Ten Point Test

Auto Trader Ten Point Test rating: 80%
Big, tall cars are often said to have ‘car-like’ handling, a term which is perhaps too flattering.

But not in the case of the Mazda 5 – it genuinely is an MPV which drives like a saloon.

Andy Goodwin drove one for a week to test out its credentials.

1. Looks 8/10

In our opinion the Mazda 5 is one of the most attractive people carriers on sale. The lines of its bodywork aren’t overly complicated, just handsome and nicely ground-hugging. The only area of contention is its LED rear lights, which are a bit jarring against the subtle body – you will either love them or hate them. Choose a Sport model and you get the attractive five-spoke 17-inch alloy wheels fitted to our test car.

2. Looks inside 7/10

The interior is simple and stylish, offering high levels of quality with a relaxing cabin ambience. The dials glow white at all times, so it’s easy to read them even in gloomy weather without having to turn on the side lights. A green LED at the base of the windscreen displays a clock, information on the radio and heating system and avoids looking old fashioned thanks to its crisp clarity.

3. Practicality 8/10

The Mazda 5’s most practical feature is its twin rear sliding doors, which allow easy access for passengers and even cargo and can be fully opened even in the tightest parking spaces. The Mazda 5 is a seven seater, with two conventional front seats, a three seat middle row (albeit with a small central seat) and a third row which folds out of the boot floor. Fold all the rear seats down flat and the Mazda 5 is turned into a stylish load lugger with a massive 857-litre boot. In conventional five-seater mode, boot space is a reasonable 426-litres.

4. Ride and Handling 8/10

Surprisingly fun. The Mazda 5 is part of a growing breed of MPVs which offer huge practicality and space without short-changing the driver. The Mazda 5 handles as well as a competent saloon car and offers the driver plenty of feedback, grip and composure. The only trade-off is a slightly firm ride which jars a little over the worst pot holes and requires the driver to tip toe over sharp speed bumps

5. Performance 8/10

Four engines are available: a 1.8-litre petrol with 113bhp, 2-litre with 144bhp and two 2-litre diesel variants with 108bhp and 141bhp respectively. The 2-litre petrol is quickest on paper, accelerating 0-60mph in 10.2 seconds, but it’s the 141bhp diesel which feels faster in every day driving thanks to its extra pulling power. The gearshift is slick and its position is high up, close to the steering wheel – but it’s a fairly heavy shift, with a clutch action which is a little tiring in stop start driving.

View more pictures of the Mazda 5

6. Running Costs 7/10

None of the four engines are gas-guzzlers and all have been tuned with efficiency and economy firmly in mind. All models of the Mazda 5 have a long top gear so the engine doesn’t have to work hard at motorway speeds, and the body is pleasingly aerodynamic for a tall car – its drag coefficient is a very slippery 0.29 – helping it to use less fuel. The 141bhp 2-litre diesel is the pick of the range, capable of 46.3mpg on a combined cycle and producing emissions of 162g/km of carbon dioxide (£145 tax band D).

7. Reliability 9/10

The Mazda 5 features well developed technology which looks unlikely to go wrong. There have been few reported problems since the first Mazda 5 went on sale in 2005, and the facelifted car should be no different.

8. Safety 9/10

In EuroNCAP testing, the Mazda 5 scored a full five stars for adult occupant safety, three stars for child protection and two stars for pedestrian safety. If you are hard on the brakes a brake booster increases your stopping power, and electronic stability control and traction control help prevent skids. There are also six airbags and collapsible pedals which help avoid leg injuries in a frontal collision.

9. Equipment 8/10

There are four specifications available: TS, TS2, Sport and Sport Nav. The TS gets a single CD player with an auxiliary jack for MP3 players, front electric windows, remote central locking and air-conditioning. TS2 adds 16-inch alloy wheels, rear electric windows, picnic tables for rear passengers, leather covered steering wheel and steering wheel mounted audio controls. Sport specification introduces a six CD player, climate control, 17-inch alloy wheels and a sports body kit, rain-sensing lights and automatic headlights. Sport Nav spec adds satellite navigation to the mix.

10. X-Factor 8/10

If you want to drive a practical MPV but don’t want to feel like a mini-bus driver, the agile and attractive Mazda 5 will be a pleasant surprise.

Key facts

Model tested: Mazda 5 2.0 Diesel Sport
On the road price: £22,680
Price range: £14,770 – £20,555
Date tested: June 2008
Road tester: Andy Goodwin