Car group tests

10. Mazda 5

Mazda 5

With its sliding rear doors and car-like driving experience, the ageing Mazda 5 is still a strong choice in the compact MPV market.

Mazda describes it as a 6+1 seater, with the central middle seat folding away easily to give easier access to the rearmost seats. With these two back seats in place, boot size is restricted to only 112 litres, and the car trails the class leaders when they’re folded away, as it offers 426 litres. But it scores on flexibility, with the middle row seats sliding back and forth, and then folding to give a maximum 1,485-litre capacity.

The 5 is sold only in Venture trim, and prices look expensive. But climate and cruise control, electric windows, Bluetooth and sat-nav are included for the money, while ESP, Isofix child seat mountings and a host of airbags boost safety.

The 113bhp 1.6-litre diesel engine delivers better fuel consumption than the 148bhp 2.0-litre petrol engine (54.3mpg versus 40.9mpg), but neither car has especially low emissions, so road tax bills will be steep. Still, Mazda’s reputation for reliability should mean problems are few and far between.

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