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Mazda MAZDA5, Car Buying, Wagon
#232 of 264 Delightful Downsizing: 2012 Mazda5 GT in Clearwater Blue
Oct 04, 2011 (2:06 pm)
Our previous car was a 2004 Honda Pilot. We live in a big city, so 1 car is really all that makes sense for us. The Pilot was a little too big (OK, a lot too big) and not very fuel efficient for driving in the big city, but it was paid off and running great. We planned to run it into the ground. Unfortunately, the guy driving the GMC Envoy who ran a stop sign at 30 mph, T-boning me right in the driver's door, decided to put our Honda Pilot in the ground well ahead of schedule. With very little time on our insurance rental car coverage to find a new car, what were we going to do?
We didn't want another Pilot -- they have only gotten bigger, uglier and more expensive. While our experience with Honda had been superb, we found they really didn't have a car that suited our small, urban family--the CRV has too little seating, and the Pilot and Odyssey are WAY too big and WAY too expensive, especially since we were getting only $12,000 for the totaled Pilot (a fair settlement, but the downside of totaling an older car). We needed something kind of in between, so that we could haul the family, plus kid's friends and/or stuff. My mom wanted us to get the Odyssey, and she wouldn't stop going on about until I told her it was only 1" less in length than the interior of our city garage. Enter, the Mazda5!
My wife was completely skeptical before we test drove it. "It's too small!" When we got to the dealership, and I opened up the sliding doors, the 9-year old leaped into the 2nd row captain's chair, reclined the seat, and proclaimed "this is it!" My wife was quickly won over, too, when she saw the 3rd row seats and the flexibility in the 2nd row--being able to recline and move the seats back and forth is a real plus. The test drive was flawless -- sometimes a car just "fits" you to a tee, and it's obvious from the start. We test drove a few other cars that day, but we couldn't make it back to the Mazda dealer soon enough and buy the Mazda5, a GT in clearwater blue.
That was 1 month ago, and we are very happy Mazda5 drivers. I am only now beginning to get my driving time in, after recovering from the injuries caused by the accident that did in our Honda Pilot. It feels great to be back in a more reasonably sized vehicle. The interior layout and design make the Mazda5 surprisingly fun and comfortable to drive. Although the car IS small, the front seat interior is well designed enough to avoid most of the elbow clashes my wife and I usually end up in when driving smaller cars. The only point of contention is the location of the front seat cupholders -- too low, too far to the rear, and too close to the seatbelt buckles. The quality of the interior work is impressive, the climate control works great, and the moon roof is fun. I'm impressed by and enjoying the "manual" transmission function. We ARE still waiting for the fuel economy to improve -- we drive almost exclusively in Chicago, and we have seen it tick up slowly, but it's still well below the advertised mileage, at least according to the dashboard computer.
As others have said, this vehicle has a flexibility and utility that are unmatched, without the extra price and size of virtually every other SUV and "mini"van on the market.
#233 of 264 Snowbirds
Oct 16, 2011 (6:29 pm)
Has anyone loaded up their 5 and hauled all their stuff to Florida?? We are trying to decide between a 5 and Sienna. Coming from a T&C which we fill up for the trip each year we are afraid the 5 will not have enough room. Willing to cut back some as we loved driving the 5 in our test drive.
#234 of 264 Re: Snowbirds [leewan]
Oct 16, 2011 (7:55 pm)
I've owned an older Sienna (2000) and a Mazda 5 (2008), and loved both of them. When we took the Sienna to the Grand Canyon, we got a canvas bag that sat on the roof and attached to the roof rack with velcro. Since we needed all the seats in, there wasn't room for much beside the five of us in the van.
With the Mazda 5, we've always been amazed at what fits inside, love driving it, and love the gas mileage compared to my Sienna. There's no comparison between the responsive steering in the Mazda5 and the sluggish, oh-did-you-want-to-turn-here? steering on the Sienna.
Good luck with your decision!
#235 of 264 Re: Snowbirds [leewan]
Oct 17, 2011 (6:45 am)
The MZ5 is a great little what I'd like to call "Microvan". Comparing the Sienna to the MZ5 is like comparing apples to oranges. A better comparison would be between a Sienna and an Odyssey. Having said that, if you are planning on using all 6 seats in the MZ5 you will definately need to invest on a roof rack and/or luggage carrying device that will mount to the roof. When all 6 seats are in use you have only pillow/blanket stash room behind the third row. Also, with all this loaded (luggage on roof and six occupants) you will definately feel the difference in power. You'll eventually get to the speed limit but you wont get to it quick. On steep inclines (if you encounter any) your best bet is to move to the right slow lane just to avoid getting ugly stares and the ocasional bird. However, if you are only using 4 seats, then you have tons of room when the third row is stashed away, obviously 5 occupants will diminish interior luggage room but you'll be able to fold one side of the third row to use for luggage.
Anyway, hope this helps. Even with all of the above mentioned, I love my MZ5 and I would never trade it for a "Minivan" (Sienna, Odyssey, et.al)
#236 of 264 Re: Snowbirds [davicho]
Oct 17, 2011 (7:43 am)
Thanks should have said, it is just the two of us going south for the winter
#237 of 264 Re: Snowbirds [leewan]
Oct 17, 2011 (8:26 am)
In that case...you should have bought yourself a MZ5 long time ago. The Sienna is just too big if its just the two of you. With just the two of you, you will have tons and tons of room with the second and third row folded down. Enjoy your trip on your new MZ5 (if you decide to get it)...
Oct 17, 2011 (9:40 am)
A reporter is interested in talking with owners of a 2011 or 2012 Mazda 5 who are also parents. If you are interested in commenting on your experience, please reply to predmunds.com no later than Monday, October 31, 2011 and include your city and state of residence, the model year of your vehicle and the age of your child/ren.
#239 of 264 Re: Snowbirds [davicho]
Oct 18, 2011 (10:01 am)
Well we did it, 2012 Red Sport 5 spd auto. Hope it works out, thanks to all.
#240 of 264 Re: Snowbirds [leewan]
Oct 18, 2011 (10:17 am)
Congrats!! You'll love it. Enjoy!
Oct 22, 2011 (12:49 pm)
We have a luggage bubble on our 2010 Mazda 5 and love it. When you need extra stuff it holds about another 15 cu feet--the same amount of space in a mid-size sedan. That way you can hold 4 people and huge amounts of luggage or even 6 people and moderate luggage on a trip.
Plus we now have a hitch in back installed so that we can put two bikes in back.
Overall enjoying our Mazda5 a lot. It's a lot of car for the money. Love the smooth shifting manual and the sporty handling.