DRIVING ON THE ROAD
WITH CAREY RUSS
2006 Mazda5 Touring
SEE ALSO: New Car Buying Guide for Mazda
It could be confusing. There is a Mazda MX-5, and there is a Mazda5. But place the two side by side, and the confusion evaporates. The MX-5, also known as the Miata, is the best-selling two-seater roadster in history. The Mazda5 is a … ???
Taxonomy fails at times like this. From a distance, a Mazda5 looks like a minivan. Its one-and-a-half box-shape, with sliding doors on either side and a liftgate at the rear, says minivan. But doesn’t Mazda already have a minivan in its minivan?
Indeed it is, and a closer look at the Mazda5 shows that it is noticeably smaller than the MPV, which is already one of the few vans today that doesn’t aspire to be a full-size van. . With sport-compact styling cues like clear plastic covers over colorful taillights and, optional on the Sport model or standard on the top-of-the-line Touring model, an underliner and a warm rear sun visor wing Hatch-style, the Mazda5 is obviously not meant for your grassroots soccer mom.
Instead, the Mazda5 is marketed to the young and the young at heart with “active lifestyles” as an alternative to any existing vehicle form, and Mazda calls the Mazda5 a “multi-activity vehicle”. More succinctly, it’s yet another new-class crossover, in this case blending the space efficiency and passenger / cargo versatility of a minivan with a sporty little car, the Mazda3.
The Mazda5 was created by stretching a Mazda3 over a four-inch wheelbase, with major revisions to the floor for its three-row six-passenger seating configuration. In terms of footprint, it’s about the size of a compact wagon, but its relatively long wheelbase – three inches longer than the larger Mazda6 wagon – and its tall stance with short overhangs promise and promise. offer great spatial efficiency. The openings for the sliding doors are actually larger than those in the MPV and make it easier for passengers to access tight parking spaces.
The Sport and Touring models both feature a re-tuned version of Mazda’s 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine with 157 horsepower and 148 lb-ft of torque matching a standard five-speed manual transmission or an automatic transmission at optional four-speed, and four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes. Both have 2 + 2 + 2 seats, with the two rear rows folding separately and the second row adjustable forward and backward for legroom. The main differences between the two are in the exterior trims and interior layout, with the Touring having automatic climate control and an upgraded audio system.
During my week with the Mazda5 Touring, I had just parked and unloaded my bike for a ride at a spot popular with cyclists. No problem there – with the second and third rows folded, the bike fits easily, without disassembly. The car received a lot of looks, and a cyclist stopped, interested and wanted to know all about it. What is there to say? The Mazda5 has plenty of room inside for bikes, snowboards, boogie boards, skis, camping gear, climbing gear, dogs, people, groceries, everything. whatever you want, without being big and bulky on the outside. It’s comfortable on the road, with better handling and better fuel economy than a regular van or even many crossover SUVs. And the price is right too, at just over $ 20,000 well equipped.
APPEARANCE: That’s the box he came in, but that’s the point. Take a mid-size box, taper it a bit for aerodynamics and styling, and add a small, sloping and sculpted second box up front for the drivetrain. Results? A Mazda5. Styling details are pure Mazda, an angular domed hood that flows into the company’s five-point grille with logo, glossy intricate headlights, and sporty but not overdone wheel arches. Standard on Touring and optional on Sport, an aerodynamic kit includes lower front and side extensions, fog lights and a spoiler on top of the tailgate. All models have clear covers over the colored tail lights mounted high on the D-pillars, for a European look.
COMFORT: In terms of styling, the interior of the Mazda5 looks a lot like the Mazda3, with grippy fabric upholstery, very good seat padding, and a black and gray color scheme with silver plastic trim. In the four-seater configuration, there is plenty of room for four tall adults, as the second row seats can be moved separately back and forth for more legroom. With the second row all the way back, there isn’t much legroom in the third row, but in a more moderate position children or small adults can fit comfortably. Since each second and third row seat can be folded flat individually, cargo / passenger versatility is assured and, as mentioned, there is plenty of room for many different things. Sliding doors are ideal for loading passengers, especially in tight parking spaces, and also help position cargo. The cargo floor is not too high, for the kindness of human backs. The interior of the Mazda5 can even be used for a camping bivouac, but some kind of hard cover over the seat backs is needed for this as there is a foot wide space between them.
SECURITY: Standard safety features of the Mazda5 include advanced front airbags, front seat side airbags and three-row side curtain airbags, three-point seat belts for all six seating positions, and full-size brakes. four-wheel anti-lock disc with electronic brake. distribution of forces.
DRIVING AND MANEUVERABILITY: Compared to the sedan and hatchback models of the Mazda3, the Mazda5 is considerably larger and heavier. This, along with a fully independent MacPherson strut front suspension and a multi-link rear suspension that is tuned more firmly than in a van or crossover SUV, gives it a high degree of comfort and stability on the highway. The Mazda5 also performs well on twisty roads – hey, P205 / 50VR17 tires aren’t your base minivan spec – but, remember Physics 1A, it can’t be as responsive as a bigger car. smaller and lighter. Still, it’s nicer than any minivan or SUV.
PERFORMANCE: The weight, at around 600 pounds more than the Mazda3, is also noticeable under acceleration. Again, think about physics 1A, so that’s okay. With nearly 3,400 pounds to move, the 157 horsepower of the 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine (at 6,500 rpm) and 148 lb-ft of torque (at 3,500 rpm) work a little harder. than in a Mazda3. The time from zero to sixty, at about ten seconds, is a few seconds longer, and fuel economy, at about 22 mpg on average for my driving, is a few miles per gallon less. Balance that against the extra space, life is full of compromise. My test car had the optional four-speed automatic transmission, which performed well, but definitely took away a bit of sportiness and mileage compared to the standard five-speed manual.
CONCLUSION: The Mazda5 is a useful and space-saving vehicle.
SPECIFICATIONS 2006 Mazda5 Touring Base Price $ 19,510 Price As Tested $ 20,400 Engine Type dual overhead cam inline 4-cylinder with variable cam phasing Engine Size 2.3 liters / 138 cu. in. Horsepower 157 @ 6500 rpm Torque (lb-ft) 148 @ 3500 rpm Transmission 4-speed automatic (opt) Wheelbase / Length 108.3 in. / 181.5 in. Curb Weight 3,389 lbs. Pounds Per Horsepower 21.6 Fuel Capacity 15.9 gal. Fuel Requirement 87-octane unleaded regular gasoline Tires P205/50VR17 Toyo Proxes A18 Brakes, front/rear vented disc / solid disc, ABS and EBD standard Suspension, front/rear independent MacPherson strut / independent multilink Drivetrain transverse front engine, front-wheel drive PERFORMANCE EPA Fuel Economy - miles per gallon city / highway / observed 21 / 26 / 22 0 to 60 mph est 10.0 sec OPTIONS AND CHARGES Automatic transmission $ 900 Destination charge $ included