Now on sale in the UK, the upgraded Mazda5 range for 2008 offers customers a nine-strong model line-up with a choice of four powertrains and four equipment levels. Petrol and diesel engined models are priced from £14,760 (on-the-road), with a new automatic transmission variant available from March 2008 to complete the range.

The upgraded Mazda5 continues the original model’s success with a refreshed design, new power sliding doors (as part of an option package) and a new automatic transmission option. The new car has a more luxurious interior finish, more comfort and convenience, new suspension settings for optimised handling and enhanced refinement, improved fuel economy and lower CO2 emissions. A more individualised Sports Styling Pack is fitted as standard on Sport and Sport Nav models.

“The upgraded Mazda5 for 2008 is the ideal vehicle for Mazda to consolidate its strong appeal in this segment,” explains Mark Cameron, Mazda UK Marketing Director. “Our market research confirms that a majority of Mazda5 owners are 35-to-45 year old professionals with young families who enjoy a busy lifestyle and almost 50 per cent of buyers choose the range-topping Sport or Sport Nav models.

“The upgraded model’s optional Luxury Pack has been developed as a result of this research and I’m sure it will achieve high take-up. We will continue to market Mazda5 as a fine handling car that has our brand’s typically high driver appeal, plus the practical abilities to carry families in considerable comfort and safety,” added Cameron.

“Fitting the Sports Styling Pack as standard on both Sport and Sport Nav models will raise their appeal. The availability of dual power sliding rear doors with remote operation and, a little later, automatic transmission, highlights the convenience of Mazda5 ownership,” concluded Cameron.

The refreshed appearance of Mazda5 for 2008 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 eight 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 versatile 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 console, which makes it more practical to read and use. This system also allows drivers to use the Mazda5’s rear-view camera with parking guidance for stress-free parking.

For the upgraded Mazda5, the choice of body colours is expanded from five to eight, with three colours carried over [ Brilliant Black (Solid), Galaxy Grey (Mica) and Sunlight Silver (Metallic) ] and the introduction of two new metallic colours – Golden Sand and Icy Blue – and three new mica finishes – Copper Red, Dark Plum and Stormy Blue.

Mazda5 is the only C-segment vehicle with twin sliding rear doors, each with an impressive door opening width of 700mm, and that convenience will be further enhanced by the introduction of optional dual power sliding rear doors that open and close in less than five seconds, stopping automatically if obstructed while closing. Both doors can be operated by a button from the driver’s seat, or by a light pull on the interior or exterior door handles. The nearside door can also be opened remotely and electronically via the remote key fob.

Not only is the upgraded Mazda5 more convenient to use, it also promises to be more fun to drive. The MZR 2.0-litre petrol models feature a 146ps engine that has been completely revised and now has an electronic throttle and sequential valve timing (S-VT), which makes maximum torque available at a lower engine speed for quicker engine response in every gear.

Two newly-introduced transmissions enhance the lively and agile character of this 2.0-litre engine: a six-speed manual transmission is fitted as standard and a five-speed automatic will be an option on the 2.0 petrol TS2 model from March – a first for the Mazda5 line-up.

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 easily modulated brake response.

Four well-established Mazda equipment levels – TS, TS2, Sport and Sport Nav – are offered with a choice of two petrol and two diesel engines. The Sport grade now features a bolder visual differentiation from other versions, as the ‘Sports Styling Pack’ will be fitted as standard on Sport and Sport Nav models, together with modern 17-inch 5 x 2 spoke alloy wheels.

Available from just £14,760 (on-the-road), the two Mazda5 TS models come with seating for up to seven people, ABS anti-lock braking and front, side and curtain airbags, plus remote central locking, electric front windows, manual air-conditioning and a radio/single CD with four speakers.

A modest step-up (from £700) to one of the three TS2 models, brings customers additional equipment, including 16-inch alloy wheels, electric rear windows, driver’s seat adjustable lumbar support, leather steering wheel and gear knob, steering-wheel mounted audio controls, a Karakuri storage box, picnic tables and integrated roof rails.

The two Mazda5 Sport models, which come with a choice of 2.0-litre petrol or diesel engine, offer buyers boosted specification with items such as 17-inch alloy wheels, dynamic stability and traction control systems (DSC and TCS), Sports Appearance Pack, front fog lights, privacy glass, cruise control, automatic lights and rain-sensing windscreen wipers, climate control air-conditioning, a 6-CD autochanger with two extra speakers and a hands-free kit with integrated Bluetooth.

The range-topping duo of Sport Nav models also come with a DVD satellite navigation system, complete with voice control and a 7-inch colour touch-screen monitor, plus a rear-view parking camera with on-screen parking guidance.

Every model in the 2008 Mazda5 line-up delivers 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.