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. It makes a good transitional vehicle from a family sedan to a van, or may be very suitable for small families who want a little more flexibility compared to a wagon or hatchback.
Mazda refreshed the look of the 5 a few years ago. At that time, its compact proportions and box fundamentals remained, but certain additional contours in its fenders and a rhythmic flow on its surfaces and folds enlivened the exterior. It’s a minivan, but at least it’s one that looks different, if not sporty. With lots of shiny, hard plastic and budget trim, the interior deserves a bit more criticism, however.
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. A five-speed automatic is now the only transmission option, but at least it has manual shift control. Acceleration is adequate, thanks to well-chosen gear ratios. With EPA ratings of 21 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway, gas mileage is decent, although the bigger vans do just as well, and people moving like the Ford C-Max hybrid and the Toyota Prius V are doing much better.
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We lament the loss of a manual transmission option for 2015. The previously standard six-speed unit really helped differentiate the Mazda 5 from other minivans in its size and especially the larger “minivans” on sale today. . It’s an understandable change, however, since Mazda has probably sold little with the manual, especially considering how few 5 it sells in total.
It’s the ride and handling that continues to draw our attention to the 5, however. The athletic feel begins with top-notch steering and a well-composed ride. The 5 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. It skips most of the frills – there’s no power tailgate or power folding seats. From the driver’s seat, you might think you’re in a nimble little car, but there are handy sliding side doors and loads of easily reconfigurable interior space right behind. 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 feel comfortable. The third-row split bench works in a pinch for smaller kids and folds down to create ample cargo space. The two most significant disappointments with the Mazda 5’s interior are its dull, hard, hollow plastic trim for the dashboard and door panels, and the seemingly ubiquitous din of road noise.
The more basic Sport model is by far the best value in the lineup, better than most MPVs and crossovers, really. For about $ 20,000, you get power locks, windows, and mirrors; automatic air conditioning; an AM / FM / CD player with auxiliary jack and 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. The top-of-the-line Grand Touring adds a power sunroof, heated mirrors, rain-sensing windshield wipers, HID xenon headlights, heated front seats, and Sirius satellite radio (also available as a standalone option), all of it. for about $ 25,000.
While the 5 is still a lot of fun to ride, its aging architecture becomes a bit more evident when faced with the latest crash tests. Likely due to its low sales volume, the Mazda 5 has not been tested by the federal government’s NHTSA. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety put it to the test, and the results are only fair. The Mazda 5 scores top marks “good” in moderate front crash and roof strength tests, “marginal” in side crashes and “poor” in the smallest front overlap test, the most recent and most difficult of. the agency.