By Thom Cannell
The automatic channel
Driving behind a Mazda5, you might be wondering what it is. Chic and a bit eccentric with a hatchback and four doors, it looks like a funky SUV based on a car, oversized wagon or minivan. Bingo – it’s a versatile little van, and it’s trendy, cool and a great all-rounder for this decade.
First, a Mazda5 is spacious with the surprise that it has three rows of seats in a vehicle barely larger than a Focus or a Scion xB. It’s that space and adaptable interior that creates the versatility, as well as the amazing fact that the second row of seats will comfortably fit your linebacker-sized cousin. Access to the second and third fold-flat rows is via traditional minivan-style sliding doors; Of course, you will tell the kids that the third row is adventure playground and stuff them behind the adults.
Behind the third row of seats, when in use, there is enough luggage room for a night at Grandma’s. Push the third row flat and you have enough room to bring home a new washer. Fold everything flat and you can attend a real estate sale with confidence.
For 2009, the only improvements to the Mazda5 are additional color choices, a new silver and sand interior to match the âStormy Blue and Brilliant Blackâ exteriors. Improvements from last year like a 5-speed automatic transmission, rear-mounted air vents, an auxiliary input for your mp3 player and, most importantly, better fuel economy continue. Its frugal 2.3-liter all-aluminum four-cylinder engine that, with 153 horsepower and 148 pounds of torque, will get you where you go without ever getting scared with acceleration. For some, a turbocharged model or a V6 option would be welcome, but the EPA rating of 21 cities and 27 freeways has its own appeal; models with 5 manual gears get another mpg.
So far other than the small size and the three rows of seats, you have been wondering why we liked this thing so much. So here are the Bullet Points
- The low lift or lift height at the rear makes it easy to load groceries, boxes or a wheelchair. In fact, you can load a wheelchair without folding it. Only those who have this chore understand how much of a blessing it can be.
- Sliding side doors require little effort, close well and firmly with a sturdy âclunkâ bank safe.
- The second row slides back for more legroom and tilts. With the third row folded, there is enough cargo space for a family vacation. With this row packed with college teammates linked to playing football, there’s room for a decent amount of stuff, although it would be a tight fit if all five had backpacks, soccer balls, and bags. sports bags.
- The interior is sleek and offers amenities associated with luxury cars like a graphical eyebrow display of HVAC / audio activities (channel or track number, fan speed, air distribution) and steering wheel audio controls, two 12 V sockets, a closed sport gearshift and optional navigation system.
- The steering was crisp, precise and just a little jittery, but our test car may have had a bit of misalignment up front.
- The seats, all six of them, were comfortable for all who walked in and out.
- In a major suspension travel test, our Mazda5 overcame the traffic calming bumps, those neighborhood âsleeping copsâ with absolute ease. This indicates decent suspension travel and a length of wheelbase that induces ride comfort.
- It’s nicely styled – it looks fresh, futuristic, and not like a minivan, even if you know in your heart that it is.
Room for improvement:
- When the vehicle’s load approaches its maximum capacity, whether it’s more than four passengers or a lot of cargo, the rear sag on its suspension stops on medium and large bumps. It needs a larger spring rate or an adjustable spring rate option under these conditions. Fortunately, if you plan on carrying around a lot of weight on a regular basis, increasing the spring rate is a relatively inexpensive alternative and something we suggest.
- We would also like better speakers for the audio system. It’s also an easy alternative if your ears are as picky as ours.