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2012 Mazda MAZDA5

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2012 Mazda MAZDA5 Review

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KBB Expert Rating: 7.2

The Mazda5 is in a class all its own. Too small to be a minivan (by today's standards), and too large to be a wagon, the 2012 Mazda5 is built on a platform that's about the size of the first 1986 Dodge minivan. For a short time the Kia Rondo was considered a competitor, and Ford had planned to market a similar vehicle called the C-Max, but both vehicles have been cut from their respective line-ups, leaving the Mazda5 as the lone "C-Wagon" (as this size class is sometimes described) in the U.S. market. Essentially a small minivan, the 2012 Mazda5 can accommodate six adults, has sliding rear doors for easy access to the second and third rows and a center aisle to aid access to the rear when children's car seats are being used in the second row. Combine all of these features with creditable driving dynamics and a starting price under $20,000, and the Mazda5 could fill a niche. It's not an obvious choice to be compared to a Honda Odyssey, Toyota Rav4 or Volvo XC70, but you might be surprised how well it would fare on the price-value continuum based on seating, versatility and overall performance.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you need seating for six with easier third-row entry than an SUV and a smaller price tag than a minivan, the Mazda5 can fill your need. Starting under $20,000, the Mazda5 features sliding rear doors and a center aisle, making access to the third-row seats relatively easy.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If you're looking for seating for six but also want the kinds of features offered by the Chrysler Town and Country (table and swivel seats), Toyota Sienna (reclining seats with footrests) or Honda Odyssey (rear entertainment system), then you are better off moving up to a full-sized minivan, which will also offer more cargo space behind the third row.

What's Significant About This Car?

The Mazda5 gets a new look for 2012 that gives it more style than most minivans on the market but doesn't completely disguise its wagon/minivan heritage. That may turn off some buyers who might seek a more traditional wagon shape.

Driving the MAZDA5

Driving Impressions It may seem like an oxymoron to refer to a wagon/minivan as fun to drive, but the Mazda5 offers a sportier driving experience than a minivan or other "people-hauler." Considering...

its size and utility, the Mazda5 is surprisingly spry on the road and hugs tight to the curves during spirited driving. It's easy to forget that you're in a minivan-type vehicle because the Mazda5 drives so much like a sedan. But, for all its athletic prowess on the road, the Mazda5 has also been refined for 2012, with a more compliant suspension that allows for a little more roll on the curves but makes the ride smoother for passengers who once got jostled around by the previous model's somewhat stiffer arrangement.

Exterior Style
The Mazda5's exterior style is influenced by Mazda's Nagare design philosophy that has appeared in the company's line-up for the last few years. Notably, the side body panels feature striking molded swoops that give the Mazda5 a definitive style that turns heads in the parking lot and on the road.

Nooks and Cubbies
The Mazda5 features many inventive places to stow items. The second-row bucket-seat bottoms can be lifted up to reveal storage boxes for safely stashing valuables out of view of prying eyes. There is also a surprisingly large and deep glovebox with a molded ledge above that can hold electronic devices, and a convenient cubby just above the power and auxiliary outlets is the perfect size for a cell phone or MP3 player.

2012 Mazda MAZDA5 Details
Interior

The Mazda 5's interior can be summed up in one word: Functional. With seating for six, flat-folding seats and plenty of cubbies for gadgets and storage, the 2012 Mazda5 is a "mini-minivan" without the higher price tag. Granted, to keep costs low there is no navigation option, rear DVD system or a lot of gimmicky features for the kids, but the Mazda5 gets the job done as a family hauler that can easily be converted to move a lot of cargo. Cloth seats are offered on the Sport. Touring models get a leather-wrapped steering wheel and gear shift knob and the Grand Touring version has heated leather seats. All seating positions can comfortably hold adults, although the third row doesn't offer the bolstering and support that the second-row captain's chairs do. Overall, the fit and finish of the Mazda5's interior is pretty nice, featuring high-grade plastics and soft touches throughout the cabin.

Exterior

The Mazda5 looks like a small minivan. It might not be everyone's idea of a great-looking ride, but the stylish molded side swipes and the way the car handles can easily sway many anti-minivan types. The front of the Mazda5 resembles that of the Mazda3, while the flanks are unlike anything else you will find on the market today. Molded ridges sweep back across the car like ripples in a pond, and the effect looks very nice in all colors. Highly functional sliding rear doors and a rounded rear hatch complete the tasteful if small exterior package that disguises the spacious interior.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The 2012 Mazda MAZDA5's base Sport trim comes with a choice of a six-speed manual or five-speed automatic transmission, 16-inch alloy wheels, automatic climate control, power accessories, cruise control and a six-speaker AM/FM/CD/MP3 sound system with an auxiliary input jack (no USB port is offered). Safety features include six airbags, dynamic stability and traction control systems and anti-lock brakes (ABS) with electronic brake-force distribution and brake assist.

