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January 5, 2020

Students are Transforming the Mazda CX-5 into a Dakar-Ready Off-Roader

Ever wondered how the CX-5 would look like if it were made to compete in the Dakar Rally? Well, wonder no more because students in Japan’s Nihon Automobile College (NATS) is turning that into reality with the CX-Runner.

This one-of-a-kind model is based off the first-generation CX-5, but will receive various off-road goodies. Based on the sketch released by the school, it’ll get fender extensions, off-road suspension, and shortened bumpers for a better approach angle. The modified wheel arches also necessitated in welding the rear door shut which should be fine because the NATS students envisioned it purely as a two-seater.

The finished car will debut at the Tokyo Auto Salon 2020, but based on the college’s Facebook page, the CX-Runner will be fitted with composite materials and might even sport a beefed up powertrain as the stock Skyactiv engine was removed completely in one photo.

NATS started offering a customizing class in 1998 and building a tuner car is one of the requirements needed to graduate.

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