By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 7.1
There's nothing else quite like the Mazda5 among new cars today. The 2013 Mazda5 can best be thought of as a miniature minivan. In length it's the size of a compact sedan, yet the Mazda5 can seat up to six passengers and has dual sliding doors and a rear liftgate that allow easy access for passengers and cargo. Unlike traditional minivans, the Mazda uses a smaller, more fuel-efficient engine and has a starting price under $21,000. Then there is the Mazda5's biggest surprise: its driving dynamics. The words "minivan" and "fun to drive" usually don't mix, but the Mazda5 is an exception. What the Mazda5 lacks in size and power compared to others, it makes up for in driving manners, fuel efficiency and value.
If you need seating for six and don't want to spend a fortune, the Mazda5 is a smart – if not obvious – choice. That the Mazda5 is fun to drive and costs thousands less than minivans such as the Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna are further incentives.
If you need to seat more than six passengers and have room leftover for cargo or require the ability to tow a trailer, you'll need to step up to a larger minivan or a 3-row crossover SUV. Traditional minivans also offer more creature comforts such as built-in navigation systems and power-operated sliding doors.
2013 Mazda5 models receive mirror-mounted LED turn signals, a USB audio input, rear backup sensors in Touring and Grand Touring models, and new exterior color choices. The available 6-disc CD changer says goodbye. Models with the automatic transmission gain one mpg in city fuel economy to reach a rating of 22 mpg.
Driving Impressions Consider the Mazda5's road manners icing on the automotive cake. While we doubt any driving enthusiast's first choice of vehicle would be a minivan, this people mover feels more nimble...than its larger, heavier rivals. Off-the-line acceleration is not the Mazda5's strength, but it redeems itself with its ability to hug corners and transmit road feel without compromising overall comfort. Among the 2013 Mazda5's pragmatic highlights is its ease in parking lots. At nearly the same length – actually a smidge shorter – as the Mazda3 compact sedan on which it's based, the Mazda5 is a snap to maneuver. Outward visibility is excellent, the seats are comfortable, and dash controls are laid out well. If you happen to be among the "save the manuals" crowd of shrinking buyers who actually enjoy shifting for themselves, the Mazda5 is your sole choice among minivans offering a manual transmission.
For its small exterior, the Mazda5's innards can hold a lot. With the 3rd-row seats folded flat, there is 44.4 cubic feet of space, perfect for hauling sports gear or the family pet. Built-in storage cubbies make further use of space.
Whether in base or buffed-up form, the 2013 Mazda5 offers a lot for the money. Prices range from under $21,000 to just over $25,000 before options.
The Mazda5's interior is best described in one word: functional. With room for six passengers, fold-flat second and third rows, and convenient storage areas such as under-seat cubbies in the 2nd-row captain's chairs, there's plenty of space for people and stuff. A caveat does come with that last row, though. The pair of 3rd-row seats are small and most suitable for children. The second row, on the other hand, offers plenty of individual space and commendable legroom. The leather-trimmed seats on the top-line Grand Touring model lend a nicer feel (literally), but overall, the interior amenities lag behind comparable versions of larger minivans.
Picture a minivan, and then shrink that visualization slightly. That's the Mazda5, a mini minivan. Overall, you could say the 2013 Mazda5 has a friendly profile, starting with that grin-shaped face that adorns other Mazda front ends. Swooping, wave-like swaths make for stylish sides, and even the rear door is cute by minivan standards. Mid-level Touring models are spruced up with side sill extensions and a rear spoiler, while top-line Grand Touring models are adorned with a power moonroof and xenon high-intensity discharge headlights.
A base 2013 Mazda5 Sport comes with cruise control, automatic climate control, remote keyless entry, manual driver's seat with height adjustment, a tilt/telescoping steering wheel, and a 6-speaker AM/FM/CD system with USB and auxiliary inputs. Touring versions add features such as backup sensors, Bluetooth connectivity, an automatic transmission, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob. Grand Touring models up the comfort factor with leather upholstery, a power moonroof, heated front seats, rain-sensing windshield wipers, and driver's seat lumbar support. Safety features on all models include six airbags, traction control and anti-lock brakes with electronic brake-force distribution and brake assist.
