By on 2011-01-29 -
STRANGE as it may sound but it must have been my young and impressionable period.
How else can you possibly explain my incredible interest in conundrums? For hours on end I would sit glued in front of Baird's box trying to unravel these puzzles and mysteries.
My poor parents were convinced - albeit briefly - that I was destined for either Oxford or Cambridge University, or possibly, even both.
Never really had the heart to tell them that I didn't actually get any of the conundrums right, well not in the allotted time anyway.
No, confession time, my interest was purely restricted to just one figure - that of Carol Voderman.
Here we had brains and beauty all neatly rolled into one.
More recently I came across a real conundrum, this time of the motoring kind.
Now the mere fact that I was thinking automotive will probably baffle some of my esteemed colleagues as normally I don't encourage such thoughts.
But this one was definitely different and worthy of time and consideration being spent trying to resolve it.
Mazda has introduced a sports model to its compact MPV family, something that seriously bucks the trend in this keenly-fought sector of the market.
And I'm not just talking about a few cosmetic changes either like racy sport strips down the body or a bling-like chrome badge at the rear.
You can also rule out ridiculously oversized alloy wheels at either corner of the vehicle and a surf-board sized rear spoiler.
No, as the late great entertainer Kenny Everett would say: "It's all done in the best possible taste."
Those inscrutable Men from the East resisted the cheap fix option to offer potential buyers something truly worthy of sporting the Mazda badge.
There was absolutely no way that the Zoom-Zoom brand was going to serve up anything less tasty than the new Mazda5 Sport.
Yes, it still offers seating for seven, as well as enormous versatility throughout the cabin, and a reliability record that is second to none.
But in Sport trim guise it provides additional touches that really lift this car to the next platform.
None more so than the electronically-operated sliding rear doors that provide ease of entry and exit at all times.
Touch the button on the key-fob and they glide back and forward, although a word of warning, always have a second glance when walking away from the vehicle.
I hit the wrong button thinking I was locking the car up only to find the doors wide open seconds later. Easily done, believe me.
Handling is sweet and precise both around town and on a motorway journey.
The 2.0-litre engine is an absolute joy and never skipped a beat. Quiet, refined and effortless as you raced through the centrally-mounted manual gearbox.
The quality of the finish both inside and out is again second to none and gives you a warm glow that so much care and effort has been put into the car's creation.
Depending on your needs the rear seats can be folded down or up to increase its load-lugging capacity to a remarkable 1,566 litres.
Better still, you don't need to spend a month at the local gym to build up the biceps to achieve all of this.
Mechanical: 143bhp, 1,999cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox
Max Speed: 122mph
0-62mph: 10.8 seconds
Combined MPG: 34.5
Insurance Group: 16
C02 emissions: 168g/km
Bik rating: 19%
Warranty: 3yrs/ 60,000 miles
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