Mazda is finally getting serious about the midi-MPV market, still one of Europe’s fastest growing segments, with this replacement for the uncompetitive Premacy. The new Mazda 5 is a production version of last year’s MX-Flexa concept (right), and is based on the same platform as the Focus C-Max. But unlike its Ford sibling, the Japanese version will be a seven-seater, although the central seat in the middle row will be a small one, leading Mazda to brand the car as a ‘six plus one.’ The space for a third row of seats is created by a slight lengthening of the car compared to the C-Max, creating extra space both between the wheels and in the rear overhang.
Other advantages over the Ford include the 5’s practical sliding rear doors, and a second and third row of seats that fold almost flat to create a large load bay.
Petrol engine options will be a 1.8- and 2.0-litre, while the 2.0 diesel could be available in two states of tune – 119bhp and 134bhp.
The Mazda 5 won’t hit UK showrooms until autumn ’05, despite its world debut at the Paris Motor Show next month.