Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Sit Back and Relax

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Sit Back and Relax

Article excerpt

Byline: By Mike Torpey

Families on the move are constantly being given more choice by the car manufacturers.

People regularly needing to shift six or seven people can rest assured that systems like Mazda's karakuri will make the job of removing or folding away heavy seats so effortless you can even leave it to the kids.

The word karakuri actually means a mechanical device to tease, trick, or take a person by surprise. It implies hidden magic, or an element of mystery.

There's certainly some magic ( plus plenty of common sense ( about the karakuri seating system adopted by Mazda for its medium-size people carrier.

The Mazda5 is actually described by its maker as a multi-activity vehicle and was designed from the inside out rather than the other way round.

Its regular seating features a six-seat layout over three rows, with a flexible stowable seventh seat ( in the middle of the second row ( which can easily be folded into position when needed. That's the karakuri bit.

Realistically the rear pair are suitable only for children ( and fold flat into the floor at the pull of a tab when not required ( but optimum positioning can just about be found to allow six adults to travel in comfort.

Access to the Mazda is excellent thanks to rear sliding doors. They're light to operate, from the inside too. Cars of this type are not noted for luggage space when all seven seats are in use and while the Mazda5 hardly sets new standards in this regard, there's nonetheless room for some shopping.

All versions have a balanced response from the steering and feature ABS, three-point seatbelts and adjustable headrests, plus curtain airbags along the full length of the cabin.

The 5 comes with a choice of two petrol ( 1.8 and 2.0 ( and a pair of diesel engines, in TS, TS2, Sport and Sport Nav trim.

Expect to pay around pounds 8,995 for a 1.8 TS version on a 2005-55 plate or pounds 10,195 for the same model year 2.0TD TS2 110bhp.

Motor giant Ford wasn't exactly lightning out of the blocks when launching its compact MPV the Focus C-MAX during 2003.

Many of the major manufacturers were already established in an area of the market, led by Vauxhall with the versatile Zafira. …

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