Mazda riding the

wave

Mazda5, rear
Mazda5, boot
Mazda5, upright
Mazda5, interior
Mazda5, seats
Mazda5, head on
Mazda5, side
Mazda5, sliding doors
Mazda5, front

THERE is a new design language on the streets and it is called Nagare.

Nagare styling will become a familiar sight on UK roads because it is the latest look of Mazda models and the first to sport it is the new Mazda5 seven-seater which is in the showrooms this month.

Inspired by the flowing elements found in nature, the flanks of the new 5 are sculpted in a beautifully formed wave which is a real attention getter and the core look of Nagare.

Mazda has wisely taken the view not to allow its people carrier to become too humdrum and pedestrian in looks and boldly set forth to make a statement which really might put the company of the crest of a new wave of success.

And this injection of the wow factor is much needed in the compact MPV sector because some of the latest crossover designs are better looking than some people carriers and steal a fair amount of thunder from this more traditional breed.

And the new 5 has to work hard against established competitors from the likes of Ford and Vauxhall so it will be interesting to see how it fares in a demanding and complex market.

In fact Mazda do not call it a compact MPV at all but a multi-activity vehicle which can be used for lugging sports gear, work gear and family and friends in various combinations of the three.

It improves on the previous 5 with a vastly better interior and features including large sliding rear side doors to provide exceptional access in tight spaces.

Priced from £17,695 to £21,495 OTR the 5 comes with a choice of three powertrains - a 2.0-litre DISI petrol (150ps), a 1.8-litre petrol (115PS) and a 1.6-lite turbo diesel (115ps), all with six-speed manual transmissions delivering up to 54.3mpg and 138g/km of CO2.

I was able to drive two of them before they hit the showrooms and both were smooth and refined.

Although a diesel was not available, my preference was the 1.8 petrol because it was ahead on flexibilty without prejudicing performance.

However, the 2.0-litre does have high economy credentials with a 14.2% boost in combined mpg at 40.9 and CO2 emissions drop a full 15% to 159g/km over the outgoing engine of this capacity.

Mazda feel that this is their best shot ever at a vehicle for the families of today but it has another feather in its cap - it is as engaging and enjoyable to drive as some premium saloons. And that can be no bad thing in a compact MPV.

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