It’s wrong to play favourites in this game but I must confess I’ve always had a soft spot for Mazda and its products and always kook forward to them when they come up on my road test schedule.
While playing in the mass market, the Japanese maker has always managed to be something above the norm – its products not only dependable, well made and affordable but innovative, characterful and edgy too. The latest Mazda 5 is no exception. Seven-seater versatility, intelligent packaging and engaging style make it stand out from the competition in what is a highly competitive market sector
Eminently practical, with lots of luggage space and an array of handy bins, it features sliding doors to provide easy access to the rear two rows of seats. But, at the same time as being a superb family car, the 5 gives plenty of satisfaction to the press-on solo driver too. There’s a definite sporting edge to its performance – and its looks too, sitting proudly on 17-inch bright finish alloy wheels.
Priced from £19,995 to £21,290 on the road, this highly desirable machine is available in enhanced Venture trim level. Equipment levels across the range are, as you’d expect from Mazda, exceptionally generous and include six airbags; dynamic stability control with traction control system; two ISOFIX child seat anchor points; climate control; cruise control; Tom Tom satellite navigation and a six-speaker CD audio unit with iPod connectivity.
There’s a choice of two power trains – a two-litre petrol and a 1.6-litre turbo diesel, both mated to six-speed manual gearboxes, delivering up to 54.3-mpg and 136g per km in the combined cycle.
All models have oodles of kit but the economy enhancing i-stop technology, which turns the engine off automatically when the vehicle is at a standstill, only comes on standard on the flagship two-litre MZR DISI petrol version I tested. I’d recommend buyers of other Mazda 5’s to specify this money-saving option, which will soon pay for itself.