All 2013 Mazda5 models can be outfitted with a rear-seat DVD entertainment system featuring a 7-inch monitor and two wireless headsets, remote engine start, and rearview mirror with a compass and a HomeLink remote transmitter for opening garages and gates. Base Sport models can be had with an automatic transmission, which is standard on other trims. If you want a navigation system, portable Garmin units are available from the dealer, as are roof racks to carry everything from luggage to a kayak.
The 2013 Mazda5 uses a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine that makes 157 horsepower and 163 lb-ft of torque. If that doesn't sound like much power, it's because it isn't. A Mazda5 loaded with passengers won't win many races, but for everyday duties, the powerplant is fine. Helping matters is the Mazda5's 5-speed automatic transmission, which is a smooth and eager shifter. The base Sport version is the only one available with a 6-speed manual transmission. All Mazda5s are front-wheel drive and can run on regular unleaded gasoline.
2.5-liter inline 4-cylinder
157 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
163 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/28 mpg (automatic), 21/28 mpg (manual)
By joyfulgirl3 on Sunday, October 19, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 33,500overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "seating for 6, quiet ride,"
Cons: "no storage w/all seats used, cheap cloth seats"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5
"This car is great if you have 2 kids and can leave the back seats folded down like a wagon for storage. It's good if you only carry additional children sometimes. If you are planning a 3rd child or 5 passengers, I would skip this car. With all seats up there is very little storage. A single Maclaren stroller can fit but forget any other type of stroller. I miss a trunk more than I thought I would. With 2 back seats, there is no 'middle' safer seat. My car has 33K miles on it and someplace after 20K started dropping gas mileage. Serviced regularly/tires inflated etc. Warranty conveniently expired now with no resolution. I haven't driven a big van but it is nice to drive forward and is easy to park between the huge cars/vans/SUVs most people have. It has a lot of windows and isn't much bigger than my old Honda Accord, but I feel like I can't see when backing up, especially with back seats up. Blind spots when switching lanes, especially to right,...even when doing shoulder checks. For the visibility reason, I wouldn't recommend this car. For 2 or 3 kids, I'd stick w/a regular car w/better gas mileage, more frills and probably the same or lesser cost. I've always had the lowest end model of cars...but this Sport version just feels 'cheap' inside. Cloth seats especially seem cheap and stain w/kids. Back rubber floor mats are nice!"
14 people out of 21 found this review helpful
By Kevin on Saturday, October 18, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 82,500overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Flexible seating, fun to drive, handles great"
Cons: "5 speed tranny, no power seat options,"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I have owned my car for almost 3 years now and it has 82,500 miles. As a daily driver in mixed traffic situations I average between 23.5-25mpg. On a recent trip to Detroit mostly highway miles I averaged just over 30mpg @65mph. The car has plenty of storage and cubbies and my over 6 foot kids love to ride in the second row with the bucket seats and plenty of leg room. What drew me to the car was the value, interior flexibility between passengers and cargo and the size of the vehicle. The car is great to drive aggressively in curves and has plenty of pep to get your blood flowing if that is what you like to do. The interior cleans easily and getting into and out of the vehicle is easy with the dual sliding doors. The cons to this vehicle are the lack of power seats, front leg room, no power outlets for the second row and the 5 speed automatic transmission, an extra cog would improve gas mileage I believe."
1 person out of 2 found this review helpful
By stowevter on Tuesday, October 14, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 22,000overall rating 1 of 10rating details
Pros: "ease of access"
Cons: "poor paint adhesion"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"We have a 2013 Mazda5 Sport with 22,000 miles. The car has a serious paint adhesion problem. It has flaked off around the wheel wells to bare metal, and on both sides of the car from the rocker panels up about 18" on the doors. I have taken it to the dealer for warranty repair, and that was declined. I also called Mazda North America and requested warranty reaper, and they declined it too. We are very disappointed in the paint quality of this car and will not purchase another Mazda (we bought a CX-9 on the same day as the Mazda5 for about $60,000)."
