A minivan can feel like a bother for a lackluster car life, especially if you make that awkward transition from college years to mortgage years and daycare years. Drive the Mazda 5 and you’ll probably agree, you don’t have to let go of your soul all at once.
The Mazda 5 has charming simplicity. It combines all the utility of a minivan with the agile driving feel of a small sedan. This is arguably a more exciting option than some of the crosses that most newly created small families are likely to choose.
The Mazda 5 was redesigned a few years ago, and at that time its compact proportions and square fundamentals remained, but aggressive contours in its fenders and rhythmic flow across its surfaces and folds added much more to it. excitement outside. It’s definitely a minivan, but at least it’s a very different, if not sporty, looking minivan. With lots of shiny, hard plastic and budget trim, the interior deserves a bit more criticism, however.
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Both sporty and sober, and surprisingly agile, these are ways to sum up the performance of the Mazda 5. Its 2.5-liter four-cylinder produces just 157 horsepower; it’s not fast at all. We would choose the standard six-speed manual transmission on the base version, but even the five-speed automatic on the higher versions has manual shift control. In both cases, acceleration is adequate, thanks to well-chosen gear ratios. With EPA ratings of up to 28 mpg on the highway, gas mileage is decent, although larger vans do just as well and movers like the Ford C-Max and Toyota Prius V hybrids do much better.
It’s the ride and handling that continue to grab our attention. The athletic feel begins with top-notch steering and a well-composed ride. It is a pleasure to drive, especially when the road is twisty. It feels natural and confident, and the ride quality is comfortable and absorbent, whether you’re cruising on the freeway or braving the narrow stems of a mountain road.
The Mazda 5 is a large wagon with sliding doors, but we certainly don’t want it. In terms of size, this is a 7/8 scale minivan; there aren’t a lot of frills, and there aren’t power rear hatches or power folding seats; From the driver’s seat, you might think you’re in a nimble little car, yet there are handy sliding side doors and loads of easily reconfigurable interior space. Mazda has managed to fit six seats, three usable rows, into a vehicle that is shorter than a typical midsize sedan. The front seats are a bit cramped, but the second row bucket seats provide enough room for adults to be comfortable. The third-row split bench works in a pinch for smaller kids and folds down to create plenty of cargo capacity. The two biggest disappointments with the interior of the Mazda 5 are its dull, hard, hollow plastic trim for the dashboard and door panels, and the seemingly ubiquitous din of road noise.
In its premium Grand Touring form, the Mazda 5 also comes with a power moonroof, heated mirrors, rain-sensing wipers, HID xenon headlights, heated front seats, and Sirius satellite radio ( a stand-alone option as well), all for around $ 25,000. But it’s the more basic Sport models that set us apart; this is where the 2014 Mazda 5 offers a lot of value and space, more than any other van or crossover, really. For about $ 20,000, you get power locks, windows, and mirrors; automatic air conditioning; an AM / FM / CD player with auxiliary jack; a USB port; a tilt / telescopic steering wheel; speed regulator; keyless entry; and steering wheel audio and cruise controls. Rear parking sensors are also standard, along with Bluetooth with audio streaming, on mid-range Touring models.