2012 Mazda5 – The Only Real Minivan? – Review and test drive by Larry Nutson

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2012 Mazda5 Minivan

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2012 Mazda5 – Is This The Only True Minivan Today?

By Larry Nutson
Editor-in-chief
Chicago office
The automatic channel

The question is: is this the only true minivan today? A number of automotive analysts and writers are wondering what happened to the minivan segment. Is it a question of height and weight gain related to age?

In 1984, when Chrysler Corporation introduced the Plymouth and Dodge minivans, they were approximately 176 inches long. Take the tour today and you’ll find that a two-foot increase in length has taken place with the popular so-called minivans now measuring around 200 inches long. Not very urban and a big city that is fun to drive. True, many minivans reside in the suburbs. However, maneuvering in big cities also comes into play for that occasional family or group outing.

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I spent a week in the newly redesigned 2012 Mazda5, a Touring model with a starting MSRP of $ 21,195. It is the first production vehicle from Mazda to feature the Nagare “flow” design language. The Mazda5 is 180.5 inches long. It can accommodate 6 people in 3 rows of seats. It is the only minivan to offer a manual transmission… a 6 speed. The automatic is a 5-speed and both transmission models are rated by the EPA at 21 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway. The engine is a 2.5-liter four-cylinder with an output of 157 horsepower. With the 15.9 gallon fuel tank, you can travel 445 miles before refueling… it’s all day road trip.

In the lineup of all three models, under the Touring is the Sport model priced at $ 19,195 and the only model available with the 6-speed manual transmission. At the top is the $ 23,875 Grand Touring model. Shipping and handling charges for all add up to $ 795. All very affordable.

Watch TACH’s Exclusive Mazda5 Promotional Video

All the talk today is about rear vision cameras, and I think they are very necessary on many of the bigger SUVs and minivans today to allow safe reversing maneuvers. A rear view camera is not required on the Mazda5. The exterior is so compact and with excellent visibility from all windows, especially to the rear, maneuvering and parallel parking is safe and easy. Besides the city-friendly length of the Mazda5, the 36.7-foot turning radius is a help for larger cities.

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Cargo space with the third row seats folded down is 27.5 cubic feet. Very suitable for transporting groceries with your two little assistants fixed in the central seats. If you are carpooling and need all six seats, the space for things is just under 6 cubic feet. More often than not, in this mode of moving people, driving on a school trip and such a place for a lot of things is not necessary.

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All Mazda5s include a long list of safety features, including: Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) with Traction Control System (TCS), Electric Hydraulic Power Steering (EHPAS), “Triple H ”construction, side impact door beams, crushable brake and accelerator pedals, advanced front airbags, front seat side airbags, three-row side curtain airbags, anti-theft engine immobilizer system, seat anchors Second Row LATCH Child and Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS).

The 2012 Mazda5 will also offer Mazda’s Brake Neutral System. This system always gives priority to the brake pedal rather than the accelerator pedal which must both be engaged simultaneously, which makes it possible to stop the vehicle.

The Mazda5 Sport, available with manual or automatic transmission, is fitted with 16-inch alloy wheels with 205/55 / ​​R16 all-season tires, power mirrors, air conditioning, power windows and locks, AM / FM / CD / MP3 stereo with six speakers, auxiliary audio jack, tilt and telescoping steering wheel, remote keyless entry system, one-touch up / down driver’s window, 50/50 split-folding third row seats and audio and cruise controls speed driving.

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The Mazda5 Touring, available only with the five-speed automatic transmission, features 17-inch alloy wheels with P205 / 50R17 all-season tires, sport side extensions, rear hatch spoiler, fog lights, ” a Bluetooth® hands-free telephone and an audio system, leather-wrapped steering wheel and gearshift knob and on-board computer.

The top-of-the-line Grand Touring model adds a power sunroof, High Intensity Discharge (HID) xenon headlights, automatic on / off headlights, heated exterior mirrors, rain-sensing windshield wipers, a anti-theft alarm, driver’s seat lumbar support adjustment support, heated front seats, in-dash 6-disc CD changer, leather-trimmed seats and Sirius® satellite radio.

The Touring model has an optional moonroof and audio package that includes a power moonroof, in-dash 6-CD changer and Sirius® satellite radio.

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My week of driving the Mazda5 in Chicagoland included a mix of city streets with heavy traffic and also a few freeway trips in the suburbs. The “5” is very agile and the ride and handling are quite good. The engine response is excellent and the transmission upshifts and downshifts were smooth and quick. As I mentioned, visibility is unobstructed and maneuvering around town, especially in parking structures and parallel parking, is very easy.

The Mazda5 is backed by a 36-month / 36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty, a 60-month / 60,000-mile powertrain warranty, and 24-hour roadside assistance. approximately 900 dealers in North America.

By the way, before the Chrysler minivan in 1979, Volkswagen had a good thing. But for today, the Mazda5 is “the” van.

© Larry Nutson


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