4 people out of 9 found this review helpful
By rkryan on Saturday, September 27, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 10,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Handling, room, MPG, willing engine, great value"
Cons: "Options list a bit sparse, 3rd row seat is tight."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"This car is Mazda's best kept secret. I planned to buy a Mazda CX-5 until I drove the Mazda 5. It handles like my Audi wagon did and is just as easy to park, yet it's got room for 6 people or 97 cubic feet of cargo--that's full size SUV territory! I'm averaging 29 mpg and it's not even broken in yet. Oh, and you can easily buy one for well under $20k out the door. What's not to like? Sure it's not the sexiest car on the road, but if you can get past that superficial nonsense, you will quickly realize this is an astoundingly useful car at great price that is genuinely FUN to drive. I even got mine with slick-shifting 6 speed manual (don't worry, there's a fun "sport shift manual for you ninnies that can't handle a clutch) Listen, I'm a single guy and an avid driver, I don't have a baby-on-board sign and I love this car, that should tell you something. Don't punish yourself with an SUV or crossover with numb steering and a mashed potato suspension just because you need a roomy vehicle. If you're looking at SUV's because you need the room, but you don't NEED 4 wheel drive or off-road ability, do yourself a favor and take a serious look at the Mazda 5. Go for a test drive while you still can because Mazda is sadly discontinuing this model. A vigorous test drive of this car on a windy road WILL make you a believer in the Zoom-Zoom. You can chuck it into corners with near reckless abandon and it carves through them like a scalpel. You can take it down a 30 mph highway exit ramp at 55 mph with total confidence, no exaggeration. If you can find a car that does as many things as well as this one does for under $30-40K, then buy it. I promise you if you enjoy driving at all and you need a roomy car, you will NOT find a better value than this, period."
5 people out of 8 found this review helpful
By Pete on Friday, September 12, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 34,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "great price, roomy, and comfortable seats"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I with my wife and two kids, 15 and 13, traveled around California, Oregon and Washington. Our Mazda 5 is fun to drive and very quiet. It is roomy for us to carry 4 big Baggage and 3 small ones in our trip."
4 people out of 9 found this review helpful
By snowyhessh on Saturday, July 19, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 18,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"“50/50 Weight Distribution” is touted as the all-encompassing term thrown around for balanced rear-wheel drive sports cars. Remember, this is the company that removes weight and simplifies with cars like the Mazda Miata, a car with 51%/49% weight distribution. Why hasn’t Mazda bragged about its sporty minivan's weight distribution? After many failed Google searches for “weight distribution Mazda5 NOT Miata”, I finally stumbled upon Consumer Reports, which reports that this vehicle has 51%/49% Front / Rear weight distribution. The engineers at Mazda have done well to keep the weight down. It’s the lightest vehicle with sliding doors and three rows of seats. The sliding doors are very light, so there is no need for heavy electric motors. "It’s more fun to drive a slow car fast than it is to drive a fast car slow." Toss the 157hp Mazda5 into some tight curves and it will only beg to go faster. Sure everyone expects the boy racers in two door coupes, and sporty looking cars to tackle a corner with some zest. I think there’s something to be said about a vehicle with sliding doors, barreling down an onramp in second gear, screaming toward the redline to accelerate onto the highway as quickly as possible. I’ve passed a good number of German cars like BMW M3s, and Porsche 911s around two lane onramps. The double-take I get is priceless. After the my wife and son are tucked away at home, going for a late night drive for the heck of it still has some meaning. I have not given up on life by buying a Mazda5. My wife has brought a life into this world, and I picked a vehicle that allows me to maybe one day show my son that he doesn’t have to compromise passion for practicality."
17 people out of 25 found this review helpful