Price £20,495 - £21,895
- Big, versatile cabin
- Lots of luggage space
- Comfortable ride
- Confusing dashboard
- Divisive styling
- Small middle seat
At a glance
"Wild looks aside, the seven-seat Mazda5 is good to drive, versatile and competitively priced."
Mazda has done some great things with its model range of late – with cars such as the Mazda6 and Mazda CX-5 – but its Mazda 5 MPV is starting to look a bit outdated by comparison. The styling matches the last-generation models and was, apparently, inspired by ‘water, wind and nature’, with mixed results.
As you would expect of an MPV, the Mazda 5 gets a hugely practical cabin that has seven seats and a very flexible row of middle seats that be configured several different ways depending on your needs, although the central seat is quite small. The Mazda's sliding rear doors also offer a distinct advantage over conventional swing doors, and getting in and out should be easy, no matter how tight the parking space.
Choosing an engine is easy (there's just two) and the 1.6-litre diesel is the one we would go for. It isn’t fast, but is economical, while the 2.0-litre petrol isn’t much quicker and is a lot less frugal. It's starting to look old in a market that is now dominated by smaller petrol engines that are more efficient and just as quick.
The Mazda 5 comes in one level of trim called Sport Venture.
MPG, running costs & CO2
Engines offer good economy and low road tax
The Mazda 5 isn’t as cheap to run as it should be and it’s crying out to be fitted with one of the excellent engines available from the rest of the Mazda range. The 2.0-litre petrol is now some way off industry standards thanks to economy of 40.9mpg and emissions that mean you’ll be paying £155 every year for road tax.
The diesel engine, then, is the better bet for economy. Its 1.6-litre capacity means fuel economy rises to 54.3mpg, while emissions of 138g/km gets road tax down to £130 a year. That’s still not great, though, and rivals such as the Ford C-Max can now better 60mpg and cost just £30 to tax.
Interior & comfort
Smooth ride and fairly big cabin
The Mazda 5 is surprisingly good to drive, but this doesn’t come at the expense of interior comfort and the MPV deals with bumpy roads extremely well.
Behind the wheel, it should be easy to get a decent driving position thanks to the huge range of adjustment on the driver’s seat and the fact that the steering wheel moves for rake and reach. That said, we found the thigh support to be a bit too tight. Also, the Mazda 5 suffers from some wind and road noise making its way into the cabin.
It may be a seven-seater, but the back row of seats is only really suitable for children, although this is usually the case in this size of car. Less forgivable is the centre seat in the middle row, which we found to be quite cramped.
Practicality & boot space
Neat sliding doors, and plenty of useful cubby holes
Despite the small centre seat, the Mazda 5’s middle row of seats is pretty practical. Helping with this is the Mazda’s electrically operated sliding rear doors, which give excellent access to the rear of the interior. Once in, the middle bench can slide forward and back, as well as being able to recline. The middle seat, meanwhile, can fold down to double as an armrest or sit on its side to give access to the boot. The back row seats meanwhile are small, but fine for children.
As with any MPV this size, with all the seats up luggage space is tight at 112 litres but folding away the rearmost row frees up 426 litres of space, while maximum capacity is 1,566 litres with all the seats down. The boot also has a hidden storage area under its floor.
In total, the Mazda has 45 storage areas covering everything from a small glovebox to a place above your head to put your sunglasses.
Reliability & safety
Lots of safety equipment and decent build quality
Mazda’s MPV didn’t feature in our 2014 Driver Power owner satisfaction survey but in general Mazda’s have the excellent build quality you would expect of Japanese cars. However, its three-year/60,000 mile warranty now falls short of what you’ll get from manufacturers such as Kia, Hyundai, and Vauxhall – all of which cover their cars for at least 100,000 miles.
The latest version of the Mazda 5 hasn’t been tested by Euro NCAP for safety, but the previous version scored five stars, so you can expect it to be safe. All models get front, side and curtain air bags and electronic stability control, although the car’s excellent levels of grip mean you are unlikely to need it.
Engines, drive & performance
The 1.6-litre diesel offers good performance and economy
The Mazda 5 gets just two engines to choose from – a 113bhp 1.6-litre diesel and a 2.0-litre petrol with 148bhp. The diesel makes the most sense in a car like this, thanks to its added economy, and it also does a better job of hauling the car along when it’s fully loaded. By comparison, the 2.0-litre petrol needs plenty of gear changes to maintain decent progress.
Despite the fact that it is getting old, the Mazda is still one of the better MPVs to drive and it feels relatively good fun in the corners. The car’s elevated driving position means you get a good view of the road ahead and the light steering makes it easy enough to manoeuvre in town. Get up to speed, though, and you will notice some wind and road noise.
Price, value for money & options
Fuel saving stop-start technology is fitted
The Mazda is priced to match rivals like the Volkswagen Touran and Toyota Verso. It comes with just one level of equipment – Sport Venture – that gets climate control, cruise control and remote central locking as standard. Options include sat-nav and useful features such as an integrated cool box and sun blinds.
What the others say
The newcomer's looks are immediately striking. It the front, the 5 shares its nose, complete with gaping grille, with the Mazda3, which also provides the underpinnings for the MPV. But it's in profile that the nagare influence is most felt, with three waves which undulate down each flank. The creases in the bodywork are sensitive to colour, so on lighter cars you barely notice the striking lines.
The seven-seat people carrier. Never before has there been so much choice and while the Mazda5 may not be the first to spring to mind it is worth considering. It has been seating seven since 2005 and has done a decent job of it too. This time it gets the full design overhaul with the look inspired by water, wind and nature. Basically, it's got some flowing lines along the side of the car.
The Mazda 5 looks smart and handles well, as well as having a decent amount of space in the cabin. You get lots of standard equipment for your money, too.
The previous generation Mazda5 was a chunky, well-styled car. It had a powerful nose and sturdy flanks that were usually specked with mud in the case of the one belonging to Andrew, the Telegraph Motoring photographer. His Mazda5 was always stuffed with tripods, hefty rucksacks filled with lenses, maps and satnav machines and the detritus of family living.