Mazda 5 TS2 2.0 litre

Mazda's 5 is affordable, well built with good handling and steering

  • Affordable price, well built cabin, logical dash, seat layout, handling, communicative steering
  • Middle seat is too cramped, sluggish engine, nondescript styling, not as modern as Citroen

The Best Compact MPV in our New Car Honours this year, the Mazda 5 has firmly placed the Japanese firm on the family car radar. From a style point of view, it has a clean look that, although not groundbreaking, is modern and inoffensive.

But the most noticeable feature is the sliding doors, which are unique in this segment. They make access to the second and third rows easy, although the outer middle chairs don’t slide out of the way as cleverly as they do in the C4. The rear seats offer similar space to the Picasso, and also pop up and down with ease.

However, the 5 has a unique ‘6+1’ seating layout that differentiates it from other class contenders. The two chairs in the middle row slide, recline and fold flat, and both have lift-up bases: the right hand one concealing extra storage, while the left contains a cushion, which flips out to form the base for the seventh seat. The central armrest then doubles as a back support.

This middle chair is only really for temporary use, because it’s too narrow and firm to be comfortable. But with a wheelbase 22mm longer than the C4’s, legroom is good, while a flat floor and decent headroom further improve accommodation. Solid build quality and decent materials also impress.

Ford Focus-based underpinnings mean the 5 is pleasant to drive, offering agile handling and a decent ride. The engine disappoints, though – it’s slow to respond in lower gears and feels breathless compared to its rivals. Nevertheless, the 5 is functional and handles well, while its price tag offers good value, too.

Details

Price: £16,850Model tested: Mazda 5 TS2 2.0 litre/108bhpChart position: 3WHY: The Mazda 5 is offered with two petrol engines and a diesel in 108bhp or 143bhp guises. We test the lower power oil-burner here in mid-range TS2 trim. The Japanese machine is by far the cheapest of our quartet, and is unique in the compact MPV class as it’s the only model available that features sliding rear doors.

Economy

A light kerbweight and low 0.29Cd drag factor should benefit the 5, but the Mazda is let down by a dated diesel that’s sluggish and needs working hard. The result is a poor 33.8mpg at the pumps.

Residuals

Mazda’s reputation is growing in the used market. The 5 will be worth 45.6 per cent after three years. This low-output diesel performs better than the 143bhp version, but the top performer is the entry-level TS.

Servicing

Despite only having 159 dealers, when it comes to servicing, the Mazda’s outlay of £480 for three THISvisits is the lowest here. As with the Citroen and Ford, intervals are every 12,500 miles.

Tax

IT has the highest output at 173g/km, so the 5 sits in the 24 per cent tax bracket, but a sub-£17,000 price tag means the Mazda is the second cheapest company choice. Low-rate users will pay £884 a year.

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