Review: Mazda 5 (2005 – 2010)
Sliding side doors, can carry seven people in comfort, well styled, rearmost seats fold flat into the floor, five-star crash test rating.
Some problems with excessive tyre wear on Sport models, diesels can use a lot of oil while they're bedding in.
Mazda 5 (2005 – 2010): At A Glance
The Mazda5 is a people carrier that ticks nearly every box on the compact MPV wishlist and is still affordable and stylish. It's certainly one of the better looking MPVs around and far less boxy than many alternatives the same size. However, it's real selling point is the sliding rear side doors, making getting in and out - even in tight sports such as multi-storey car parks - easy and dent-free.
Mazda has created a 6+1 seating system and it’s the middle row which differentiates it from the others. There are two individual chairs that slide, recline and fold flat, while both have lift-up bases which conceal extra storage. To create the all important seventh seat, the left-hand chair also contains an extra flip-up cushion, while the central armrest doubles as the back support. It's clever stuff and it works well.
Build quality is good in the 5 and the interior feels strong and robust, evident in the folding seat mechanism. There's plenty of space inside and the third row offers considerably more space than most other people carriers this size with really impressive headroom. And it's equally as good on the move. The Mazda is based on the same platform as the Ford Focus and it shows – turn in is sharp and the handling is agile while body control is very good indeed.
It was facelifted in 2008 with a slightly different nose while all the engines were made more efficient while a revised version of the 2.0-litre petrol engine was launched. However, the best engine remains the 2.0-litre diesel with 143PS and a positive six-speed manual gearbox.
What does a Mazda 5 (2005 – 2010) cost?
Mazda 5 (2005 – 2010): What's It Like Inside?
- Boot space is 112 litres
The 6 + 1 idea involves a gap between the two centre row seats into which either a narrow centre seat base can be swung from inside the left seat base, or a console tray with a suspended oddments bag from inside the right seat base. The Japanese call this idea, and indeed any idea that is unexpected yet well thought out, "karakuri".
Behind these seats is another pair, really only of use for children who do not need booster seats or for very small adults, that can be easily accessed by a lever that slides each centre seat forward. These rearmost seats can be individually collapsed at the pull of a tab to create more luggage space.
But that's not all. The centre row centre seatback can be folded down as an armrest or folded and twisted to poke things like surfboards or skis through. Both the front and centre row seats slide, so legroom can be fairly distributed for all three rows. The front seatbacks can be folded right down to meet the rear seat squabs so they can become beds. The centre seatbacks also recline, making it more comfortable to sleep on a journey. And the centre row can be quickly re-convoluted to create a flat load floor, admittedly with a small hole in it.
The sliding side doors not only make entry and exit easier in confined spaces like multi-storey carparks, they also allow the ‘bum first' entry method favoured by anyone with a stiff back. And, of course, they make it easier for a disabled driver to sling a wheelchair in behind him.
Additional thoughtful touches include oversize door mirrors giving a good view along the sides (very important for spotting small children on the school run). If you opt for the excellent but expensive DVD satnav, you get a colour rear camera that automatically displays the view behind with an outline of the vehicle on the satnav screen whenever you select reverse. The split cubby behind the parking brake has a tray perfect for any size of mobile phone, including the fat new PDA size ones. There are bottle holders all over the place (at least eight). A rubberised dash shelf is useful for phones or pens.
The satnav used to pop up like a carbuncle on top of the dash, but now has been pleasingly integrated and works by voice command, by toggle switch or by touch screen and still turns into the screen for a reversing camera when parking.
There's better soundproofing. Better brakes. Air intake damping to cut the noise from that. The dials now glow white on a black background making them easier to read. The CD player is MP3 compatible and has an AUX jack. And on some versions, the rear side doors are now electric so you can open or close them with buttons on the key or on the dash as well as by the handles.
As if that wasn't enough, on ‘Sports' versions you now get a ‘Sports Appearance Pack' that adds a winged grille design, new front bumper with spoiler, pointed foglights, sports side sills and white rear lamp clusters with LED turn and stop lights. And you can go for an extra cost Luxury pack that brings you the aforementioned electric sliding rear side doors, xenon headlights and black leather trim, for a slightly eye-popping £1,750 (but remember, that's for six and a half leather seats). All get new look headlights and tail lights and five new paint finishes.
