2009 Mazda5 New Car Test Drive
The Mazda 5 combines the best features of a wagon, a minivan, an SUV, and a car. It boasts six-passenger seating and generous cargo space. It's easy to park and run about and it rides and handles like a compact car, albeit a tall one.
It's inexpensive to buy and operate. Equipped with a 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine, it gets an EPA-rated 21/27 mpg City/Highway when equipped with the five-speed automatic.
The Mazda 5 gains practicality by going vertical. It's a tall car, a concept very popular in Europe, less so in America. It's built on the same mechanical platform as the Mazda 3 compact sedan. In fact, the Mazda 5 weighs less and covers a smaller patch of road than the Mazda 6 mid-size sedan.
Mazda5 was introduced as a 2006 model, then restyled and updated for 2008. Changes for 2009 are minor: There's more standard equipment than before, and there are more interior color choices.
The Mazda 5 is inexpensive, starting at $17,995. The mid-level Touring model retails for less than $21,000, while a loaded Grand Touring model with navigation and Sirius satellite radio lists for less than $27,000.
We think the Mazda5 is a good value for young families with small children.
The Mazda5 is available in three trim levels. All are powered by the same engine, a 153-hp 2.3-liter inline-4. A five-speed manual transmission is standard for the Sport, and a five-speed automatic optional ($1,110). The automatic is standard for the Touring and Grand Touring models.
Mazda 5 Sport ($17,995) comes with automatic climate control; cruise control; tilt/telescoping steering wheel with speed and sound controls; power windows, door locks and mirrors; remote keyless entry; six-speaker AM/FM/CD stereo with auxiliary input jack; front bucket seats with fold-down inboard armrests; driver-seat height and lumbar adjustment; folding second-row bucket seats with inboard and outboard armrests; a fold-out table with storage and cupholders for the second row; third-row split-folding seat; interior air filter; four passenger assist grips; and carpeted floor mats. An attractive and durable-looking fabric covers the seats and door panels with seat side bolsters and insets wearing contrasting textures. The standard wheel-and-tire package consists of 205/50VR17 all-season radials on 17-inch alloy rims. A Popular Equipment package ($490) adds an in-dash 6CD changer, a rear liftgate spoiler, and side sill extensions. A sunroof is no longer available on Sport models.
Mazda 5 Touring ($20,920) makes the Sport's Popular Equipment package standard, and adds a power glass sunroof, leather covers for the steering wheel and shift knob, fog lamps, LED taillamps, and black headlamp and taillamp bezels.
Mazda 5 Grand Touring ($22,675) adds leather seats with matching cloth door inserts, heated front seats, automatic xenon high-intensity discharge (HID) headlamps, heated power mirrors, rain-sensing wipers, and a wireless cell phone link. An optional navigation system ($2,000) is exclusive to the Grand Touring.
Options for all models include an auto-dimming rearview mirror with a compass and a universal garage door opener ($275); Sirius satellite radio with a six-month subscription ($430); a retractable rear cargo cover ($150); remote engine starter ($350), and other minor accessories.
Safety features that come standard on all models include the required dual-action frontal airbags, plus front seat-mounted side-impact airbags for torso protection, and head-protecting side air curtains for all three rows of seats. Also, every seating position gets a three-point seatbelt and an adjustable head restraint. Be sure your passengers use those seatbelts as they're your first line of defense in a crash. The middle and rear seats have child safety seat anchors (LATCH). A tire-pressure monitor, antilock brakes (ABS) with Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist also come standard. Traction control and electronic stability control are not available, which is odd for such a family-oriented vehicle.