For 2008 Mazda has worked hard to improve their interior finishes and materials and this helped to lift the interior ambience of the cabin.
There are two switches on the dashboard to control the opening and closing of the rear doors. They can also be isolated to stop rear passengers from opening the doors electrically. Once the car is unlocked you can also remotely control the kerbside door from the key fob. We did try stopping the doors whilst they were shutting, with mixed results used sensibly they make a welcome addition the versatility of the Mazda5. The best thing about the sliding doors is that you can park in tight spaces without the fear of damage to the doors.
Our test car was a top of the range Sport Nav model and was fitted with a reversing camera which aids you into those tight spaces with ease. There are two main modes, one to help reverse park and the other to help you parallel park. It utilises the 7” TFT colour screen of the navigation system to give you a live image of what is behind the car. It also shows where the car will end up given the current steering input, if you play with the steering wheel you target where you want the car to travel. In the parallel parking mode, it guides you in to park between two cars at the kerb side. Again, you can move the steering wheel to see if you will fit into the available space. We are not too sure if the rear-view parking camera is a clever addition or not it does not seem that safe to look at a front facing screen when reserving, we felt as though you were losing your peripheral vision and senses. Of course you should not rely on the camera alone; it is there as a guide but how many people are just going to look at the screen. Ideally the rear-view parking camera would come with front and rear parking sensors as standard; they can be specified at an extra £549.99.
Our car was fitted with a DVD touch-screen Satellite Navigation system and rear view parking camera. The navigation is touch screen and you can enter post codes to set destinations and way points. There is TMC but we did not seem to be able to get this to work in the West Country. TMC is designed to inform you of slow moving traffic, accidents and road works on your planned route and then give you the option of re-plotting your route around the problem. If you do not need the navigation system/reverse parking camera then you can save yourself £1650 and opt for just the Sport Model.
There is a six CD auto-changer which is MP3 compatible and you can plug your MP3/iPod player into an auxiliary jack and 12V socket located under the gear lever. We plugged our iPod in and then all we had to do was select AUX on the touch screen display - simple and the sound quality was good.
The audio system controls work through the navigation system either by touching the screen or via buttons. We did have some trouble with the radio, working out how to tune it in and it wanted to lose RDS FM stations, despite having AF set - maybe it was just us.
The pre-face lifted Mazda5 scored a family friendly five stars in the Euro NCAP crash tests; there is no reason to believe this model would be any different. It would have been nice to see Dynamic Stability Control as standard on all models throughout the range (it is only standard on the Sport models). Although front, side and curtain airbags are standard plus you get ABS brakes, a Thatcham category 1 alarm and engine immobiliser.
For 2008 Mazda has worked hard to improve their interior finishes and materials and this helped to lift the interior ambience of the cabin. The build quality was up there with the best and everything was well put together.
The 2008 improvements have made the Mazda5 a quieter and more refined car and it remains a versatile, practical family car that is great for ferrying the kids around. With its ride height and sliding rear doors it could also make the ideal car for those with mobility problems and disabilities - therefore the Mazda5 comes highly recommended.20 August 2008
Mazda Mazda5 Road Test Data
|Model Reviewed||Mazda Mazda Mazda5 2.0 Diesel Sport Nav|
|Colour||Galaxy Grey Mica|
|Performance (manufacturers data)|
|0 - 62 mph||11 Seconds|
|Top Speed||122 mph|
|CO2 Emissions (NEDC Figures)||g/km|
|Economy (NEDC Figures)|
|Extra Urban||52.3 mpg|
|Euro NCAP Rating||5|
|Warranty||3-Years / 60,000 Miles|
|Price (when tested on the 20/08/08)||£20,555|