Published on January 13th, 2011 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
Mazda5 MPV Test Driven and Appreciated
There are generally two types of MPV buyers.Those looking for ‘volume of space’ and those looking for ‘value for money’. Generally most Asians tend to think that volume it better than value and so that is why we have so many huge Japanese made MPV’s being driven around by pint sized Asians ferrying 2 to 3 kids at the most. Very rarely do you see afully loaded large MPV on the road as generally their owners have a fewvehicles in the house and this ‘family bus’ is more for transporting the kidsand for the idle housewife to spend time at coffee outlets in shopping malls. The practical middle class MPV buyers looks for value and hopes for style added in when their budget allocation is approved for a MPV buy. This month we are test driving the next generation Mazda5 MPVand as you can see here, its basic profile has changed very little and instead Mazda designers have looked at refining its sheet metal and uplifting the interiorin line with the needs of the segment purchase.
We liked the new ‘nagare’ design lines alongthe sides but worried about the aftermarket accident repair problems that will surface when it came time to do panel beating after some possible city dents and dings. Otherwise it is thumbs up for the overall exterior.
Step inside and the feel, finish and form ofthe cabin are 1st rate. There is no shortage of bells and whistles and we get very comfortable behind the multi-function steering wheel. Instruments are clear and stylish and hints to Mazda’s continued pursuit of providing for a true driver centric cockpit no matter what the segment.
Middle row passengers still get power sliding doors that work with a click of the handle to open and close and the captain seats are very comfortable. There are air conditioning vents now in the middle row that send cool air to the rear of the cabin with no issue.
Third row seats are good up to teenager size and fold flat to offer good luggage room. The independent second-row seats can be reclined up to 50 degrees, have 270mm of forward-rear slide adjustment, and feature a double folding mechanism that makes it easy to fold the seat backs forward. The third-row seats adopt a 50:50 split design with seat backs that can easily be folded forward. Wider front row seatbacks improve comfort. The updated karakuri seventh seat has been made larger. The new karakuri seat also accommodates a child seat, which means child seats can now be attached to all three seats in the second row at the same time. And along with the karakuri utility box, thereare easily accessed storage spaces positioned throughout the cabin that can stow away a wide variety of items.
The upgraded MZR 2.0 engine employs Sequential Valve Timing (S-VT) and an electronic throttle to realize a torquey yet smooth drive. Revised control logic and optimized calibration improve fuel economy and emissions control. A revised 5-speed automatic transmission is equipped with the Active Adaptive Shift (AAS) function which is also used in the Mazda RX-8 and MX-5.
AAS features slope control, which determines the grade of the road and automatically selects the optimum gear with which to traverse it. Also recognizing winding roads and a variety of driving scenes, it selects the optimum shift point to deliver a linear and lively feel to the driving experience.
On the open road this Mazda5 drives and feels like a sedan car with good handling and cornering even when pushed a little. The engine produces a decent 142hp and 180Nm of torque driving through a smooth shifting 5-speed semi auto gearbox. Safety kit has not be ignored in this Mazda5 with ABS brakes with EBD to help keep the Mazda5 on course when harder braking is needed on our wet and bumpy roads. The 2.0-liter DOHC engine comes with variable valve timing technology and it focuses more on low-end torque, an important factor in a people carrier. With our six passengers and luggage on board this Mazda5 could haul us up a hill and keep up with fast moving traffic on the open highway when needed. Being a family vehicle, the Mazda5 is not designed for traffic light sprints and highway racers and still it provides for decent acceleration and pace and so it adds up to a family vehicle that does all that is designed for in spades and provides for this at an asking price that makes it a better option than the average sedan. The Mazda5 inherits the NCAP 5 rating of its predecessor, has a three-point seat belt in every seat, and SRS airbags for the driver and front passenger. ISOFIX points and top anchor points for child seats are also available.
Seven colours are available – Clear Water Blue, Copper Red, Aluminium Metallic, Stormy Blue, Crystal White Pearl, Metropolitan Grey and Brilliant Black.
At its current price, you will find it difficult to find such good build quality and interior in the competition. Definitely its competitor will be worried after their own evaluation and we are happy to say that this Mazda5 is a level up on all of them. For a family of six, which has an active life, the Mazda5 will not disappoint. Better to take your own family test drive and feel the difference the Mazda5 offers to this crowded segment.
Mazda5 MPV Specification
Engine: DOHC CVVT
Max power: 142hp @ 6500rpm
Max torque: 180Nm @ 4500rpm
Top Speed: 185km/h as tested
Transmission:5-speed Active Adaptive Shift
Safety features: Dual airbags, ABS, EBD