2015 Mazda5 Grand Touring Review by Carey Russ

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Mazda5 combines space efficiency, style and excellent driving experience

DRIVING ON THE ROAD WITH CAREY RUSS

• SEE ALSO: Mazda Buyer’s Guide

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Mazda is different from other Japanese car manufacturers. Or other automakers, period, from anywhere. A small business, Mazda thrives on engineering and niche marketing. Perhaps best known for its MX-5 Miata sports car, it has a wide range of offerings, each with a little MX-5 character inside. There are subcompact, compact and mid-size sedans and sedans that are among the best in their respective categories. There are crosses in the form of large CX-9 and small CX-5. And there is the Mazda5.

From an American perspective, the Mazda5 is a minivan. A minivan made to measure today, since contemporary minivans are almost the size of full-size vans of the past. Europeans might call it a “multipurpose vehicle”, or minivan – amusingly, Mazda’s name for the Mazda5’s predecessor. Although the minivan was small for a minivan, the Mazda5 is still smaller and cheaper. Which is all the better for its target market, young families and anyone else who needs space, convenience and versatility on a budget. Mazda calls it a “multi-activity vehicle”, and in addition to accommodating up to six people, it can hold a wide variety of sports equipment, furniture, works of art, objects, etc. ‘objects and much more.

Following the debut of the 2006 model year, a second generation Mazda5 was introduced to the North American market for the 2012 model year. It featured a new, smoother styling and the original 2.3-liter engine was released. been replaced by a 2.5-liter unit with the same 157 horsepower but increased torque – 163 lb-ft from 148 – for improved performance and handling. Unusually for a “family hauler” type vehicle in the US market, the Sport trim level was offered with a six-speed manual transmission, as well as the five-speed automatic transmission on the mid-level Touring and top-of-the-line Grand Touring models. . .

The changes since then have been minimal. The stick shift is gone, possibly due to lack of sales and emissions certification spending. In a world where volume is king, the Mazda5 is not a high volume vehicle. Which is unfortunate, because it can meet the needs of a wide variety of people – people who may not even be aware of the existence of the Mazda5. Its design is wonderfully space-saving, it’s as versatile as any passenger or cargo crossover or minivan, and its small size makes it much easier to manage in tight city environments and parking lots. It holds up well in traffic and is fun to drive, even on a narrow, winding road. No, it’s not a sports van, but it’s built by a sports car manufacturer, and it shows.

My week with a top-of-the-range Mazda5 Grand Touring has been a good one. Can I put a bike or two inside, without disassembly? No problem. Invite friends over for dinner? No problem. Dealing with rain and wind on highways and back roads? No problem. With minimal highway driving, I still got 22 mpg for the week, better than larger minivans and similar footprint crossovers that are nowhere near as space-saving. The Mazda5 is one of the automotive industry’s best-kept secrets and shouldn’t be a secret at all.

APPEARANCE: How to make a box not a box? See what Mazda has done here. Yes, the Mazda5 is a “two box” design in the abstract. But in the implementation there are few straight lines or flat surfaces. Mazda’s large grille – which in the details is surprisingly intricate – dominates the front and is flanked by sharp headlamps and fog lights integrated into false brake ducts, highlighted by a racing car tread pattern from the lower bumper shield. shocks. The inclination of the windshield almost matches that of the hood and the roof has an arched profile for aerodynamic efficiency, aided by a visor-type spoiler at the trailing edge. Complex, fluid, the lines on the sides underline the lines of the wings and suggest movement. The rocker panel lining visually lowers the Mazda5. At the rear, the hatchback is more vertical than usual today, so much the better for reduced aerodynamic drag and more usable interior space.

