Photos by Adrian Wong
When I was test driving the Mazda 5, I remember telling myself what a great mummy car it makes. The six-seater minivan makes the exemplary mode of transport for parents – spacious interior, sliding doors on both sides, three rows of seats and low ride height so kids can climb in easily.
A seven- or eight-seater might be a bit big for some families who only have one or two kids, but before you think a six-seater is also too much for a family of three or four, think about all the other things you ferry around that takes up space in the car – for example, your child’s sporting equipment, the pram or even the whole milk powder and baby stuff. This is where the Mazda 5 fits in really well I feel.
The latest Mazda 5 has been totally redesigned for 2012, with curvier and better flowing lines, a bigger grille and sportier headlights. The rest of the facelift includes a little bit more power and more comfortable seating. I like the cabin of the Mazda 5, which has what it calls the 6+One concept. There are three rows within, each row able to seat two, but there is a +One fold-out seat in the second row for a seventh passenger if needed, big enough to host a child seat.
Called the Mazda karakuri seventh seat, it folds out of the left second-row seat – that is, the armrest between both seats in the middle row is lifted up to form the backseat of this seventh seat and the bottom is folded out. In the right second-row seat is a tray – with cup holders and a net below it to store small items – that can be folded out if you do not wish to have the seventh seat. When the seventh seat or the tray is folded out of the respective second-row seats, you can use the remaining space as utility boxes. Otherwise you can just leave the armrest in the centre or lift it up and create a mini runway.
I think sliding doors are great on family vehicles – the ones on the Mazda 5 are on both sides of the car and can be operated via buttons on the remote as well as buttons next to the steering wheel. Sliding doors also mean reducing the risk of having your kids open the door too wide and denting the car parked next to you. Car parking spaces in Singapore these days are getting narrower and tighter.
Powered by a 2-litre four-cylinder, you get 142bhp of maximum power at 6,500rpm and 180Nm of maximum torque at 4,500rpm from the Mazda 5, delivered to your hands via a five-speed automatic transmission with manual select. The Mazda 5 sits well in corners and bendy roads, ensuring your passengers remain well-seated with its precise steering and controlled body roll.
To add on to the convenience of its great-for-mummy (or daddy) factor, the Mazda 5 comes with an aux-in socket so you can play your own nursery rhymes for the kids, cruise control if you are going long journeys and want to give your right foot a rest, as well as climate control that can help to regulate the air-conditioning in the cabin in case someone is down with a cold and needs to have less cold air in his or her face.
The sunroof also helps to light up the cabin with natural sunlight for healthy skin.
Of course, the Mazda 5 is not just for families only, but for anyone who appreciates space for comfort and also space for transporting goods around.
At A Glance
Engine: 1,999cc 16-valve inline-4
Performance: 142bhp/6,500rpm, 180Nm/4,500rpm, 0-100 13.1 secs
Top Speed: 186km/h
Transmission: Five-speed automatic with manual select
Price with COE: S$160,988
Testdrive & Enquiries: Trans Eurokars
Tel: 6603 6118
(+) Easy to park, drives decently, kid-friendly sliding doors
(-) Plain dashboard with a centre console that’s a tad outdated
Verdict: The Mazda 5 makes a good option for those who don’t need all the space of a full-size MPV.
For more photos of the Mazda 5, view here.