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 Ganu on Sunday, November 23, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 95,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great value and fuel economy."
Cons: "Ride - great if the roads weren't like a war zone"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Great style and fuel economy for what you get. We rarely have everyone in the car at this point but when everyone is home we can still go in one car or haul a bunch of stuff in the back - not both at the same time but we knew that. Where else can you carry 6 people and get over 30mpg on the highway? I would buy this car again and, in fact have bought a Mazda 3 now, but there are a couple little quirks: 1) The ride is very confident but getting to be quite stiff for the torn up Michigan roads. Luckily we've had tire "insurance" because we blistered 3 tires last winter in pot holes. The 17" wheels are great looking but are not resilient to winters. Maybe 16" and snow tires this year?? 2) Rear shocks and struts have been "blown out". Another victim of the stiff but "zoom-zoom" confident ride is the amount of jarring the struts / shocks have taken. Good thing I can replace this stuff myself so it doesn't break the bank but replacing is a little premature in my opinion. 3) Rust - very common issue with the Mazda 3's but the 5 is starting to show a bit of rust in the rear wheel well lip already. This is annoying and I'm not sure what to do about it. Seems to be a common platform issue with 5s and 3s. 4) Missing options? - Europe got power sliding doors and stability control. Not sure I need the former but having traction control/stability control would have been nice. I like the Bose option in this vintage Grand Touring Mazda 3's. Would have been an easy add to this vehicle, I'm guessing. 5) Of course the Mazdaspeed engine would have been a blast and one of the magazines did that conversion but...."
12 people out of 22 found this review helpful
By scotty on Sunday, October 26, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 106,000overall rating 4 of 10rating details
Cons: "quality lacking"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"had some minor squeaks in the suspension when bought used, got much worse over time and needs full suspension work. is a common problem as these cars age, i never ever had a car do this before."
9 people out of 16 found this review helpful
By Paul on Saturday, October 25, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 150,000overall rating 1 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"Only 8 years old and totally rusted through in the rear wheel wells and the rest of the paint is pitted with numerous chips & rust spots. On my 3rd suspension (struts & shocks) and 5th set of brakes. And to top it off, the sliding doors freeze shut in the winter which in upstate NY is a real issue. I'm very disappointed in the build quality. I'll never buy a Mazda again."
5 people out of 10 found this review helpful
By Bonnie on Wednesday, October 22, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 32,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Cons: "easier access to the third row seating."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5
"Great for getting the grandchildren around town. Average leg room and ample head room. would purchase another one."
1 person out of 1 found this review helpful
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."
4 people out of 5 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."
6 people out of 12 found this review helpful