Calling all moms
Mazda is one of those car companies who seem to do no wrong. From the Miata to the brand-new Mazda2, there's very little to complain about in the Mazda lineup. After all, the Mazda3 was among one of the best-selling cars in all of Canada in 2009–that's quite a title to hold. Even the flashy RX-8, which has its flaws, sees more love than hate.
Why is that? Mazda is a company that clearly understands its customers and while they push the envelope on occasion, they don't stray so far outside the box that their vehicles become obsolete shortly after their release.
Case in point: The Mazda5. When it was first released in 2006, I was in love. The design was eye-catching, the practicality was unsurpassed and it was a fantastic option to larger SUVs and minivans. Here was a 6-seater vehicle for under $30,000, and it looked mint.
Not much has changed in the way of looks since the Mazda5 first appeared. While it seems to have significantly shrunken down through sharper angles, more refined edges and a more compact design, the general look and shape of the vehicle have prevailed.
Sitting on 16” wheels with the signature Mazda grin (that's almost as manic as the Mazda3's), this family-carrier has sporty cues throughout. Somewhere between a wagon and a van, the Mazda5 sits quite comfortably. It's not without an identity, however, and has a solid place on the market as a practical family vehicle.
Sitting in the Mazda5, you quickly realize how Mazda sells the sheer number of vehicles they do (and let me tell you, there's a Mazda5 on every corner and a Mazda3 not far behind). Well appointed with modern, aesthetically pleasing details, the inside of the Mazda5 is possibly one of the best I've seen in a while.
The gauge cluster is sporty without being overwhelming, and the chrome trim adds a touch of class, while the middle console might seem overwhelming at first (lots of buttons and knobs), but is actually highly user-friendly and easy to manipulate.
As a 5'2” driver, I was right at home in the Mazda5. The placement of the stick shift (at a 45-degree angle off the middle console) was ideal for my arm position in the driver's seat. Entertainment controls were easily reached and everything just worked. However, when my 6'1” husband sat down behind the wheel, he felt a bit like a giant. Not to mention he turned the climate control on full blast every time he shifted to 3rd or 5th gear. And in the passenger seat, his knees were firmly pressed up against the glovebox and centre stack, even with the seat pushed to its full-back position.
Auto journalist & Consumer Ratings
Editor's Review Highlights
2012 Mazda 5 Specifications