Top family transport

from Mazda

Mazda5 Venture
Mazda5 Venture, rear
Mazda5 Venture, side
Mazda5 Venture, sliding doors
Mazda5 Venture, interior
Mazda5 Venture, cargo area

THESEdays most of the medium and large people carriers on the market are good or very good to drive.

But one which is still head and shoulders above the rest for me is the Mazda5. This is a car that really shows you don't have to give up driving fun when your family grows.

Based on the class-leading Mazda6, power comes from its 1.8 and 2.0-litre petrol engines with 113 and 147bhp, or from a 1.6 diesel with 113bhp.

The 2.0-litre petrol is the one to go for if you enjoy driving. It really is a smooth and wonderful sounding power unit bringing very good performance.

Obviously, the diesel‘s economy is better - 54mpg as opposed to 40 - but it is a great deal slower.

Road holding and handling are excellent for a high sided vehicle, with brilliant grip and very good balance despite some lean.

There are three rows of seats in a 2-2-2 pattern but when a seventhperson needs space, a narrower centre seat folds out ingeniously in the middle row.

These seats are adjustable fore and aft, and access into the rear two is fine for kids. With all the rear seats folded, there is a huge flat load area.

The rearmost seats fold up out of the flat boot floor in one very light and easy movement and the rear doors slide easily open with one hand and close just as easily.

Equipment in all models includes air conditioning, four electric windows, electric mirrors and central locking, alloys, cruise and excellent seat and column adjustment.

TS2 models add rear parking sensors, bluetooth, automatic headlamps and wipers, while top Venture spec gets sat nav, reversing camera and up-rated sound system.

FAST FACTS

Price: Pay £7,850 for an '11 11-reg TS2 or £11,250 for a '13 13-reg Venture

Mechanical: 147bhp, 1,999cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed: 120mph

0-62mph: 11 seconds

Combined MPG: 40

Insurance Group: 16

C02 emissions: 159g/km

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