Standard equipment from launch (2005):
TS models gets driver and passenger front airbags, front side airbags, full-length curtain airbags, Isofix child seat anchorages, a Thatcham Category 1 anti-theft alarm and immobiliser, 15-inch steel wheels with 195/65 R15 tyres, body-coloured bumpers, electric door mirrors, remote central locking, electric front windows, manual air-conditioning, power-assisted steering, charcoal black cloth trim, height & reach adjustable steering wheel, height adjustable driver’s seat with armrest, front centre console with storage and cup holders, radio/dingle CD audio system, auxiliary input plus an underboot floor storage box.
Takura adds 16-inch alloy wheels with 205/55 R16 tyres, body-coloured door handles, side mouldings, mirror housings, black roof-rails, privacy glass, front fog lamps, SAP (Sports Appearance clear lens) rear lamps, electric front and rear windows, electric and heated door mirrors, global opening/closing for all windows, driver’s seat adjustable lumbar support, folding picnic tables (back of front seats), a leather steering wheel and gear knob, second row outer armrests, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, overhead console with sunglasses holder, Karakuri storage box and a chrome gear knob trim.
Furano has 17-inch alloy wheels with 205/50 R17 tyres, Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) and Traction Control System (TCS), sports styling Kit, sports-styled LED rear lights, trip computer, cruise control, dusk-sensing auto-lights, rain sensing auto-wipers, climate control, six CD autochanger, hands-free kit with voice control and integrated Bluetooth, electric sliding rear doors plus black leather trim.
Child seats that fit a Mazda 5 (2005 – 2010)Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.
What's the Mazda 5 (2005 – 2010) like to drive?
So what is this paragon of versatility like to drive? The 2.0 litre petrol with a five-speed gearbox is quite low geared, giving around 21mph per 1,000 rpm, though this makes sense considering the loads it may sometimes be asked to haul along. Fortunately it's a smooth engine, so the revs aren't wearing at motorway speeds.
The Mazda5 steers and handles very well indeed. More like a car than an MPV and the steering feedback is as good as a Mazda6. As a driver, you simply aren't conscious of the any difference in centre of gravity. Any breakaway you eventually experience will be at the front and even that is kept in check by the various electronic systems.
Both versions of the 2.0-litre diesel - the 110bhp and 143bhp - are geared at the same 35mph per 1,000rpm in 5th so offer a much more relaxed drive than the petrol engine, plus the steering is a bit more meaty too. The handling is excellent and the 143hp version has the same smooth grunt as it does in the Mazda 6, making it the most satisfying Mazda5 to drive. But the 110hp is far from a poor relation. It still gets a move on, cruises quietly at motorway speeds, and only shows its lack of power if you let the revs drop too low on hills, Since it starts £2,000 cheaper than the 143bhp Sport, it's likely to be the diesel of choice for taxi drivers.
Rather than think of the Mazda5 as an MPV that drives like a good car, it's probably better to think of it as a good car with the versatility of a very good MPV. If you like driving and you have a family but only want one car, then it does both jobs better than anything else.
There wasn't much wrong with the original 2005 Mazda 5. Sliding side doors, decent diesels and six-and-a-half seats. But there were a few niggles - no automatic, for one. This shortcoming has been addressed with a useful five-speeder that pulls reasonably relaxed and has a manual shifter.
Another criticism was fast and unevenly wearing tyres. Mazda had already partly overcome this by specifying just one special type of tyre: Dunlop SP Sport 2050s. But now the entire rear suspension has been redesigned, ostensibly to "optimise stability on motorways and curves." But really to eliminate once and for all the bugbear of excess tyre wear. To make absolutely sure, new, much stronger alloy wheels are also fitted.
The petrol engines have been given a touch more torque at low revs by means of en electronic throttle valve and sequential valve timing. The diesels emit slightly less CO2, pulling them down a tax band and are marginally more economical. The suspension changes have made the ride and handling better, but it would take 20,000 miles to tell you the effect on the tyres.
|1.8||38 mpg||11.3 s||179 g/km|
|2.0||36 mpg||10.2 s||187 g/km|
|2.0 Automatic||34 mpg||12.4 s||194 g/km|
|2.0 D||46 mpg||11.0–13.9 s||159 g/km|
Real MPG average for a Mazda 5 (2005 – 2010)
Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.
Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.
Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.
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Mazda 5 ABS pump failure
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