A good use of words. Take for example Karakuri – used to describe its very clever seating system and which comes from a word used to describe trickery! Apt because of the smart way the seats fold.

And more latterly we have Nagare – Mazda’s design theme which roughly translated means flow and is the flow-inspired concept behind the future of the marque’s design theme.

It first emerged in 2006 at the Los Angeles Motor show when Mazda unveiled the concept car Nagare which gave a flavour of what was to come.

This month we have the launch of the all-new Mazda5, emerging from the Nagare theme. It’s the Mazda that really does go with the flow. Well almost but we’ll come to that later.

The all-new 5 MPV is the first car to be completely styled using the nagare design language.

Inspired by the flowing elements found in nature, the Mazda5 is instantly distinguished by its boldly sculpted flanks.

These distinctive contours are complemented by the company’s striking face with a five point grille, which it shares with the Mazda3 which also provides the underpinnings for the MPV, piercing headlamps, and a steeply raked windscreen angle resulting in a sleek and svelte silhouette.

There appear to be three waves which undulate down each flank, emphasising nagare.

All very pleasant but when you get to the rear it looks a little ‘heavy bottomed’ and ungainly which doesn’t sit as prettily as the rest – the design appears to have run out of the ‘flow’ but more of that later.

Getting in and out of the Mazda5 is now even easier. Its large, twin sliding rear doors – a ‘first in class’ feature unique for the Mazda5 in its sector – open to a wide 686mm and extend just 160mm beyond the bodywork when open, giving exceptional access in even the tightest spaces. Sport models come with power sliding doors as standard.

The seven-seat layout offers excellent flexibility and plenty of space for all on board.

The three rows of seats create a wide range of passenger-luggage combinations – from seven seats, to four seats with a generous luggage compartment for longer journeys to just two seats and a vast, flat-floored cargo area for hauling larger items.

Its seven seats can be flipped and folded to create a variety of load-carrying configurations thanks to Karakuri!

The Mazda5 range debuts with two engines and a third to come early next year. The two petrol-powered MZR units – a 115ps 1.8-litre and a 150ps 2.0-litre DISI – will be joined by a 115ps 1.6-litre MZ-CD turbo diesel unit. The three powertrains are all Euro Stage 5 compliant.

The 2.0 litre is perky and more than capable of dealing with a full load but the 1.8 is underpowered and loaded up will struggle at times. I suspect the diesel will be the best drive.

Inside, the interior is one of Mazda’s best with all the major controls easy to operate and you don’t need to read the handbook from cover to cover to understand them.

It may appear a little on the plastic side but look at the price you are paying – and besides that this is meant for families and will easily wipe clean!

Standard equipment levels are generous and include six airbags, Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) with Traction Control System (TCS), two ISOFIX child seat anchor points, air-conditioning, cruise control, a six-speaker CD audio unit and alloy wheels across the range.

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