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Mazda designs concept city car

Mazda shows off its water-influenced Kiyora concept at the 2008 Paris Motor Show.

Mazda Kiyora concept
Mazda's Kiyora concept uses the Nagare styling theme. CBS Interactive

The Kiyora concept, shown at the 2008 Paris Motor Show, is another in Mazda's lineup of concept cars featuring Nagare styling. Mazda designers have built a new Nagare concept car for almost every major auto show. Nagare means flow in Japanese, and the cars built under this concept show styling cues that represent the way wind and water flow over earth and rock.

Mazda Kiyora concept
The design is intended to evoke water. CBS Interactive

Although previous cars in this design theme have been low and sporty, the Kiyora captures the strong trend at the Paris show for small city cars. As such, it is designed as a compact four seater with minimal cargo space.

Mazda specifies a 1.3-liter engine for the Kiyora, using similar variable valve timing tech and direct injection as the 2.3-liter engine found in the CX-7. Along with low displacement, the powertrain enhances its economy with an idle-stop system, a feature commonly found in hybrid cars. Although Mazda hasn't specified actual fuel economy numbers, it does tout CO2 emissions of just 90 grams per kilometer, a particularly good rating compared with current cars.

As the theme for the Kiyora, the notion of water gets carried throughout the interior and exterior styling, and even to one innovative feature. Large translucent panels in the doors evoke the clearness of water, while the front of the car looks like a bow wave. The driver interface uses a large, curved touch screen which, when the car is stopped, shows fixed icons. Turn the car on, and these control icons flow down to positions previously set by the driver.

Mazda Kiyora concept interior
Organic shapes define the interior. CBS Interactive

As a typically exotic feature for a concept car, but still within the water theme, the roof is designed to channel rain water to a carbon filter. The filtered water is caught in a bottle between the front seats so that passengers always have fresh water on hand. This is truly the car for a water-starved future.

See all coverage of the 2008 Paris Motor Show.