THE PROS AND CONS
- What better: High utility and reliability and all at an advantageous price
- What is the worst: Mazda5 is a case of arrested development in the rising face of the almighty crossover
- What is interesting: How the minivan, the great passenger transport vehicle of the past three decades, is fading
It’s not every day that I can say I’ve been trying a vehicle on the road for 11 years, but that’s the case with the evergreen Mazda5.
This is a comparison between two Mazda5s. The first is a 2017 Mazda5 GT and the other is a 2006 Mazda5 GS, which has been in my family since 2005.
At the beginning of this century, the minivan was still the king of transport.
I bet there isn’t a person under 30 who can’t tell they haven’t been transported to hockey / soccer practice, school, or cottage country in a minivan.
About ten years ago, there was still the âregularâ and âfull sizeâ minivan, the classic example being the Dodge Caravan and the Dodge Grand Caravan respectively.
The Mazda5, based on the Japanese domestic market Premacy, arrived in Canada in 2005, sold as a 2006 vehicle.
In 2005, while the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC) was still relevant, the Mazda5 was named 2006 Best New All-Around Family Vehicle under AJAC’s Canadian Car of the Year program.
I was still a member of AJAC at that time and I remember driving the Mazda5 in competition impressing me so much that I bought one.
Now part of the reason was that I knew that Mazda Canada’s âSuper Wrenchâ Danny Manning had personally been above every Mazda entered for Car of the Year, meaning it would be. perfect.
And Danny, if you’re reading this, I understand you are retiring later this year and I speak for many saying that you will be missed. (Hey Danny, can I finally get that yellow RX-7 you hid?).
For over a decade he was my wife’s daily driver for her newspaper work in Bolton, our drive to Sandbanks Provincial Park on numerous occasions, I brought my kids in and out of the university and college and today is backing up my son and me.
The 2006 Mazda5 came just as the industry realized that the crossover was no longer a curiosity, but an emerging trend to be reckoned with.
In light of the size of midsize crossovers like Mazda’s CX-9, the 2017 Mazda5 should more properly be called a compact van and not a midsize.
Also Read: Any Odyssey Would Be Fun With This Honda Van
In terms of capacities and powertrains, there is little distinction between the 2006 and 2017 models.
My 2006 came with a 2.3-liter DOHC inline-four with 157 hp and 148 lb / ft of torque with front-wheel drive only via a standard five-speed manual or optional four-speed automatic, as on my GS 2006.
With the 2017, not much has changed, with the bored 2.5-liter engine with 157 horsepower and 163 lb / ft of torque still driving the front wheels with a six-speed manual transmission still standard or an optional automatic ( $ 1,200) with manual sequential shift mode.
Cargo volumes are almost identical to those of the 2017 rated at 112 liters behind the third row seats, 426 liters behind the second row and 857 liters behind the front seats.
Get in the driver’s seat and it’s like a week old home with the controls (updated here and there) on the 2017 in the same place as the 2006. For example, the manual lock switch on the door of the driver looks exactly the same and is in the same location.
The GT is the premium finish of all Mazda cars sold in Canada and the 2017 model, as tested here, comes standard with items not available in 2006, such as the Bluetooth hands-free phone system, rear parking sensors. rear, SiriusXM satellite radio, xenon headlights, fog lights and heated exterior mirrors with integrated turn signals.
One new feature I miss on the 2017 is a backup camera, which I rely on, not to mention the cross traffic alert.
Rear shock and spring replacements aside, my 2006 Mazda5 has performed very well since the day I bought it and, while showing its age, is ready to go every day.
Read also: Road Trip: the Toyota Sienna is not a minivan to be scratched
The 2017 that I had for a week was more powerful and the five-speed automatic was smoother on torque transfer than the four-speed of the 2006.
But where both shine is on cargo and passenger volume and this is where a minivan makes (to me and many more like me) more sense than an SUV or a crossover with more interior space and at a lower cost.
For example, the 2017 midsize Mazda5 starts at $ 21,995, while the smaller CX-5 compact crossover starts at $ 25,025.
But while the Mazda5 is a serious alternative to compact and mid-size SUVs, the future of the Mazda5 is uncertain.
The United States has already stopped importing the Mazda5, while in Canada it continues to sell, but for how long, I wonder.
If you want utility, longevity, and at a truly affordable price, the 2017 Mazda5 could be a great alternative – as long as they last.
Mazda5 GT 2017
BODY STYLE: Mid-size van
CONDUCT METHOD: Front-wheel Drive; standard six-speed manual or optional five-speed automatic ($ 1,200)
MOTOR: Four-cylinder 2.5-liter DOHC (157 hp, 163 lb / ft).
THE FUEL ECONOMY: (Regular) 10.8 / 8.2 L / 100km (city / highway)
CARGO CAPACITY: 112 liters behind the third row seats, 426 liters behind the second row and a healthy 857 liters behind the front seats.
TOWING RATING: Not recommended
THE PRICE: Base, $ 26,795, as tested, $ 29,890, including shipping charges of $ 1,895
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