Overview & Reviews
Compact minivans have been popular for years in Europe and Japan, where families find them useful for dealing with narrow streets, limited parking and high fuel prices. Attempts by import-label automakers to bring these "super space wagons" to U.S. shores in the early 1990s were largely unsuccessful, however, because Americans were more interested in modern SUVs and large minivans. But once rising gas prices led some buyers to downsize from larger vehicles, Mazda decided that a truly "mini" minivan might again have a chance with U.S. consumers.
The result is the Mazda 5 compact minivan. Although it's significantly smaller than other minivans on the market, the Mazda 5 provides six-passenger capacity along with the distinctive look and sporty handling for which Mazda is known. For buyers who need affordable, relatively fuel-efficient family transportation that's particularly easy to maneuver in traffic and a snap to park, the Mazda 5 is a strong choice.
Current Mazda 5
There are three trim levels of this compact minivan: base Sport, midlevel Touring and high-line Grand Touring. The Sport includes automatic climate control with rear-seat controls, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, full power accessories and a six-speaker stereo with a USB port. The Touring gets you foglights, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a trip computer and Bluetooth phone/audio. The Grand Touring adds xenon headlights, automatic wipers, leather upholstery, heated front seats, a sunroof and satellite radio. Options include a navigation system and a rear-seat entertainment system.
For power, the Mazda 5 comes with a 2.5-liter inline-4 engine that produces 157 horsepower and 163 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual transmission is standard on the Sport, while a five-speed automatic is optional on the Sport and standard on the other trims.
The 5's front seats are comfortable, though taller folks may wish for more rearward seat travel. The second-row captain's chairs slide and recline, and feature a pop-up center table and storage space that can be stowed away to allow a path to the third row. The smallish third row is best suited for kids but is easier to get into than most any larger crossover's last row. The van's sliding rear doors mean easy access, particularly in parking lots. Even with the second row in use and the third row folded down, there are still 44 cubic feet of cargo capacity available.
In Edmunds testing, we've found that the Mazda 5 can occasionally feel underpowered, such as when climbing steeper grades or while carrying a full load of passengers and cargo. It has the same refined engine we've praised in the past in the Mazda 3, but it's just not powerful enough to move a heavier van around at higher speeds with much authority. Its fuel economy is also unremarkable by four-cylinder standards, though it's still better than any minivan's V6 can manage.
On the bright side, these criticisms are pretty minor. In daily use, the 5 proves comfortable, easy to drive and both more agile and easier to park than a typical minivan, which is something to consider for those who don't really need all the space of a bigger van.
Used Mazda 5 Models
The second-generation Mazda 5 debuted for 2012. Compared to the earlier Mazda 5, it sports swoopier styling, more comfortable seating and a bit more power.
The first-generation Mazda 5 was introduced for the 2006 model year and ran until 2010. This compact minivan offered sliding side doors and seating for six within a relatively small footprint. Powered by a 2.3-liter inline-4 with 153 hp, most versions were fitted with a four- or five-speed automatic, although a five-speed manual was available on lower trims.
Initial trim levels consisted of base Sport and uplevel Touring, with perks of the latter including a sunroof, automatic climate control and an upgraded MP3-compatible stereo with an in-dash CD changer. A navigation system was optional for the Touring. The following year, the range-topping Grand Touring model debuted with its many luxury niceties.
For 2008, the Mazda 5 received revised front and rear styling and a new center control panel. Electroluminescent gauges were also added that year, along with rear seat air vents and controls, additional flip-down armrests and an auxiliary audio jack. Another thing to note is that Mazda 5 models prior to 2008 featured a four-speed automatic rather than the five-speed unit, resulting in lower fuel economy. Lastly, stability control wasn't available until 2010, when it came onboard as standard equipment.
User Reviews:Showing 1 through 10 of 525.00
A work in progress - 2007 Mazda Mazda5
By Probstc - December 28 - 2:10 am
We recently purchased a Mazda5 GT Standard. As all Mazdas I have previously owned, this one too has the "Zoom Zoom" in it. However, there are 2 issues I find most disturbing: After 3 weeks, our car with a supposedly full alarm system was broken into. It seems the engineers forgot to protect the small back windows and the crook busted the window and grabbed what he / she could. In all the repairs took 3 weeks to complete due to parts on back order and cost a fortune (most paid by my insurance). The car seems less than happy in the Canadian cold and several parts of the suspension have already had to be replaced, despite the car being less than 4 months old.
Most Practical Vehical - 2009 Mazda Mazda5
By Gordon - December 4 - 2:40 pm
Our other cars are Toyota Sienna and Honda Fit. The Mazda5 has most of "Best" plus more. It is as fun as the fit and as practical as the Sienna. The other car Mfg has them but they are afraid of image. We Mazda 5 owners like the image this car has.
