Review by it
Monday, May 16, 2016
- Looks different than the mainstream MPVs
- Decent luggage space
- Comfortable and versatile
- Firm suspension
- Uneconomical engines
- Tyres deteriorate quicker than normal
Mazdas first attempt at creating a 7-seater MPV was received without ovations. Although technically it could compete with Vauxhall Zafira and Renault Espace, the bland visual appearance and the strange name (Premacy) left it sitting somewhere on the outskirts of the MPV market. With the next generation MPV they apparently took the 'nothing to lose' approach and designed an aggressive looking car, gave it a simpler name and followed their new corporate style. All in all, they introduced the Mazda 5.
Exterior and Interior
In 2005 when the new Mazda5 appeared, the family MPVs offered by European manufacturers were more or less boring and bland. Having understood that the old Premacy didn't offer them enough power to compete in the vibrant MPV market, they decided to offer something entirely new in a hope that it would create its own dedicated following. And it did. The Mazda5 is perceived as a sportier and more aggressive MPV and it certainly attracts people who are not amused by the placid looks of other people carriers.
The 5 is based on the Ford Focus platform which is also shared by the Ford i-Max and Volvo S40. It is a well-built, flexible platform that allows the company to build various vehicles efficiently, thus cutting costs and being able to compete in the market. Considering they didn't have to spend a fortune on developing the technical side of the Mazda5, they had more time to concentrate on developing the cabin.
The car is advertised as 6+1 seating scheme. The 2nd row of seats can take 3 passengers but the middle seat is narrow and most of the time it will spend in a split state acting as convenient arm-rests. Just like the old Peugeot 806, the Mazda5 features sliding doors making it very convenient to reach the seats or load cargo. It's probably better to adjust the seating scheme to say 4+3 because the rear row is only good for kids.
The quality of trim is good on newer cars but it soon deteriorates developing rattles and squeaks.
Performance and Economy
There is quite a difference between the advertised mileage figures and what you can achieve in reality. The 1.8-litre petrol engine should be able to do 37mpg, the 2.0-litre 34mpg and the diesel around 44mpg. However, you'll need to adjust your expectations as the fuel economy suffers further when the tires deteriorate or if you choose a car with an auto gearbox.
If the main reason for choosing an MPV is economy, the Mazda 5 probably isn't the best choice as the French models will offer a much better efficiency. However, compared to its European competitors, the Mazda 5 is quicker. Its aggressive image is backed by good hearty engines and the car can achieve decent acceleration even when fully loaded. It also feels confident on a motorway.
Like to Drive
It's a comfortable car if you don't try to accommodate 7 adults. The flexibility of the cabin is spot on and the seats can be manipulated to create an acceptable arrangement. It looks sporty and it certainly feels sporty. Thanks to its lower roofline and more active engines, the 5 provides a more acceptable acceleration than most of the European people carriers. The main compromise on being sporty is the firm suspension. Yes, the car will feel nice around tight corners and roundabouts, but the thing is family cars are rarely raced around corners and bends. It has to deliver a smooth and comfortable ride and in the case of the Mazda5, it falls short on the promise. The firm suspension can create issues with the comfort level.
Faults and Repairs
Although the plastic parts are soft and well-built, the textile details can be easily destroyed by children or dogs. You have to pay extra attention if you want to keep your Mazda's cabin in a good nick.The car is very unkind with the tires and there's very little you can do apart from buying new tyres regularly or rebuilding the suspension. The engines and drive gear are reliable and well-built, so it's more likely your visits to the dealer garage will be limited to fixing minor electrical faults.