Demand for Mazda’s popular multi-activity vehicle, the Mazda5, with its unique dual sliding rear doors, is sure to rise next year with the introduction of a significantly improved model that will be even more family friendly.

The new Mazda5 2008 upgrade is set to continue the original model’s success with a refreshed design, new power sliding doors and new automatic transmission options, a more luxurious interior finish, more comfort and convenience, new suspension settings for optimised handling, improved fuel economy, lower CO2 emissions – and a more individualised Sports Appearance Pack.

Mazda5 is the only C-segment vehicle with two sliding rear doors, each with an impressive door opening width of 700mm, and that convenience will be further enhanced by the introduction of optional new power sliding rear doors that open and close in less than five seconds and stop automatically if obstructed. They are operated by a button from the driver’s seat, by the door handles or by the remote control key.

Not only is the upgraded Mazda5 more convenient to use, it will also be more fun to drive. The MZR 2.0-litre petrol models will feature an engine that has been completely revised and now has an electric throttle and sequential valve timing (S-VT), which makes maximum torque available at a lower engine speed (4000rpm) than before for quicker engine response in every gear. Two newly-introduced transmissions will enhance the lively and agile character of this engine: a six-speed manual transmission will be fitted as standard and a five-speed automatic will be an option – a first for the Mazda5 line-up.

The refreshed appearance of the Mazda5 2008 upgrade includes new front and rear bumpers, new front and rear light clusters, new front grille, new-style 16-inch and 17-inch alloy wheels, and a choice of seven new exterior colours. The new model retains its excellent aerodynamic efficiency with a Cd of 0.29.

Inside, the upgraded Mazda5 retains its predecessor’s uniquely communicative interior – with Karakuri seating for up to seven people and maximum storage flexibility – and adds new navigation and audio systems for even more fun and convenience. It has a new DVD navigation system with a 7-inch multifunctional touch screen now integrated into the centre panel, which makes it easier to read and use. This system allows drivers to use the Mazda5’s rear-view camera for stress-free parking.

Also new is an auxiliary (AUX) jack and recessed niche at the front of the floor console – for holding, hooking-up and listening to an MP3 player using Mazda5’s audio system – and a new in-dash, 6-CD changer for hours of non-stop music. For those who need to stay in touch while driving, a new Bluetooth mobile phone system with steering wheel-mounted controls is now available.

To ensure that Mazda5 buyers can enjoy these new features to the full, the upgraded model’s interior is now quieter and more comfortable. The new car features several noise-reducing additions, including: a new multi-resonator located around the fresh air intake duct at the base of the windscreen, which lowers the transmission of engine noise, plus strengthened wheel rims and Thinsulate® insulation sheeting within the roof liner to reduce road noise. Together, these updates make holding conversations and listening to music, easier and much more enjoyable.

New dampers, front and rear, and increased rear toe-in geometry, result in a more refined suspension providing enhanced ride comfort and maximum stability when cornering at high speeds and when fully laden. A newly optimised brake booster is introduced to give drivers a quicker and more precise feedback and guarantee excellent and easily modulated brake response.

Every model in the Mazda5 2008 upgrade line-up will deliver improved fuel consumption and CO2 levels which are lowered by between 8 and 11g/km – depending on model – moving the 1.8 petrol and all diesel models down one Road Fund Licence band, producing annual savings of up to £40.

The upgraded Mazda5 will make its European debut at the Bologna Motor Show, in Italy, on 5 December 2007 and will go on sale in UK Mazda dealer showrooms during January 2008.