1st week - 2006 Mazda Mazda5
By art'smazda5 - December 3 - 8:40 am
So far, this car, minus one particular issue I'll get to later, has been just about perfect. I feel proud driving one of these down the streets of San Francisco. This is especially so when i drive by the two other cars I was within moments of purchasing instead of the 5 - the Subaru WRX or Forester. I'm 33, I have a 3 1/2 year old son and I'm recently separated. I agonized over the decision. Do i get the WRX, i.e. single-guy, race-car on a budget. Or the Forester, i.e. time to grow up, go conservative and be "responsible". My answer, why not some "responsible" zoom-zoom, i.e., Mazda5. I've read lots of complaints about the power, but the stick I got makes for some pretty exciting driving!
Everything we could've hoped for! - 2006 Mazda Mazda5
By needamazda5 - November 25 - 12:26 pm
We absolutely love this car. It offers everything we wanted, capacity to haul items, lots of seat configurations, ability to carry 6 passengers with just enough leg room for everyone to be comfortable. We really like how this car is more responsible, with less weight and bulk it uses less gas. We also enjoy the looks we get and the inquires as to what the Mazda 5 is. It looks much more exciting than the traditional minivan and is a blast to drive! Zoom, Zoom.
Follow-up Review - 2009 Mazda Mazda5
By njmommy1 - November 20 - 7:01 am
I am writing a follow up review on this car, because I gave it a stellar rating a year ago, however I would not want anyone to buy this car based on that review. We have had the car two years. We have 40,000 miles on it, and are thankfully getting rid of it this week. I still love the design, the extra space in the back, the ability to seat 6 when needed, but the car is NOT reliable, and very unsafe. Here is a list of issues we have had: the rotors are shot, replaced the rear shocks at 36,500 (Mazda would not cover under warranty), we have replaced tires, had steering go out while driving (covered under warranty), gas cap broke, rear wiper broke This car shimmys squeaks and feels unsafe.
Just the right size, great value - 2006 Mazda Mazda5
By Puzman - November 18 - 4:00 pm
We've had our Mazda5 for about 2 months now. (my other car is a 2003 Protege ES, so I like Mazdas...). You get a lot of car for your money - it's quite roomy, very quiet and comfortable on the highway, gets good mileage considering the size of the car (we're averaging 27 mpg overall), is reasonably fun to drive, and is perfect for a small family (we're 2 adults, our 6 year old daughter, and a golden retriever). Acceleration is OK (not too different from my Protege), but it's certainly not overpowered. ;-) Handling is pretty good, considering size of car (although I notice a lot of front end dive when braking). Brakes feel soft and underpowered. Great road trip car.
The practical car for people who like to drive! - 2012 Mazda Mazda5
By 06scooby - November 16 - 6:24 pm
We love our Mazda 5 with the 6-speed. After giving up our manual Subaru Wagon for a full size mini-van after having 2 kids, we came back down to the 5. We are manual transmission people & this was our only option, but we love it. Sporty and fun, and plenty of room for two kids. Could use a little more oomph, but we prefer driving a slow car fast. Great gas mileage & its pretty comfortable despite the factory tires. We would have like a more loaded version, but giving up the goodies was worth 3 rows & a stick shift. I even contacted Mazda & asked with a large deposit if they'd build me a Grand Touring with a 6 speed & they said no! :-(
Sport Utility Wagon - 2007 Mazda Mazda5
By HotRodSaint - November 8 - 7:16 am
I wanted a vehicle that was fun to drive and was flexible in its cargo carrying capacity. The manual transmission Mazda5 fit this bill perfectly.
2006 Mazda 5 Sport - 2006 Mazda Mazda5
By 06SportDrvr - November 2 - 12:23 pm
I believe this is a great vehicle for young families. The third row seats are essentially jump seats for kids. You can cram people back there for very short drives only. Very easy to drive, but be warned the seats are very firm (Mazda explains this as being "sport seats" - decide for yourself). The driver's seat now has multiple squeaks within the seat, starting to drive me crazy. I get 24-25 miles per gallon, with a mix of city/highway driving which I think is poor for a 2.3L 4 cylinder with an automatic transmission. Perhaps a bigger engine or 5 speed automatic transmission would help. Shame on Mazda for not properly advertising this vehicle - could probably double sales.
surprizoomzoom - 2006 Mazda Mazda5
By mike - October 27 - 8:10 pm
Essentially a great looking minivan at a great price. Fun to drive, very responsive steering. Cupholders EVERYWHERE. Navigation is very cool. Sliding doors on both sides, very convenient. The 4 cylinder provides plenty of horsepower. Domestic automakers take note. Mazda has their act together. VROOM VROOM.