.
2005 Mazda Sassou conceptEnlarge Photo
Fiat Grande Punto
While Fiat struggles to right its finances and figure out how to unlock value from Ferrari while still holding on to the sportscar maker, it’s expanding its bottom line with a new Grande Punto model that grows in size versus the traditional Punto, which remains on sale, while keeping the same general track and length. Styled with help from Italdesign-Giugiaro, the car gets a range of engines including a 90-hp, 1.3-liter turbo four; a 77-hp 1.4-liter four; and a 130-hp, 1.9-liter four. Three- and five-door models will be offered.
2005 Fiat Grande PuntoEnlarge Photo