When's it going?

The stylish and practical Mazda 5 gets a freshen up in January. Not only will there be new power sliding rear doors and automatic transmission options as is the fashion these days there will also be improved fuel consumption and reduced CO2 emissions. The current model couldn't be easier to live with or more useful, so why not buy one of those?

What's good about it?

Most of all the Mazda 5 looks really stylish. Whereas many people carriers look like vans, here you have a vehicle that doesn't scream, "I've got kids and no life." Indeed the Mazda 5 is also interesting to drive with a slightly sporting nature. It can be hustled through corners without making the children feel sick. The stylish looks are carried over to the interior with a clear instrument display and good old rotary knobs to adjust the heater and radio. Getting comfy is easy for the driver as the seat is height adjustable and the steering wheel also moves reach and rake. In practical terms you won't get better than the twin sliding rear doors. It is a doddle to get in and out especially in a tight car parking space.

Once inside, the rear passengers find two full-size seats that move forward and back independently and a slightly smaller centre one. In fact, this seat's base can fold away and the backrest either becomes an armrest or folds top one side, which allows access to the third row of seats. That back row can also be folded flat into the floor to create a large, flat boot.

Stowage space certainly isn't a problem as there are large bins beneath the two outer middle row seats. The level of equipment is impressive. All models have remote locking, electric front windows and door mirrors plus a CD player and air conditioning. Go for a TS2 and you get alloy wheels and electric windows in the rear. Sports have climate air conditioning, stability control and a six-disc CD. Being a Mazda is a good thing as reliability won't be an issue and neither will safety.

As well as seven three-point seatbelts there are six airbags including the curtain airbags that protect everyone in the vehicle.

What's bad about it?

Not much, really. Criticism has been made about the smaller petrol engine 1.8 being underpowered with a full load and a tad noisy. Also, the price you pay for that sporty handling is a firmer than usual ride that may not be comfy for everyone inside. Otherwise it is a pretty and practical compact people carrier.

How much?

Mazda is pushing the old 5 with several finance offers with a Hire 0 per cent APR Hire Purchase over three years with a minimum 50 per cent deposit and other variations on this theme, more details from your local dealer. They also have a special edition available.

The 2.0 Furano has a sporty specification that includes a body kit and leather trim, all for 16,995. Mazda dealers can make savings. Shires Mazda (01823 444 410) had a one-owner example for 15,995. Even better, the broker www.drivethedeal.com had a brand new Mazda 5 2.0 Furano at 15,481 and a 2.0d Furano for 16,910, saving 1,685.

Any snags?

The Mazda badge is a guarantee that mechanically you won't have any issues at all when it comes to reliability. Some users have pointed out that the quality of the plastics inside are not the best, and that means a hard-used family Mazda 5 could look scruffy sooner rather than later. There was just the one recall in 2006 when there was a minor issue about the diesel engine stalling.


Launched: 2005
Engine sizes: 1.8, 2.0, 2.0D (108), 2.0D, (141)
Performance: 2.0D (108) top speed 111 mph 0-60mph 12.9 seconds
Economy: 44.8 mpg
Safety: NCAP, 5 star

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