Mazda5 - Used Car

Review

Mazda5 Venture, front
Mazda5 Venture, side
Mazda5 Venture, rear
Mazda5 Venture
Mazda5 Venture, rear
Mazda5 Venture, cargo area
Mazda5 Venture, interior

THESE days, most of the medium and large people carriers on the market are good to drive.

But that wasn't always the case and some were let down in the handling department, whilst still not having the best ride comfort.

One that always stuck out for me because it was such a marvellous driver's car, meant that mum or dad could enjoy its wide range of abilities when they were on their own, and the whole family could enjoy the space and safety the rest of the time.

The car in question is the Mazda5 MPV - not to be confused with the MX-5 sportscar.

When it first came out, the 5 was head and shoulders above the rest in most ways and it can still match some on the market today, even though it's been out of production since 2015.

Based on the class-leading Mazda6 of the time - a great starting point - power comes from the same 1.8 and 2.0-litre petrol engines with 113 and 147bhp, or from a 1.6 diesel with 113bhp.

The 2.0-litre accelerates to 60mph from rest in 10.6 seconds and is still capable of 40 miles per gallon, while the 1.8, which was only available in lowliest TS trim, is much slower and less economical.

The diesel was, if my memory serves me correctly, bought in from Peugeot and so is a fair unit - especially with economy of 54mpg.

But it is pretty slow, taking a yawnworthy 13.3 seconds to reach the magic 60mph.

The 2.0-litre petrol is the one to go for if you want to enjoy your driving. It's a smooth and wonderful sounding power unit, that's also quiet and refined at low revs.

Where it really stands out is in road-holding and handling, which are excellent for a high sided vehicle, with brilliant grip, excellent steering and very good balance despite some lean.

It really is a joy to drive quickly on a country road, with good response from the engine and very good comfort over most surfaces.

There are three rows of seats in a 2-2-2 pattern but when a seventh person needs space, a narrower centre seat folds out ingeniously in the middle row. This really makes it a six plus one rather than a seven seater.

The centre row is 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 and top Venture spec gets sat nav, leather upholstery, reversing camera and up-rated sound system.

The Mazda5 is immensely practical and family friendly but it's also really good to drive. It's such a good all-rounder, I still make it one of the best in class up to 2016.

Pay £9,900 for a range topping '16 16-reg Sport Venture 2.0-litre petrol, or £5,800 for a '14 14-reg 1.6d Venture.

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