Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Mazda Is in Seven Heaven

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Mazda Is in Seven Heaven

Article excerpt

Byline: By Andrew Knight

It's hard to get too excited about people carriers. After all, as the name implies, these are cars designed to solve the practical problems of busy family life.

Which may explain the seen-it-all-before expressions of the world's Press as they turned up on the shores of Lake Maggiore near Milan to put Mazda's latest offering through its paces.

Yet by lunchtime the following day, even the most inscrutable of the hacks appeared noticeably more mellow.

So if it isn't the pasta putting a pleasantly surprised smile on so many faces, what does the Mazda5 have to offer which sets it apart from the multi-purpose vehicles parked in countless driveways?

MPV sales have exploded across Europe in the past decade, so every manufacturer wants a slice of the lucrative action. The biggest examples can be cumbersome fuel-guzzlers, the compact versions can be too cramped and lacklustre, especially when fully loaded.

And one of the biggest problems is whether to fit in seven seats or settle for five.

Mazda's answer is an interesting one ( and the innovations might just provide the perfect compromise for many families on the move.

Fitting two extra regular seats in the cargo area gives the small MPV the capacity to accommodate up to seven people if required - and, to allow easy access to them, the car is the first in its class to incorporate rear sliding doors.

When not in use, the two back seats flip obligingly flat into the floor space, avoiding the need to remove and store heavy extra seats. The two middle seats have been ingeniously designed to fold flat too if you need a substantial load space. But the seat cushions also open up to provide a third middle seat, an armrest or a central tray with cupholders.

Clever chaps, the Japanese. They even have a special name ( karakuri ( for this ingenious seating and stowage system. …

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