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For the thirteenth year running, Mazda has created a number of vehicles for those with special needs to be showcased at the International Home Care & Rehabilitation Exhibition in Japan. The AZ-Wagon gets a lift-gate out back so that folks limited to wheelchairs can enter and exit through the converted rear hatch while still in their wheelchairs. The MPV Second Row Lift-up Seat (pictured) is also for those in wheelchairs, but those who have the mobility to sit in a conventional seat. And the Biante Autostep has, like an RV, a step that extends whenever the rear door is opened. All of the vehicles are JDM-only, but now that we know Mazda has this kind of expertise, we'd like to speak to them about getting a Kazamai with an ejector seat. Hit the jump for the press release.


HIROSHIMA, Japan-Mazda Motor Corporation will exhibit three special needs vehicles at the 35th International Home Care & Rehabilitation Exhibition (H.C.R.) 2008, organized by Japan's Health and Welfare Information Association, from September 24 through 26, 2008, at the Tokyo International Exhibition Center.

Mazda will display three special needs vehicles intended for the Japanese market. The AZ-Wagon i is equipped to carry wheelchairs, the MPV Second Row Lift-up Seat vehicle features a second-row passenger seat with a lift-up function, and the Biante Autostep is based on the Mazda Biante mid-size tall 'high-roof' minivan that was launched in July 2008.

The International H.C.R. Exhibition covers medical and health care equipment ranging from handcrafted self-help devices to state-of-the-art special needs vehicles from all over the world. Mazda has participated in this event since 1995.

AZ-Wagon i (aftermarket model)
The AZ-Wagon i is based on the space-efficient micro-mini AZ-Wagon. People in wheelchairs can get in and out of the vehicle through the rear liftgate opening.

MPV Second Row Lift-up Seat (aftermarket model)
Based on the mid-size Mazda MPV minivan, the MPV Second Row Lift-up Seat vehicle is designed to transport and assist wheelchair users. The second row seat automatically elevates and rotates for ease of use.

Biante Autostep (reference model)
Mazda's newly developed tall 'high roof' Biante minivan features an "Autostep" function to help passengers step into the rear cabin. The Autostep automatically extends and withdraws when the sliding door is opened and closed.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 6 Years Ago
      Looks like a great car for hunting.

      Or parades.

      Or for the guy that paints stripes on the roads.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Most (or maybe just some?) people in wheelchairs who drive cars simply put the chair in the back seat behind them. The most useful car for doing this is something with a suicide door. My father drives a Saturn Ion specifically because it was one of the the only cars that had this.

      There are some others, but none that really work well for people in a wheelchair (Honda element = seats are too high off the ground, Mazda RX8 = door opening isn't tall enough, Mini Clubman = door on wrong side)
      Clubman would be perfect if they put the suicide door on the drivers side.

      Nothing against these cars from Mazda of course. Just thought I'd share.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Not to be a downer on the "funny" comments, but my son has cerebral palsy, and a van like this would help our lives considerably. As it is now, he's 5 years old and cannot walk -- or even close to. We lift him in and out of everything -- including the van. A van like this would help minimize that somewhat, as well as making things less awkward.

      I like it!
      • 6 Years Ago
      There are just endless reasons to like Mazda as a manufacturer. Thumbs up :)
      • 6 Years Ago
      I'm surprised that it's taken this long for a vehicle company to offer something like this. ADA compliance is everywhere now, and with the average age of the population advancing each year, more folks are driving into their 80s and even 90s now (wow!). I think it's a great option, especially for folks like Yipcanjo's son. He's light now, at age 5, but he'll grow and be harder to lift as the years pass.

      Ricart Auto
      • 6 Years Ago
      Honda has been doing this in the JDM Odyssey.

        • 6 Years Ago
        Yes, in the JDM all the makers seem to offer this sort of option. I don't think this is the same thing as a wheel chair van. I think this is more for someone who has to transport someone who has special needs. Would have been great for taking my late mother to her Doctor when her Parkinsons was advanced.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Not just Honda, but many JDM automakers (Toyota, etc.) have offered "special needs" versions of their vehicles for quite some time, so it's not just Mazda that "has this expertise," as Johnathon put it. I saw a handful of them when I lived in Japan last year from various marques.

        My best educated guess is they are geared primarily towards Japanese taking care of their elderly parents, which would seem plausible because they respect their elders far more than us Americans.

        We made grandma drive herself.