"Fleet operators and company car drivers have taken to Mazda in record number in 2004 and the expansion of our product line-up will enable the company to access even more corporate choice lists in 2005."
The saloon-like design of the instrument panel and sweeping line of its upper section provide a clear view that former saloon drivers will find immediately familiar and comfortable. The centre of the dashboard is raised to position the controls where the driver can easily reach them, as well as improving visibility and operation.
Despite its roominess and flexibility the Mazda5 is just 85mm (3.35 inches) longer than the compact Mazda3 five door model and 155mm (6.1 inches) higher, while the width is the same on both cars.
The decision to fit large sliding doors on both sides not only aids space, but is also a significant safety feature as they do not swing out too far and are also easy to operate in parking spaces and other tight locations.
Every detail of the Mazda5 body was designed to deliver the rigidity needed for a comfortable ride with minimal NVH, as well as providing solid footing on the road at all times, despite the wide openings for the sliding side doors and large tailgate in the rear.
Mazda's own highly rigid, collision-safe Mazda Advanced Impact Distribution and Absorption System (MAIDAS), body is greatly evolved to match the characteristics of the Mazda5's body design.
The outstanding level of crash safety was achieved as a result of strenuous testing under tougher conditions than the regulations and standards of each market. The goal was not only excellent scores in standard tests such as Euro NCAP, but also an ability to protect passengers in a variety of real-life accidents.
The airbag supported supplemental restraint systems provide high levels of protection for all occupants, from the front and side airbags for the driver and front seat passenger, to a new airbag curtain large enough to protect passengers in all three rows of seats.
Regarding active safety, the Mazda5’s advanced safety systems include a four-wheel antilock braking system (4W-ABS) with electronic brakeforce distribution system (EBD), and Mazda's own dynamic stability control system (DSC). Mechanical brake assistance boosts the brake pedal force applied by the driver in the event of an emergency to ensure a shorter stopping distance.
The driver is also well positioned to assure clear visibility, minimising blind spots and maximising the view through the side windows, making pedestrians, small children and other hazards easier to spot.
UK specification and prices will be announced closer to the Mazda5’s launch date, but Mr Pumfrey concluded: "There is no doubt that the new model broadens the appeal of the Mazda ‘zoom-zoom’ brand attributes - stylish, insightful and spirited driving performance - insightful engineering with a ‘stylish and clean’ appeal.’Published 23 February 2005