The New 'Wave' Mazda 5 Seven-Seater (2012)

Mazda's compact MPV gets an aerodynamic wave on its flanks to help fuel efficiency and bring the company's latest design features to the model. New Mazda 5’s are available from £18,951.25 on the road and that includes the VAT fixed at 2010 rate.

Mazda has come along in leaps and bounds in the last five years, particularly as most of the models share similar platforms with Ford. The latest Mazda 5 sits on the same floor plan as the Ford Focus C-Max, which is arguably one of the best MPVs for sale today, and the Mazda 5's direct rival.

The new '5' has stepped up in taking typical 'van' characteristics and making them look more car-like. The new 'Wave' side panels are said to reduce the aerodynamic drag co-efficient, the air-swirl and to help the MPV pierce the air more cleanly, reducing fuel consumption in the process. Mazda's latest design 'language' is called Nagare and could well be seen across other models.

Mazda5

** Mazda 5 **

It's debatable whether the creases in the side doors actually help with fuel economy, but if you choose the gutsy 2.5 petrol engine, you'll want to recoup some of the fuel costs. There is a 1.8 petrol engine and Ford's dynamic 1.9TDi diesel, which is the pick of the bunch. There is a 1.4, but you would need to wring its neck to get up hills, especially if you have seven adults on-board.

The latest 2.0 petrol engine is said to reduce CO2 emissions by 15 per cent compared to the previous 2.0, and it comes with the latest 'stop & start' technology called i-stop, which shuts the engine off when waiting at traffic lights.

There is a Sport model which comes with a six-speed, slick manual gearbox that is a delight, and for the upper models there is a smooth-shifting five-speed automatic. There are safety features galore, such as a tyre-pressure monitoring system, electronic stability control, ABS, traction control and no less than six airbags.

Whether you choose the Sport, the Touring or the Grand Touring trim levels, there's enough standard kit to please most people. The top of the range Grand Touring model gets leather seats, satellite navigation, a power sunroof and an MP3-compatible CD player.

There are 50/50 split-folding seats which are laid out in three rows and are ultra versatile. The interior is solid and hard-wearing, and most importantly, long-lasting, meaning that it can take the wear and tear that comes with carrying push-chairs, kids and more.

As with previous Mazda 5 models, there are sliding rear doors, which are great for tight car-parking spaces, and a car-like driving position. Being based on the C-Max chassis, the driver can feel connected to the road and with this brings driver confidence. Having electronic leash of traction control and stability control helps to bolster the 'safe' feeling of driving the '5'.

We'll be seeing more of the 'Wave' exterior design with the new Mazda '6', which will be launched at the Geneva Motor Show. So if you're interested in the latest design from Mazda and a 7-seater people carrier, the Mazda 5 could be just the ticket.

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