What is the Mazda5?
Do you have a family? Are you driving a hatchback and fed up with squeezing children and their endless paraphernalia and the family dog into the car? Then allow us to recommend a test-drive of the Mazda5, a practical beta-blocker of a car that could save you from hypertension.
A rival to the Ford C-Max, Renault Scenic, Vauxhall Zafira Tourer and Volkswagen Touran, the Mazda5 has an ace up its sleeve in the form of two sliding rear side-doors. You may well think that’s neither here nor there, but we believe that once you’ve lived with sliding side doors you’ll find it hard to return to the traditional alternative – at least until your young have finally flown the nest.
Our pick of the range is the 1.6-litre diesel, a responsive performer that’s economical to run, with 50mpg genuinely achievable in day-to- day driving. Prices start at £20,495 for the 2-litre petrol model, though we’d instead opt for the 1.6-litre diesel, at £21,895. Keeping this simple, there’s just one trim level – Sport Venture.
The Mazda5 range is refreshingly simple: there is a 2-litr petrol engine and 1.6-litre turbo diesel unit, and one trim level – Sport Venture. The petrol struggles to haul a fully laden car because it develops comparatively little toque and only at very high revs, so needs to be worked hard. Far better to pick the 1.6-litre, four-cylinder diesel, which may not be a fireball but makes plenty of torque available from commendably low engine speeds, and can whip the 5 along at a very reasonable pace. The 0-60mph sprint takes 13.7sec (better in practice than on paper), CO2 emissions are a commendable 138g/km, and the combined-cycle consumption 54.3mpg.
For an MPV the Mazda5 is no roly-poly chunk of metal but is stable and surefooted with impressive road-holding. Its quick steering and slick gearbox make it a precise-feeling car to drive, and although it falls short of being “fun” as such, that’s quite typical for this type of vehicle, and this one comes a close second to the Ford C- Max in terms of driving experience. As for ride comfort, that’s also impressive, and the Mazda’s suspension remains comfortably composed even when its seven-seat cabin is fully occupied.
The “wave” design of the exterior may be a little fussy for more conservative tastes, but don’t let it put you off, as those rear doors and the multitude of seating permutations make it very popular with families. On Sport models the sliding doors are electrically powered and come with anti-trap detection (for fingers) which, to be brutally honest, we had no great desire to put to the test. However, we’d settle for the manual doors of the TS2, as the electric actuators mean further weight and expense, and add to the tally of things that could go wrong.
The Mazda5’s three centre-row seats slide independently of each other, and it’s possible to fold flat the central seat to give space to walk through into the back row. With five seats in use there is a fairly average 426 litres of boot volume, and that extends to 1,485 litres when all rear seats are stashed. Use all seven seats and you’re left with a fairly vestigial 112 litres.
It’s easy to forget the driver with this type of car, but the Mazda5 doesn’t forget, and provides a multi-adjustable driving position, as both seat and steering wheel can be moved to suit, and nobody should have difficulty getting comfortable at the helm. Outward visibility for the driver is also very good.
The One to Buy
Mazda5 1.6D Sport Venture
- £21,895 (price correct at first publication)
- 1560cc, 4 cylinders, diesel
- 114bhp @ 3600rpm
- 199 lb ft @ 1750rpm
- 6-speed manual
- 0-62mph in 13.7sec
- Top Speed:
- 54.3mpg combined
- Road Tax Band:
- L 4585mm, W 1750mm, H 1615mm