Mazda only really has one seven seater currently available to purchase in the UK, however the CX9 crossover SUV is set to debut towards late 2013. Perhaps not thought as a traditional family car manufacturer, the Mazda 5 does leave a fair bit to be desired in comparison to those offered by other 7 seat vehicles such as the VW Touran or BMW X5.
The Mazda 5
The Mazda 5 is the only seven seat model offered by Mazda, that is until the launch of the CX9 towards the end of 2013. It has typically Mazda style with nice curves and sweeping lines, however it isn’t exactly revolutionary in terms of design and does look somewhat conventional. As a family car the Mazda 5 does offer a fairly reasonable amount of space, however other small/mid-size seven-seaters are a bit more generous in the seating department. In terms of performance, there are two engine choices for the Mazda 5 – the 1.6 litre diesel and the 2 litre petrol. Family cars usually aren’t too thirsty on fuel as they are built for economy, however you would expect a meatier driving experience from a 2 litre engine that the Mazda 5 just doesn’t deliver.
Most customers would opt for the 1.6 litre diesel that offers a very impressive fuel economy of 54mpg and doesn’t feel underpowered despite being 1.6l. The rather underwhelming 2l petrol engine still offers a reasonable 41mpg.
The 7 seat Mazda 5 does offer a comprehensive set of gadgets and gizmos, such as climate control, reversing camera, cruise control, a built-in touch-screen sat nav system, Bluetooth and much more.
It offers a comprehensive safety package including everything a modern car should feature (eg: side and curtain airbags, stability programmes etc..) and has a built-in immobiliser and alarm.
The starting price for a new car would be around £20k, and is quite a bit cheaper than other 7 seater family cars on the market. Despite this, it is still expensive considering the level of practicality that this model offers, and other manufacturers would arguably offer better value for money.
The 7 Seat Mazda CX9 SUV
The CX9 is Mazda’s newest 7 seat offering set to hit UK shores in late 2013. Described in the US as one of the best affordable mid-size SUVs, the Mazda CX9 improves on the feature-set and performance issues experienced with the Mazda 5. It is also termed as a ‘crossover SUV’, and whilst it isn’t one of the biggest 7 seaters available, it does offer the interior cabin space similar to a larger family car. Adults can actually be seated on the rearmost seats, however this does mean that the second row must be pulled forward slightly, thus compromising legroom for all involved. If you’re only using 7 seats on the CX9 mainly for use by children then you should be fine, but for regular adult use you may want to consider a larger family car.
It has stylish looks that set it apart from some other more mundane people carriers, and it also offers great sporty handling typical of most of Mazda’s offerings and is said to be fun to drive. The standard model comes equipped with normal 2 wheel drive from the front wheels, however it also has a 4×4, 4 wheel drive option if you’re wanting a bit more versatility. As to what engine variants will be presented remains to be seen.
In terms of price and fuel economy we won’t be able to provide an estimate until the launch of the car later in the year, however as you would expect Mazda to only improve on its previous offerings, we expect it to have both a high MPG, but also a higher price tag as it is in essence an upgraded Mazda 5.
Mazda has clearly seen the opportunity in providing vehicles for the 7 seat family car market, however it does seem as though it is a ‘work in progress’. The much improved CX9 SUV should be quite exciting for Mazda, and may see quite a high demand in the UK from the family car market. Perhaps this could be the model that kickstarts its ‘sporty and stylish people carrier’ theme, who knows..
Whether these are the right models for you very much depends on your own needs and requirements, for example the Land Rover Discovery 4 would be a good choice if you were after a 4×4 7 seater, or a seven seat BMW X5 if you are looking for a greater level of luxury.