COMFORT: Even in the high-end Grand Touring version, the interior of the Mazda5 is more functional than chic. Nothing to say, function is more important than fashion. Seating is three rows of two. The third row folds flat into the floor when not in use, with some storage space and a space saver under the rear area. The second row seats have reclining backrests and a longitudinal displacement of about one foot (manually) so that people of different heights can fit in the two rear rows. There is storage under the second row and a useful folding tray between the seats. The second row seats fold down and fold flat. It’s not a car for six NBA first-round picks, but average-sized adults and kid-sized kids will do just fine.

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Up front, the driver’s experience is much more of a sporty sedan than a minivan. Leather seats in all rows and heated front cushions are standard in the Grand Touring, as is a leather rim and shift knob, automatic climate control, Bluetooth connectivity, Sirius / XM satellite radio ( subscription required) and carpet floor mats (too often an option), among others. Audio choices are AM, FM and XM radio, CD (all formats), auxiliary jack, and USB port. The steering wheel adjusts manually for tilt and range, and has audio, cruise and phone controls. A moonroof is also standard fare. The seats are manually adjustable, with the height of the driver’s cushion being a parameter. Comfort and support levels are good, and the second row isn’t particularly inferior up front. Yes, a Mazda5 is cozier than what currently passes for a “mini” van, but on a narrow road or in a crowded parking lot it’s not bad at all.

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2015 Mazda5

SECURITY: The Mazda5 features a “Triple H” unibody construction, three-point seat belts and adjustable head restraints for all seating positions, full-length front, side and head curtain airbags, Four-wheel disc brakes with antilock, electronic brake force distribution, and brake assist, dynamic stability control, traction control and a tire pressure monitoring system. All new Mazda models currently come with a certified roadside assistance program, accessible through a toll-free number or an IOS or Android app.

DRIVING AND MANEUVERABILITY: Think of the Mazda3 stretch limousine… The 108-inch wheelbase and the well-designed and calibrated suspension of the Mazda5 guarantee stability on the highway, even in strong winds, and easy handling when the road is more interesting. The suspension is fully independent, with MacPherson struts up front and a multi-link system in the rear. The ride is firm but smooth, and four-wheel disc brakes mean good stopping ability. Just because it looks like a minivan and can carry six people, the Mazda5 doesn’t have to feel and behave like a pickup truck.

PERFORMANCE: Compared to the original 2.3-liter engine, the 2.5 makes the same horsepower, 157, but at lower revs, 6,000 rpm versus 6,500. Torque is what has increased noticeably from 148 lb-ft at 3,500 rpm at 163-4,000 rpm. . This gives the Mazda5 faster throttle response, at any speed. With a curb weight of around 3,500 pounds, it’s heavier than a Mazda3 sedan or sedan, but still reasonably light. The five-speed automatic transmission works well for its mission. The EPA mileage ratings are 21 mpg in the city and 28 on the highway. I had 22 in total, with minimal highway driving.

CONCLUSION: The Mazda5 combines space efficiency, style and an excellent driving experience.

CHARACTERISTICS

2015 Mazda5 Grand Touring

Base price $ 24,770

Price as tested $ 25,640

Engine type DOHC 16-valve in-line 4-cylinder aluminum alloy with variable cam timing

Engine size 2.5 liters / 152 cu. in.

Power 157 at 6000 rpm

Torque (lb-ft) 163 at 4000 rpm

5-speed automatic transmission

Wheelbase / Length 108.3 in / 180.5 in

Curb weight 3,457 lb

Pounds per horsepower 22.0

Fuel capacity 15.9 gallons.

Fuel 87 Octane Unleaded Regular Gasoline

Tires 205/50 R17 89V Toyo Proxes A18 m + s

Brakes, ventilated disc front / rear / solid disc, ABS, EBD, BA standard

Independent MacPherson Strut Front / Rear / Independent Multi-Link Suspension

Front transverse engine, front wheel drive

PERFORMANCE

EPA Fuel Economy – miles per gallon city / highway / observed 21/28/22

0 to 60 mph 9.0 s

OPTIONS AND PRICES

Rear bumper protection $ 75

Destination fee $ 795


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