This car has been superseded by a newer model, click here to go to the latest Mazda 5 (10-15) review.

Parkers overall rating: 4 out of 5 4.0

With a choice of 115bhp 1.8-litre and 145bhp 2.0-litre petrol engines, the seven-seat Mazda5 feels lively enough out on the road – the 2.0-litre particularly so. 2.0-litre diesel models are available in 110bhp or 143bhp versions and both pull exceptionally well. In fact the outputs are so similar that there’s little to distinguish the higher powered model in terms of driving.

High-power petrol and diesel engines are only available in Sport specification, while the lower power variants are in TS and TS2 trim. Both petrol models have a five-speed manual transmission and you will find yourself shifting through the gears more on the 1.8-litre on more challenging roads but probably won’t feel much different from the more powerful 2.0-litre against the clock.

The 2.0-litre petrol is swifter, but also more relaxed and surprisingly refined. The diesel units are both fitted with a new six-speed gearbox which is slick shifting, but really needs constant use to keep in the powerband.

Developed from the Mazda3, the Mazda5 has similar appeal for those who enjoy driving. It will turn in crisply and directly, with little hint of body roll and with excellent feedback through the steering wheel. Few people carriers can be driven with such enthusiasm, although the more compact Ford Focus C-MAX still has the edge in this department. The Mazda5 will please those drivers who perhaps resent the fact that they have to drive an MPV to meet the needs of home life but when they drive alone, they can still have some (moderate) fun.