As one of the most affordable seven-seaters in this year’s tests, we were looking forward to testing the Mazda 5. It turned out to be an okay tow car rather than a really good one, with a disappointing towing limit.
Stability at 60mph was acceptable, and the sensitive steering helped the driver make small corrections easily. However, the Mazda was out of sorts in the lane-change test, noticeably pushed around by the van.
The 1.6-litre engine may be small, but with 199lb.ft of torque it was strong enough to pull the outfit from 30-60mph in 20.4 seconds. Most judges found acceleration to be acceptable up to 60mph, but the Mazda struggled to go much quicker, especially into a headwind.
So long as the handbrake was pulled firmly, it stopped the Mazda rolling back on the test hill. However, it took a careful balance of clutch and throttle to reach the top. The smell from the clutch showed just how hard the 5 found reversing back up the other side of the hill.
Inside, the flexible cabin offers a variety of seating arrangements with no need to remove the seats first, although the centre seat in the second row is hard and uncomfortable.
Fold the third row away and there
is plenty of luggage space.