"Had long considered this car but bought a Honda Fit for better mileage. Did have it as a rental car this year (Jan '09) leaving from Denver to Vail for skiing. Standard low profile all-weather tires coupled with no traction control mean no grip. Having been renting cars of all sorts for years on this same route and never had a problem. When I say no traction I mean that you are afraid to stop in a plowed parking lot because you may not be able to move. I'm not talking that it can't overcome a few inches of snow, I'm talking an inch of snow over typical glazed asphalt common in snow country. I expect that replacement 15" wheels with real snow tires would solve most of the problem. Apart from this the car handled the mountain passes on I-70 and was a quiet pleasant drive."
"I've had my '08 Grand Touring Mazda5 10 months now and have put 14K miles on it. My 4 kids are teens and older now, so I didn't necessarily need the room for them, but wanted to be able to tote *my* friends around. So I don't need 6 seats all the time, and usually keep the 3rd row folded down.
I was used to driving a V6, so was concerned about not having enough power, but there is plenty of ZoomZoom in this vehicle. I am an aggressive driver who likes to go fast, FAST, and am usually passing someone. No problems doing that in my Mazda5.
There are only a few minor things I would change, but they aren't enough to keep me from recommending this vehicle to you. The 5 isn't the quietest car out there... but I usually have the radio on loud enough that it isn't a problem. And you can easily talk over the noise. The ride isn't completely smooth, but not rough enough to cause problems (and with fibromyalgia, a too-rough-ride can definitely cause problems.) The driver seat is power-controlled and the doors don't automatically lock. Like I said, no big deal in the overall picture.
The seats are comfortable enough for 6 adults for short (less than 2 hour) trips and for 4 adults on longer trips.
One of my friends has mobility issues and it is difficult for her to get into or out of most vehicles because the seats are too low or too high. She has told me that the Mazda5 is the PERFECT seat height for people with her type problems.
I recently borrowed an '08 Mazda6 for a weekend, while my 5 was in the shop (getting minor issues with the Nav/DVD system repaired). I hated it! Felt cramped and kept hitting my head on the doorframe (I'm only 5'6). Getting back in my "micro"van was so nice, with all the feeling of space it has. It certainly doesn't feel "micro" on the inside!"