At low speeds comes confirmation that the Mazda 5 rides well and proves reasonably agile and comfortable - then again, you would expect nothing less from a well-sorted car in this class.
The fact that its pedals and steering are consistently weighted adds to the ease with which it can be stroked along. Up the speeds and the moderately comfortable ride continues, though it isn’t backed by the feel of sophisticated suppleness one gets in, say, the Grand C-Max or even the Peugeot 5008. However, the 5 can easily outpoint Citroën’s C4 Grand Picasso, whose focus on comfort comes at the expense of any body control – and that, conversely, makes it somewhat tiring to drive smoothly.
You would expect a medium MPV, as a family car, to have little to offer the keener driver, but the 5008 and Grand C-Max both show that this doesn’t have to be the case. And the 5? Again, it’s not up to the standards of those two, but it’s comfortably the third most rewarding car in the class. Its electrically assisted steering is accurate and, at 3.0 turns lock to lock, as direct as you would want it to be. It’s stable around the straight ahead, then both steering response and weight build gradually and with satisfying linearity.
There’s not the same level of interaction as there is in the Ford or Peugeot, so it is an inert but not displeasing car to drive spiritedly. It’s a shame that the 5 seems to have lost some of its character, though.