From £17,845
Diesel economy and torque makes this an improvement on the excellent petrol 5. Pick of the range.

What’s new?Fancy a Mazda 5 but don’t want petrol thirst? Mazda reckons a third of buyers do, and from early next year this oil-burner will be the answer. Like its entertaining chassis, the 5’s common-rail diesels come from its blue oval sister C-Max. But the seven-seat Mazda sticks to 1998cc and a slick six-speed manual for both high (141bhp) and low (108bhp) outputs while the five-seat C-Max makes do with five speeds and 1.6 litres for its entry-level diesel. There won’t be an auto option for the Euro-only diesels, but a particulate filter is standard on both.Do the changes work?Absolutely. The detuned unit has a bit less top-end Zoom Zoom, but still musters 229lb ft of torque - 221lb ft of it from 1500rpm – to tackle the task of hauling seven people more efficiently than the peaky 2.0-litre petrol’s 136lb ft. It’s sweeter than the 141bhp diesel too, more refined – notably quieter than most rivals – and with a more linear power delivery, though there’s no point revving on to the 5000rpm redline once you’ve passed the 3500rpm power peak.Should I buy one?The petrol 5 is an Autocar favourite, and the diesel makes even more sense. We prefer the smoother 108bhp incarnation, available in affordable TS and TS2 trims (it’s top-end Sport or Sport Nav only for the 141bhp version), but both offer fleet buyer-pleasing 173g/km CO2 emissions, 44.9mpg and Euro-IV compliance.Alastair Clements

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