Mazda 5: When Good Design Goes Bad

This is the newest Mazda 5. It follows the rest of the fleet with the new "Nagare" design cues. Nagare is the Japanese word for "flow." And flow it does. No other word could better describe the way each line dances with the next. The highlights and shadows created by the flowing lines draw your eyes around each corner and through each body panel. They create interesting negative spaces with the enormous Peugeot-like grille, the wheel arches, and the cabin windows. I like the blacked out B and C pillars, and the completely hidden D pillar. This really smooths out the windows, making them into one element instead of 9 divided windows.

But is it necessary? Most commenters over on Jalopnik didn't think so. Some even compared the lines to the Pontiac's excessive use of the "guard rail" on the side of every car to make them look "sporty." I disagree with the comparison because every Pontiac ended up looking heavier, and the bulk was added to every car regardless, as if it was a brand standard to make every car worse looking than its competition. The Nagare lines literally make the Mazda 5 look smaller and lighter. It moves while standing still. I'm torn, because I think it's very well done. I can point towards countless examples when excess lines, curves, bumps, or vents make me roll my eyes. But this doesn't fit into that category. It is so well executed, I think liking it or not is a matter of taste rather than a critique on its design.

I think that Mazda shocked us all by actually implementing elements from its concepts.