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.