By KBB.com Editors
The Mazda5 is an interesting offering. Built from the same chassis that spawned the smash-hit Mazda3, the Mazda5 looks like a cross between a compact hatchback and a midsize minivan. Offering sliding side doors and three-row seating, the Mazda5 can certainly swallow its share of people and cargo, and its willing suspension is truly delightful. If the Mazda5 has a weak point it's that the standard 2.3-liter engine lacks enough muscle to give this family-friendly vehicle the "Zoom-Zoom" attitude found in the CX-7 and Mazda6 Sport Wagon. Still, for those who travel mostly in urban settings and don't require the ability to tow a trailer, the Mazda5 makes an excellent alternative to a cramped compact wagon or heavy SUV.You'll Like This Car If...
Seeking good fuel economy, passenger space for six and a serious amount of versatility? If you answered yes to those queries then the Mazda5, which also boasts a very palatable price, could well appeal to you.You May Not Like This Car If...
The Mazda5 and vehicles like it are hot sellers in other countries, but American buyers have usually had only lukewarm interest in such vehicles. Maybe the mini-minivan look or the lack of V6 power limits the appeal here, but the Mazda5 has a great deal to offer even to those who are skeptical at first.What's Significant About This Car?
A Grand Touring trim featuring heated leather seats, a four-speed automatic transmission and xenon headlamps joins the lineup.Driving It Driving Impressions
Mazda says it likes to build "Zoom-Zoom" into every car it drives, but we wish the Mazda5 had just a little more under the hood. The 153-horsepower 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine that feels so good in the Mazda3 could do with a slight power infusion in the Mazda5. With two testers aboard, the car was reasonably peppy, but we figure that a Mazda5 with six passengers might work pretty hard going uphill.
As to the driving dynamics, the Mazda5 exhibits the good road manners that characterize Mazda vehicles. Ride is controlled but not harsh, and though the steering might be a bit over-assisted, it is reasonably direct. This is no sports car, but it handles much better than a minivan or SUV.
In days of yore, American cars seated six passengers on two three-person benches. The Mazda5 gives each of the six individuals his or her own seat with theater-style elevation for each row.
Foldout Second-Row Console
A console emerges from under the second-row passenger seat and contains cupholders for both middle-row passengers and an ingenious net catch-all for odds and ends.
The Mazda5 features six individual seats placed in three rows of two. Each of the four rear seats folds out of the way individually, so the Mazda5 can accommodate anywhere from one to six occupants and a number of combinations of occupants and gear. The driver's-side seat in the second row offers an under-cushion storage bin, while that on the passenger's side has a clever fold-out cupholder with a storage compartment made of netting. The driver has a commanding outlook over a logically designed instrument panel. The shift lever protrudes from the center stack and above it are easy-to-use controls for the sound system and heating and ventilating functions. Finally, the Mazda5 offers a remarkable 142 cubic feet of interior space in an easy-to-handle package.Exterior
Mazda made a very definite effort to clone the Mazda family look in its Mazda5. Looking straight at its nose, you see a strong grille and obvious Mazda touches like the flying M badge. At the rear the Mazda heritage is less obvious, though the taillights have an upscale clear-lens look and the tailgate exhibits Mazda's engineering skills by using low-weight materials. The tailgate also stops its upward travel in two positions, one higher than the other, a boon for shorter people. On each side are a conventional swing-out front door and an extremely wide rear sliding door that operates with just one finger, but is not power actuated.Notable Standard Equipment
The Sport and Touring trims feature a five-speed manual transmission, while the Grand Touring gets a four-speed automatic. A 2.3-liter is the sole engine offering. As for amenities, the Sport trim includes an AM/FM/CD stereo, power windows and locks and cruise control. The Touring trim adds automatic climate control, front fog lamps, rear spoiler, side skirts, an AM/FM in-dash six-disc CD changer and a power moonroof. The Grand Touring adds leather seat trim, heated front seats and xenon headlamps. Seventeen-inch alloy wheels and a comprehensive airbag safety system, including three-row side curtain airbags, are standard on all three models.Notable Optional Equipment
Options include a four-speed automatic transmission, pearlescent paint, power moonroof (Sport), navigation system (Touring, Grand Touring), MP3/CD changer (Sport), rear-seat DVD entertainment system, auto-dimming rearview mirror, SIRIUS Satellite Radio, a cargo net, fog lights (Sport) and cargo cover.Under the Hood
The 2.3-liter four-cylinder, 16-valve dual overhead cam (DOHC) MZR-series engine has earned a positive reputation in other Mazda vehicles. Producing 153 horsepower at 6500 rpm and 148 pound-feet of torque at 4500 rpm, the engine is matched with an easy-shifting five-speed manual transmission or four-speed Sport-AT automatic that offers a manual shift mode.
2.3-liter in-line 4
153 horsepower @ 6500 rpm
148 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/27 (manual), 21/26 (automatic)
The Mazda5 Sport trim equipped with manual transmission has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $18,230, while the Touring edition stickers for $19,745 and the Grand Touring for $21,895. No matter how much equipment you add to any trim you will be hard-pressed to boost the price much over $26,000. Fair Purchase Prices that represent what consumers are actually paying can differ substantially from the suggested prices, so click on the Fair Purchase Prices to compare. In terms of resale value, this category is so new that the jury is still out, but early projections indicate the Mazda5 should be mid-pack in retained valuebetter than many but not as good as some Honda and Toyota models.