Innovative, fine-driving MPV is now more compelling than ever; it's just no match for a Ford S-Max

What is it?

It's a facelift for Mazda’s compact seven-seat MPV, which brings a new-look front and rear, along with upgraded engines with better economy and emissions, revised suspension and a more upmarket interior.

There’s also the option of electric operation for the twin sliding rear side doors, and an automatic ’box will be available from March as an alternative to the standard six-speed manual on 2.0-litre petrol models.

What’s it like?

More agile and fun to drive than you’d expect of a seven-seat MPV, and decently quick and refined when propelled by the more powerful of the two diesel engines.

Despite the continued presence of some hard plastics on the fascia, the cabin is a standout – cleverly designed and a joy to use. Access to the middle and rear rows is better than most, too, thanks to the wide-opening sliding doors.

Should I buy one?

Unlike most MPVs, the Mazda 5 is able to keep the driver happy as well as the rest of the family, which is reason enough to choose one over its rivals. This revised version makes an even more attractive alternative to a Zafira or Grand Scenic than ever.

The only caveat might be that, at £20k in top-spec form, you’re close to Ford S-Max money. The Mazda may be good, but it's not that good.

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