Motoring Trailblazers - Mazda Eunos Cosmo

Mon 26th Nov 2018

The world of motoring is hurtling headlong into a bright new future of all-electric, automated, connected technology - and Marty McFly is not behind the wheel! But what were the cars that were ‘back to the future’ of years gone by?

There have been many different trailblazing motors which were seen by the critics to be ahead of their time, and in this series, we will investigate and showcase many of the best in class.

Mazda Eunos Cosmo
While the latest generation of drivers may be pleased to find that their new car comes complete with a touch-screen in-car entertainment system complete with GPS satellite navigation, they probably don’t appreciate that the technology was built in as standard on a vehicle released almost 30 years ago.

Mazda’s high-tech Eunos Cosmo had been based on a 1985 concept car and was launched in 1990 at the top end of the Eunos luxury channel. With a triple rotor wankel engine and an electronically controlled 4-speed automatic gearbox, the Eunos Cosmo screamed Japenese futuristic design. This design proved to be something of a hindrance for Japanese buyers however, with the larger model no longer complying with local Government dimension regulations, which meant that buyers in the home nation were liable for yearly taxes.

However, that didn’t harm the export market and with a host of technological firsts, the Eunos Cosmo was the first with GPS satnav, it also came a ‘Palmnet’ data communication system, a CRT colour touch-screen which looked after the climate control, mobile phone, a NTSC and of course the usual CD and radio player.

The Cosmo enjoyed moderate success globally, selling 8,875 models from February 1990 to September 1995 and with its futuristic add-ons was also heavily in demand in video games, featuring in Sega GT, Gran Turismo and a host of other arcade games.

Though you may be forgiven that the luxury was focused on interior technology, for which Japan was at the forefront, the engine too was nothing to be sniffed at, and that revolutionary Wankel rotary engine, which still gets petrol heads excited even today, was capable of shifting the vehicle from 0-60 in six seconds, which put it alongside many sports cars from the startline, which for a car carrying 3500 lbs was more than respectable. With all this interior tech and engine smarts, it’s no surprise that despite its conservative looks, the Eunos Cosmo came with a hefty price-tag which placed it alongside the Mercedes and BMW.

After it’s six-year stint featuring on TV shows and documentaries, the Eunos Cosmo was brought to an end, mainly because Mazda wanted to bring about the end of the Eunos brand, but also perhaps because the technology involved had been adopted across the board by other luxury brands.