Mazda has launched some great cars of late, such as the Mazda6 saloon and Mazda CX-5 SUV – but its Mazda5 MPV is starting to look a bit outdated in comparison. The styling harks back to a previous generation of Mazdas and was apparently inspired by ‘water, wind and nature’ – with mixed results.
As you’d expect of an MPV, the Mazda5 gets a hugely practical cabin that has seven seats and a very versatile row of middle seats that can be configured several different ways depending on your needs. The central seat is quite small, however. The Mazda's sliding rear doors also offer a distinct advantage over conventional doors, so getting in and out should be easy no matter how tight the parking space.
Choosing an engine is easy (there are only two) and the 1.6-litre diesel is the one we’d go for. It isn’t fast, but it is economical, while the 2.0-litre petrol isn’t much quicker and is also a lot less frugal. It's starting to look old in a market now dominated by smaller petrols that are more efficient and just as quick.
Keeping up with the likes of the Ford S-MAX and even its Mazda CX-5 sibling, the Mazda5 is very good to drive and manages to limit the feeling that you’re driving a big MPV by having a good ride and loads of grip.
The Mazda5 comes in one trim level: Sport Venture. It's priced to match rivals like the Volkswagen Touran and Toyota Verso and gets climate control, cruise control, sat nav and big alloy wheels as standard. There are very few options on offer other than dealer-fit accessories.
The biggest issue with the Mazda5 is the car's age – it's now really getting on a bit and hard to recommend in the face of much newer rivals. Mazda stopped producing the 5 in February 2015 and it's set to be taken off UK price lists in September. The remaining dealer stock is expected to have all been sold before then, though, so if you really want one, you’ll need to be quick – and make sure you secure a significant discount, too.