By KBB.com Editors
The 2008 Mazda 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 CX-9 crossover utility vehicles. 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.
Seeking good fuel economy, passenger space for six and a serious amount of versatility? If you answered yes to those queries then the 2008 Mazda MAZDA5, which also boasts a very palatable price, could well appeal to you.
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.
The 2008 MAZDA5 gets a slight face lift featuring a new grille, headlight and taillight design. A revised dash includes a new center console, electroluminescent gauges and second-row fan-speed controls. A new five-speed automatic becomes standard on Touring and Grand Touring trims.
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 2008 Mazda 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 new 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 lightweight 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.
The Sport trim features a five-speed manual transmission, while the Touring and Grand Touring employ a new five-speed automatic. A 2.3-liter is the sole engine offering. As for amenities, the Sport trim includes an AM/FM/CD stereo, air conditioning, power windows and locks and cruise control. The Touring trim adds 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, Bluetooth hands-free communication system, automatic headlights, heated door mirrors and rain sensing wipers. Seventeen-inch alloy wheels and a comprehensive airbag safety system, including three-row side curtain airbags, are standard on all three models.
Options depend upon trim levels and include a five-speed automatic transmission (Sport), pearlescent paint, power moonroof (Sport), voice-command DVD navigation system (Grand Touring), MP3/CD changer (Sport), SIRIUS Satellite Radio and a cargo net and cover.
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 five-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: 19/25 (manual), 19/24 (automatic)
By csmith1093 on Friday, August 15, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 40,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Plenty of interior space"
Cons: "Lots of road noise, especially on freeway"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"For driving around town or even for short weekend trips, this car is great! More space than a regular sedan without being huge like an SUV or minivan. Would NOT suggest for a weeklong road trip with 4 adults, however. Sometimes driving can be jerky, especially turns and stops, so not suggested for people that can get carsick. Handles fine in rain, slush, ice, and a little snow, but tends to drift and slide in deep snow."
2 people out of 3 found this review helpful
By bhayes420 on Tuesday, August 12, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 92,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great vehicle for what it is"
Cons: "Needs about 20 more hp to get the real zoom-zoom!"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Bought 2008 Mazda 5 for wife. Touring model with sunroof. Currently have nearly 93000 miles on it. Love it. Only complaint is engine is a bit small for this size vehicle, but for what we do with it, it's not a problem. It will cruise on the highway just fine. Interior is nearly perfect. Third-row of seats is definitely "kid only," but we hardly ever use them. No problems at all with power train. Only complaint is that Mazda decided to use low profile tires on this vehicle, and they don't last as long as I think they should. Got 30K out of the last set of Kumho's. Went to Pirelli's and ride quality improved immensely, so we will see how these last. We will be in the market for another one just like this one next year. BTW...a previous review mentioned that there were no vents in the rear for air. The 2008 has vents for the second row, but none for the third. No problem for us, as mentioned earlier, we don't use the third row often. One more small complaint...Mazda needs to put a power plug in the second row console or somewhere. There is one in the dash and one in the very back. Needs another one badly."
2 people out of 4 found this review helpful
By Carolyn on Friday, August 01, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 120,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "small, but fits lots of stuff/people;easy to drive"
Cons: "no air conditioning/heat vents for back rows"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"This car has been great! It's super reliable and comfortable. The back row of seats is small - adults can fit there, but it's not good for long rides. This model year did not have air conditioning vents for the back rows, so it can get pretty hot in any seats except the front row. I'm pretty sure they fixed that in the following model year. I love the fact that it's a small car, but has space for so much stuff. The seats all fold down easily in all sorts of configurations, so you can fit practically anything in the car. Also, it fits in any parking spot easily!"
3 people out of 6 found this review helpful
By Owner on Saturday, July 12, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 50,000overall rating 2 of 10rating details
Pros: "Good price"
Cons: "Everything else"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"This is the most unstable car you can own. The car is not stable and does not give you the sense of control. The breaking is horrible. Good luck stopping the car on a short notice. The breaks just dont work if you have to stop quickly."
6 people out of 10 found this review helpful
By Don Cappelletti on Wednesday, July 02, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 199,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I bought this car new. I have a long commute and 4 kids, so having a car with seating for 6 and (at the time) a 4 cyl for gas mileage was the most important. The car handles awesome (zoom zoom) and has been extremely reliable. But the handling is due in part to the low profile soft rubber tires that you have to use. Even if you keep your rotation schedule you'll be lucky to get 30k miles out of a set, and at $500 to $600 per having a long commute = a new set of tires per year. And it's not ideal for a big family trip, since once you have the 3 row seating in place your "trunk space" is limited to a few cubic feet and cannot hold more than a few folding chairs and a small bag. But for the other 99% of usage time it's great. It's a safe vehicle, dependable, kinda sporty and it seems to have held it's value. I've put 199,000 miles on it and have no plans to replace it any time soon."
1 person out of 2 found this review helpful
By cahek on Monday, May 19, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 62,000overall rating 4 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"Paint job is razor thin. any little nick will show primer underneath. Bird stuff on the hood lifted dime size dots of paint. Suspension makes constant knocking noise after just couple of years. Very noisy inside"
10 people out of 18 found this review helpful