Mazda 5 driven - What is it and what's it like inside?

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  • Updated version of Mazda's compact MPV
  • Looks smart and handles well
  • Many rivals have cleverer seats
No prizes for guessing that this is the latest version of Mazda’s compact MPV. So what’s changed?

Well, the most obvious tweaks are on the outside – the new car has been given the Mazda family face worn by the rest of its newer products such as the 3, and at the back, the light clusters now sit horizontally on the boot lid rather than being draped down the rear pillars.

A host of other minor tweaks have also been made, but the question is, can these tweaks make the 5 a serious competitor in the MPV market?

What’s it like inside?
Like most seven-seat MPVs, the 5 has two seats at the front, three in the middle row and two that fold out of the boot floor.

Let’s start with the good bits. The rearmost seats are easy to fold up and down, and they leave a totally flat boot floor when they’re stowed. The middle-row seats slide back and forth, and there’s so much travel in the runners that you can share out the available legroom to suit everybody, no matter which seat they’re in. The middle seat tips out of the way easily to give access to the back, and the sliding rear doors make getting in easy.

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However, while many rivals have three separate seats in the middle row, the Mazda’s middle seat folds out from the base of the seat next to it, and that makes it too narrow to be comfortable. Folding the middle row down is a pain, too, because you have to lift the seat bases out of the way, and remove the headrests. Plus, the huge travel in the sliding middle row leaves you with a well in the boot floor when the bench is folded, so it’s not completely flat.

Also, while there’s plenty of space in both the passenger compartment and the boot, it’s still not quite as roomy as some other compact MPVs.

Okay, so all that isn’t exactly disastrous – it’s just not as clever or as convenient as the seating systems in rivals such as the Peugeot 5008. The Mazda can’t match many rivals for cabin quality, either. While classy soft-touch plastics are the norm in most MPVs, the 5’s interior plastics are hard, unappealing and dour. The cabin does have a solidly built feel, though.

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Mazda 5 driven - What’s it like to drive?

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