By KBB.com Editors
The 2009 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 2009 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.
No major changes for 2009.
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 for 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 2009 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: 22/28(manual), 21/27 (automatic)
By Chris (TN) on Tuesday, June 04, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 57,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "cheap, fun, really roomy, Mazda driving experience"
Cons: "Avg MPG, low-profile tires, not good for 3+ kids"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"We've had our car a little over a year and put almost 20k on it. Pros - Fun to drive, Lots of cargo space for small footprint, Sporty-ish exterior, good value for the relatively-low purchase price, Love the sliding doors! Cons - MPG is unimpressive (23 avg for us), Driver's seat is pretty tight for large people, must use low-profile tires and they wear down quickly, interior is boring, 3rd-row seats only work for children All things considered we really like this car - it's literally the only car my wife has ever enjoyed driving! We can deal with the MPG although I miss the 32 MPG I was getting from the Accord this replaced. We really love the 2nd row for our kids (7&5): dual sliding doors are large and awesome, seats are roomy - great for car seats - and sit up nice and high, dedicated 2nd row cold air vent is great for warm summer weather. These 2nd row assets really set this above typical sedans in our mind, AND you get the expansive cargo room of a hatch-back with pop-up 3rd row if the grandparents ever need to ride with us. This wouldn't work for us if we had 3 kids, but we love it for our family of 4."
12 people out of 12 found this review helpful
By Mike (MA) on Wednesday, May 29, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 50,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Handling, versitility,"
Cons: "Traction when starting, rack noise, gas milage"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I bought this new at the end of 2008. Found it by accident while checking legroom on the 3, and CR7. I was comparing it to Fits, and used minivans. More fun to drive than my Odyssey (which I still like a lot). Handles great. A bit slow on accel response in auto, but switching to manual mode fixes that. Over torqued at the low end, it is pretty easy to spin the tires at a stop sign, especially when wet. Interior space is excellent. I am 6'4" and can wear a cowboy hat in the drivers seat. I fit reasonably in the second row of seats also. The third row is only big enough for kids under 11. Second row cup holders are in the fold out center console. There is always something in the back, my mtn bike, sports gear bags, kids, groceries etc. It all fits. The seats fold to a flat surface. The tailgate is easy to open with full hands. Unusually loud noise using my thule rooftop rack, compared to having it on an Accord, Bonneville, Catera, and Odyssey. Unbearable over 35 mph. I resorted to homemade streamling the bars. Aero style bars might work better. Gas milage is ok, about the same as the Odyssey."
By Pam (SC) on Friday, May 03, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 90,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great Value; Roomy; Fun Drive;Terrific Gas Mileage"
Cons: "Rear should also heat, not just a/c."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Car has been in two accidents and had things replaced like shocks, bearings, and engine mounts but overall I still Love this car (bought new in 2009). I am a "voluptuous" woman and do not feel 'cramped' in the car. The versatility of having three rows of seating is wonderful. They fold flat when needed which turns my car into a bit of truck for hauling mulch and bicycles. I get about 330 miles to a tank with a mixture of city & highway driving. Draw backs are rear vent system only does A/C and not heat. Seems to go through tires quickly."
By Shadfly (Canada) on Saturday, March 23, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 55overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Looks good, price is fair."
Cons: "Uncomfortable, blinds spots, small gas tank."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 2
"Here are the reason I'm not satisfied with this vehicle. 1-Blind spots. I've never had a vehicle with so many blind spots. 2- Cockpit is designed for a small person not an average person. 3-Middle row has no cup holder. Come on, we are in the 21st Century. This model has been out since 2006 so you would think they could have improved this situation. I have yet to back up straight, as all other cars I have driven (24) you follow the body line and you back up straight, not this vehicle. Mileage is not so good, not as advertised, highway or city driving."
By pyrexmaniac (NY) on Friday, January 11, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 141,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "stickshift, value, versatility, cost of ownership"
Cons: "The carpet could be more durable"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I bought my 06 Mazda5 Sport new in 2006. I had looked at the 5 for some time before making the purchase and tested it against the sportier Mazda3 hatchback. I purchased the 5 primarily because of it's incredible value....the features available for such a low price was so impressive. I have only had one unscheduled service stop when the air conditioning compressor failed prematurely at approximately 27000 miles. The wait for a replacement was inordinately long but it has worked perfectly since....blasting cold air on the hottest summer day in Buffalo. The fix was graciously covered under warranty. Since the ac fix, I have had only one unscheduled repair stop on my 5-speed manual equipped Mazda5. I have replaced the tires at least four times (value tip: ask for all-season tires....they cost far less than the standard sport tires) although the handling does suffer a little bit. I replaced the rear shocks around the 120000 mile mark. I replaced the brake pads only once around 80000 miles. I have had zero problems otherwise. I like the utility and versatility of the Mazda5. I have hauled large pieces of furniture with ease....I even hauled a full-size refrigerator from Buffalo to Toronto last year. I seldom have more than four people in my vehicle so the back seats spend most of their time folded flat. The cargo shield behind the third row seats is brilliant and makes hauling delicate items very worry-free. I am also still impressed with my vehicle's road manners. The car handles better than most sedans and even some sporty cars. The driving position is commanding, the manual seat adjusters are intuitive to use and the instrument panel is very well laid out and distraction-free. The only gripe I have is that the instrument panel lighting is less than adequate. I have friends who have traveled throughout Europe and enjoy renting sporty cars that we can't get here. They always comment on how beautifully the 5 drives and handles and the 5-speed manual makes it even more engaging. I had one accident and one collision since 2006. I was struck from behind in a severe collision that did about $4000 damage to the back of my vehicle. The structural integrity held up beautifully despite the amount of damage. The car is still squeak and rattle free after 140000 miles (I wish I could say the same about my back.) I also had to replace the windshield three times. I once replaced the windshield due to my hitting a large piece of steel diamond plate that fell off a truck driving ahead of me in 4-lane, busy 75mph+ traffic (QEW in Toronto) I mention this because had I not been able to manoeuver as well the diamond plate would have gone through the windshield. I did hit the metal but it only tore the front bumper cover in half, smashed the grille, the plastic engine shroud and the radiator. The repairs were another $1700 but the car still drives like NEW! I currently have over 141,000 miles on my Mazda5. I paid it off over two years ago and I look forward to many more miles in what is unquestionably the best of 20+ cars I have owned over almost 30 years.....that list includes BMW, Honda, Mazda, Ford and Merkur(don't ask.) I feel intelligent everytime I drive! Oh, I forgot to mention that the fuel efficiency has been great, average of about 25mpg. Oh, and the turning circle is the smallest of any vehicle I have ever driven. Oh, and the car has maintained it's like new appearance and luster despite it's age. I could go on and on and on....."
6 people out of 6 found this review helpful
By Tooltimetom (NC) on Thursday, December 13, 2012
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 293,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Reliable, fun to drive, dependable"
Cons: "Rough running tires, needs daytime lights"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"You may not believe this, but I'm getting ready to purchase my company vehicle that I've driven over 293,000 miles in four years since I received it as new. Other than the headlights burning out frequently, the power steering assist pump replaced under warranty, the a/c compressor replaced at 110,000 and routine maintenance it's been a great vehicle. As you can imagine, I was driving about 1,400 miles a week with mostly highway miles on cruise control. It averaged 27 mpg, with occasionally getting 30 mpg. Mazda should change the lower profile tires for more comfortable tires."
5 people out of 5 found this review helpful