The Auto Trader expert verdict:
The seven-seat Mazda5 scores well in all areas, thanks to its practicality, driveability and all-round usefulness.
Reasons to buy:
- Sliding rear doors
- Flexible seating
- Good to drive
How good does it look?
The previous Mazda5 was a handsome, if discreet, MPV with simple and clean lines. This model evolves that look, but adds a dash of personality thanks to a wave-like crease down the side of the car. All current Mazda’s take their design inspiration from wind and water – the Mazda5’s side indicator is meant to look like a smooth pebble. The grille and headlights are similar to those seen on the Mazda3 and the rear lights are now horizontal, giving the rear a wider look.
What's the interior like?
Much like the exterior, the inside is functional, if not exciting. There’s a definite Japanese feel, with a feeling of good – but understated – build quality and everything being in its right place. The dials are located in silver cowlings, while the trip computer and radio information appear in a window at the base of the windscreen.
How practical is it?
A clever middle row of seats slides fore and aft to give extra legroom or boot space, and the middle seat can be flipped over to provide storage or on its side to allow long objects like skis to pass between them. Unfortunately the middle seat is uncomfortable to sit on. Two rear seats fold neatly out of the boot floor, and provide just enough space for adults on shorter trips. The boot measures 426 litres in five-seat configuration or 1,566 with just the front seats – not quite as much as the Ford Grand C-Max (1,742 litres).
What's it like to drive?
The Mazda5 handles twisting roads without fuss, which is just the ticket when it’s not just the driver, but there are six passengers on board too. There’s little sickness-inducing wallow or roll and the Mazda5 remains planted over bumps and humps. The steering is very light, which can be disconcerting at higher speeds, but aids maneuverability around town. The gear change is excellent, thanks to its ergonomic position and short throw into each gear.
How powerful is it?
There are only three engines available, a 1.8 and 2-litre petrol with 113 and 148bhp and and 1.6-litre diesel with 113bhp. The 1.8-litre feels slightly underpowered, struggling more than the livelier 2-litre, which pulls with greater conviction and feels less strained. The diesel is the slowest model, taking 13.7 seconds to reach 62mph and with a top speed of just 111mph.
How much will it cost me?
The diesel leads the way here, which should cement its popularity in the UK. It averages 54.3mpg and emits 138g/km of CO2, impressive figures for any MPV. The 1.8-litre petrol averages 39mpg and emits 168g/km, while the 2-litre features stop and start technology and manages 41mpg and 159g/km.
How reliable is it?
Mazda performs well in reliability surveys, and is one of the top ten manufacturers according to the Reliability Index. Owners can expect a trouble-free ownership experience.
How safe is it?
The previous Mazda5 (2005 – 2010) scored the full five-stars in EuroNCAP crash tests, but the new model hasn’t yet been subject to the same measures. It should perform even better and has electronic stability programme, traction control, anti-lock brakes and Isofix child seat mounting points. Airbags now protect all three rows of passengers.
How much equipment do I get?
There are three trim levels called TS, TS2 and Sport, with 16-inch alloy wheels, front and rear electric windows, electric heated door mirrors, air-con, folding seats, steering wheel-mounted audio controls and a CD/radio with six speakers included with TS. TS2 adds tinted rear windows, rear parking sensors, climate control, Bluetooth, auto wipers, trip computer and auto headlights. Sport models get 17-inch alloy wheels, rear spoiler, side skirts, power sliding rear doors, leather and heated front seats, front fog lights and tyre pressure monitoring. It’s an impressive level of equipment, even in basic trim.
The Mazda5 is good to drive, practical and should prove to be reliable too. With the 1.6-litre diesel it’s efficient too.