Optional Equipment

Opting for the mid-level Touring trim gives you fog lamps, spoiler, Bluetooth connectivity, trip computer and leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob. Moving to the up-level Grand Touring trim adds HID headlights, power moonroof, driver's-seat adjustable lumbar support, heated leather seats and a six-disc in-dash AM/FM/CD/MP3 audio system with satellite radio and auxiliary input jack. Available packages include the CD changer for the Sport and Touring trims, a Moonroof and Audio Package for the Touring trim and Mazda's HomeLink system.

Under the Hood

The 2012 Mazda5 comes equipped with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 157 horsepower and 163 pound-feet of torque. It can be matched with either a six-speed manual or five-speed automatic transmission with manual-shift mode. The Mazda5 is the only minivan-like vehicle that can be equipped with a manual transmission, giving those who want to shift for themselves an appealing option in the family-hauler arena.

2.5-liter in-line four-cylinder
157 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
163 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/28 (manual), 21/28 (automatic)

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2012 Mazda MAZDA5 Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.1
Out of 10

Based on 38 Ratings for the 2012 - 2015 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.7/10
    Quality
    8.1/10
  • Reliability
    9.1/10
    Performance
    8.6/10
  • Comfort
    8.3/10
    Styling
    8.2/10

Perfect vehicle for my family!

By on Wednesday, January 20, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 40,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
5/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "flexible seating, sliding doors, great price"

Cons: "no roof rack on sport model"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I did a lot of research trying to find the vehicle that would fit my family's lifestyle and everything pointed to the Mazada5. It was the only car I test drove and bought it on the spot. Drives great and gets great gas mileage on my 20mi each way daily commute. We are a family of 4 with our two kids both in high-back booster seats. They have no problems switching to the back optional 3rd row and have plenty of room so we can fit adults in the two passenger bucket seats. The flexibility to be able to take a car load of people, help a friend move, or just commute to work is just what we were looking for in a vehicle. Three years in and have had zero issues with it. I have the Sport and wished that the dealer had had more than just this one left as I would have chosen to have more options like are offered in the Touring or Grand Touring. Overall, a wonderful vehicle and I'm so glad we chose to buy that day."

Worst Car I've Ever Owned

By on Wednesday, September 23, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 80,000

10 1.0
overall rating 1 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
1/10
Value
3/10
Reliability
1/10
Quality
1/10
Performance
3/10
Styling
6/10
Comfort
7/10

Pros: "cheap"

Cons: "expensive repairs"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1

"I've got a wife and 4 kids. Needed more space than a sedan could provide. This car was affordable, but I've experienced expensive suspension problems both front and back (google it), manual transmission went bad while under warranty, there's an intermittent problem with the ignition switch (it believes the key is still in the car and won't lock the doors from the fob), Brake and tire wear is excessive. The Mazda5 is built on the smaller Mazda 3 platform, I firmly believe they didn't upgrade the brakes or suspension for the extra weight. Driving can be sketchy. Handling around bumpy turns at highway speeds, the backend bounces. In the rain, the vehicle has very little traction, hydroplanes easily, requires extra stopping distance...Storage space is limited when all the kids are in the car, needed to add roof rack and storage box to carry luggage for trips."

11 people out of 26 found this review helpful

Love my Mazda5

By on Monday, September 14, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 77,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Seating for 6 (back 2 seats more comfortable for children or smaller adults), but drives like a car. Good gas mileage (24 average). Leather has held up nicely. No major mechanical issues. Love bluetooth phone/music capability. Nice stereo system."

7 people out of 14 found this review helpful

Zippy but fucntional

By on Thursday, June 25, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 47,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
9/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"We bought this 4 years back and have had no issues. To this day, it still drives like new. We just replaced the tires at 46K miles which really made me feel like driving out of the mazda parking lot. The kids love it, ofcourse they would prefer auto sliding doors, rear view camera and more leg room but for the money it has enough value. We once rammed at 70mph into an object that fell off the vehicle in front. The only thing that happened was a bent bumper with no other damage. I would think its reliable and safe based on this but am a safe driver anyway. Overall a great buy for value shoppers."

19 people out of 28 found this review helpful

A bit boring but an excellent car

By on Tuesday, March 17, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 6,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Really good value for money. As far as minivans go, this one's the only one I would consider. Easy to forget that it's so big since it handles so smoothly."

13 people out of 23 found this review helpful

Great car, but poor collision results

By on Saturday, March 07, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 49,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Handling, gas mileage, functionality"

Cons: "safety, ride noise"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1

"This really is an excellent vehicle - good on gas, no problems at all, nice ride, excellent handling in emergency situation and very functional with 3rd row seats. BUT, it failed the latest offset crash and side impact testing, so I must get a vehicle that has better safety."

15 people out of 23 found this review helpful

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