"I have three kids and we bought this car brand new around Thanksgiving last year. After driving it seven months, it has definitely grown on me. At first glance, when we were looking to buy my instinct was that it was way too small. I think it's that full-size minivan mentality I had, which meant that anything smaller wasn't going to work, but I have been shown wrong! My husband felt that the price was right and it seats everybody.
I have my six-year-old in the third row in a backless booster (Harmony brand), my six-month-old daughter in the second row, rear facing in a Graco SnugRide, behind the driver. And my three-year-old rides front facing in the second row in his enormous, heavy Graco Nautilus car seat. The second row seats slide easily forwards and backwards to allow for room for my six year old to climb in the back. He can also operate the sliding doors by himself as well as climb in through the hatch and buckle himself in.
We haven't taken it on a long road trip yet, but when we do, we are planning to get a roof rack. Our family of five goes grocery shopping together and we find plenty of room between seats and on the floor, as well as when half of the third row is down, to stuff grocery bags.
Furthermore, a double stroller can fit behind the third row. I was skeptical and it does take a little ingenuity and perfect positioning, but I can get my Joovy Caboose Sit-and-Stand behind third row with both seats up. I do have to take the sunshade off but it works. So, pretty cool, huh?
This car has been an affordable, great fit for our family and as our kids age out of car seats, it will work even better and be even more flexible. ONe more thing: I have used the back half of the third row folded down as a place to change my infant daughter but I've also used the second row captain's chair folded down as a changing "bench", too. Like I said, this car has surprised me with its flexibility.
To be honest, I do sometimes wish I had more room behind that third row but after eight months of ownership I have yet to be in a situation where it absolutely didn't work. I have always been able to make the people/cargo calculus work out.
Best wishes on your car shopping for your family."
Cons: "no power side- sliding doors but very easy to open and close with one finger"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"After matching the mazda 5 against the other mini-vans, I thought it had much more value than the others. I felt like I saved about $8000 or $9000 and got pretty much what I wanted. My wife hauls 3 grandkids around in it. It is very reliable and easy to drive and easy to park. With the back 4 seats down. you can haul a lot more than you would expect (fold-up tables, chairs, coolers, food etc). We made one trip to Las Vegas from San Diego over the mountains going there and then again coming back. no problems with power. 28 mpg both ways."
"I did much research this new 5 and critics across board praise it!the the touring is best choice @ 21k u get upgraded alloys better grille rr spoiler and side skirts and leather wheel and shift knob..all power is standard!Mazda design is not for all but we are impressed.its the perfect small family hauler that looks great &is fun to drive and suits all our needs w/great gas milage (28mpg),the 157 hp 4 cyl provides plenty of power and is smooth and quiet along with its fluid shifting 5spd auto,wind& road noise is at a low and ride is very smooth despite the low prof 17's,we took on long trip and it did great on highway while providing plenty of comfort..the seats r soft w/good lumbar support and its controls are laid out well and materials are of good quality,storage rooms great with 3rd row down and theres plenty of little stow away area's,they dont really advertise this car and really dont have to,its a winner and a solid choice for for young family"