Long-term tests

Mazda 5: First report

A growing family needs a bigger car. So after a 2 supermini and 3 hatch, the 5 MPV is the next Mazda for us to test!

  • Powered sliding side doors come as standard in Sport trim, and they can be operated from the driver’s seat using switches on the centre console. A button on the fob even allows you to open and close the passenger side door remotely – a surefire way to get car park attention!
  • Disappointingly, the 5 misses out on a USB port for connecting my iPod – it just has an aux-in socket, like the 3 did. In addition, the plug is on the centre console, where it’s impossible to avoid a messy tangle of wires. I dare not leave the music player connected when the car is unattended, either, as it’s an open invitation to thieves.
Saying goodbye to a car you’ve grown attached to is always hard, but it’s a lot easier when a shiny new replacement 
is ready to slide into place! 
The time has come for me to say a fond farewell to our long- term Mazda 3, but I’m furthering my experience of the brand by swapping it for a 5 MPV. That makes it a hat-trick, as my relationship with the Japanese firm started back in June 2009 when a green Mazda 2 arrived 
in the Auto Express car park. 
It suited me down to the ground as I nipped between my North London home and the Auto Express office in central London. With perfect timing, 
it was swapped for the 3 hatch not long after I started a family and moved out of the city last June. And over the past 11 months, the 148bhp 2.2-litre diesel Sport has become a close and trusted friend for myself 
and daughter Daisy. But just 
as she is growing, so are my motoring needs, and the 5 could be the ideal solution.
So far, I’ve barely had the people carrier long enough to 
use a tank of fuel, 
but I’ve been eagerly awaiting its arrival 
– and that’s not something I ever thought I’d be writing about a seven-seater! While I’m a big 
fan of the 3 – with 
its sleek styling, generous equipment list and superb economy – the Mazda 5 has even more gadgets and space. 
I’ve been most excited about its extra load height, as Daisy 
has recently celebrated her first birthday and seems to get heavier by the day. Being able to lift 
her out of the people carrier with a straight back is already proving to be easier than bending into a low-slung hatchback… especially as the sliding rear doors open electrically.
The extra boot space is sure to come in handy, too, as the 3’s small 300-litre load area was its biggest weakness in my book. Our road test team highlighted this when they first put the five-door through its paces, and we have regularly filled it to the brim – or even taken a bigger car instead. In contrast, our buggy slides into the 5 with room to spare for the bags of baby-related kit that young parents invariably haul around with them.
I thought I’d miss the agile handling and lively responses 
of the 3, but, while the 5 is 
no sports car, it doesn’t drive 
like a tall-riding people carrier, either. Its gearbox has a familiar rifle-bolt action, and I also recognise its alert responses 
from behind the wheel. 
I’ll keep you posted on the 
fuel returns, but if the latest addition to our long-term fleet can get anywhere near matching the 41.4mpg economy of its predecessor – and replicate its incredible reliability and dependability – I know that 
the latest step up the Mazda ladder won’t disappoint.

Second Opinion

“It’s great to use a car as its designers intended, and the Mazda comes into its own when you start to use all of its seats. The electric doors sound like a gimmick, but their quiet operation is more pleasant for occupants when they’re being shut. Manual sliding doors tend to slam loudly.”

Ross Pinnock, Road test editor

Most Popular

Driving test update to preserve the manual gearbox
Dacia Duster gear lever
News

Driving test update to preserve the manual gearbox

With more drivers learning in autos and electric cars, the DVSA is looking to update the driving test so people can still drive manuals in future
16 Jun 2021
UN report highlights ethical problems with electric cars
Electric car charging
News

UN report highlights ethical problems with electric cars

Analysis reveals lithium refining takes 65 per cent of Chilean region’s water, while 40,000 child miners dig for cobalt in DRC
14 Jun 2021
Fiat 500 vs MINI Electric vs Honda e
Fiat 500 vs Honda e vs MINI Electric
Car group tests

Fiat 500 vs MINI Electric vs Honda e

The new Fiat 500, MINI Electric and Honda e are three retro-inspired electric superminis - but which is best?
19 Jun 2021
New Audi Q4 e-tron 2021 review
Audi Q4 e-tron 2021  front
Audi Q4 e-tron

New Audi Q4 e-tron 2021 review

We get involved with the new all-electric Audi Q4 e-tron SUV on UK roads for the first time
17 Jun 2021
Ineos Grenadier prototype 2022 review
Ineos Grenadier prototype
Ineos Grenadier 4x4

Ineos Grenadier prototype 2022 review

Can the Ineos Grenadier really fill the mud-splattered void left by the old Land Rover Defender? We take a first drive in a prototype to find out...
15 Jun 2021
Fan-designed Ford Puma ST Gold Edition revealed
Fan-designed Ford Puma ST Gold Edition
Ford Puma

Fan-designed Ford Puma ST Gold Edition revealed

Ford unveils a special edition Puma ST, with a black and gold colour scheme chosen by Ford fans over social media
18 Jun 2021
New Nissan Qashqai 2021 review
Nissan Qashqai 2021
Nissan Qashqai

New Nissan Qashqai 2021 review

We get behind the wheel of the larger, more comfortable and higher-tech Nissan Qashqai SUV in the UK
16 Jun 2021
New 2021 Vauxhall Astra to offer plug-in hybrid power
Vauxhall Astra render
Vauxhall Astra

New 2021 Vauxhall Astra to offer plug-in hybrid power

The new Vauxhall Astra will get a plug-in hybrid powertrain and a more premium image - here’s how it could look
17 Jun 2021
New 2021 Hyundai Tucson N-Line hybrid and PHEV on sale now
Hyundai Tuscon N Line - front
Hyundai Tucson

New 2021 Hyundai Tucson N-Line hybrid and PHEV on sale now

Hyundai names price for new Tucson N-Line hybrid duo with plug-in offering 38 miles of electric running
18 Jun 2021
New Skoda Enyaq iV 2021 review
Skoda Enyaq iV 80 Sportline - front
Skoda Enyaq

New Skoda Enyaq iV 2021 review

The new Skoda Enyaq iV is the Czech firm’s first bespoke electric car and we've tested the full range on UK roads
10 Jun 2021
Tesla Model 3 police car all set for evaluation by UK emergency services
Tesla Model 3 police car - front
News

Tesla Model 3 police car all set for evaluation by UK emergency services

Tesla hopes to offer UK police forces a new zero-emission emergency responder option with the Model 3 police car
17 Jun 2021
Motorists think they can get away with driving offences due to lack of road police
police speed gun
News

Motorists think they can get away with driving offences due to lack of road police

Lack of road traffic police officers in the UK is making it easy for drivers to break the law, according to a survey of 15,500 British motorists
16 Jun 2021
'The hydrogen underdog disruptor is back in town'
Toyota Mirai opinion
Opinion

'The hydrogen underdog disruptor is back in town'

Mike Rutherford says hydrogen-powered cars could still be a frequent sight on UK roads
13 Jun 2021
New Mercedes-AMG S 63 spied in minimal camouflage
Mercedes-AMG S 63
Mercedes S-Class

New Mercedes-AMG S 63 spied in minimal camouflage

AMG will soon launch a tuned version of Mercedes’s flagship limousine, probably powered by a 603bhp twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 engine
18 Jun 2021