Daniel Susco
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Mazda Puts Astounding Amount of Work into New Body Color Design

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At this week’s LA Auto Show, Mazda is showing off its shiny new 2017 CX-5. However, in a very strange twist, one of the parts of the CX-5 that took the most work and painstaking design is something most people will pass over without a thought, and then possibly let their grubby kids rub their dirty hands all over when the SUV is in their garage.

That part is, in fact, the new paint.

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2017 Mazda CX-5

Hardcore Mazda fans will look at pictures of the new CX-5 and reply, “What are you talking about? That’s just the signature Soul Red color that Mazda has been using for years.”

Ah, but it is not. The color featured on the 2017 CX-5 is similar to Soul Red, but is actually Soul Red Crystal, a difference that seems slight until you find out how much work and thought was put into it.

The Soul Red Crystal color was specially made by Mazda to accentuate the KODO—Soul of Motion design used on the exterior of all of Mazda’s current lineup, and boasts 20% greater color saturation and 50% more depth than the color it started as.

What I imagined as a single layer of paint sprayed on possibly by a robot arm turns out to be a three-layered affair.

Mazda soul red crystal paint

Starting from the top, the whole paint is covered in a transparent, protective coating, as most are. The next layer down, though, is where the red comes from. The second layer is translucent coat using a newly-developed, highly-saturated red pigment.

The bottom layer, however, is where the real magic comes in, as this is the reflective layer. This base later includes high-brilliance, incredibly thin aluminum flakes interspersed with light-absorbing flakes. The addition of light-absorbing flakes serves to accentuate the model’s shaded areas, an effect that previously was only possible with two layers of paint.

It makes you think that there must be some misunderstood genius somewhere covered in tiny metal flakes and drops of bright pigments.

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Daniel Susco is a native of the Dayton-Cincinnati area, and has written on a multitude of subjects. He can discuss Shakespeare, expound on Classical Mythology, and even make witty jokes about Pliny the Elder (More like “Pliny the Rounder,” right?). In his free time, Daniel enjoys reading, cooking, woodworking, and long walks on the beach (just kidding – sunburn is no joke). See more articles by Daniel.