Car review: The Mazda 5 compact minivan for the entire family

Looking for a car that can get the entire family around with good gas mileage? Then the Mazda 5 might be your best bet yet.
Photo: Russell Dandridge

DALLAS, December 11, 2011 – Compact minivan anyone? What does it really mean putting a minivan into the compact equation?  Well, Mazda thought it through and decided they could do it with the Mazda 5 compact minivan.  

The Mazda 5 is worth a look.

The Mazda 5 is worth a look.

The Mazda 5 is actually smaller than other minivans of its ilk on the market, but still it easily offers enough room for six passengers.

Even better, this one looks sportier, so it’s not a mommy machine, something many folks just want to steer clear of, right?

The Mazda 5 was revamped for 2011 and it looks a bit hipper. It’s also a lot more comfortable for all those passengers too.

In three different trims, you get the base Sport, midlevel Touring, and high-line Grand Touring. The  bottom of the line base sport has 16-inch alloy wheels, sliding rear doors, automatic climate control with rear-seat controls, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, full power accessories, and a six-speaker stereo with all the bells and whistles added. 

Moving up to the next trim level and the Touring has 17-inch wheels, fog lights, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and a trip computer. 

If that is still not enough, the Grand Touring adds to that the xenon headlights, automatic wipers, leather upholstery, heated front seats, a sunroof, and a satellite radio.

Options that are available on the Mazda 5 include an iPod integration and a voice-controlled touch screen navigation system.

For the safety conscious driver, all the trims have traction and stability control, front seat side airbags, and full-length side curtain airbags.

Under the hood, the Mazda 5 offers a 2.5-liter four-cylinder with 157 horsepower and 163 pound-feet of torque. The standard is a six-speed manual on the Sport or you can opt for the five-speed automatic on the Sport, which is the norm on the other two trim levels.

With a comfortable ride and easy handling overall, this compact minivan is a winner in the compact minivan world. Note too that the second row of seats also slide and recline and that made me happy. There is also a pop-up center table and storage space for the kids. You can stow it if passengers need to get to the third row of seats.

It’s easy to drive and even easier to drive home, if you’re in the market for a vehicle that’s small enough to offer eco-features, but big enough to take on a family of six.

Should You Need to Know: Note on the 2011 Mazda 5: It offers 44 cubic feet of cargo space, even with the second row in use and with the third row folded down.

Miles Per Gallon: The Grand Touring I drove got 21 miles in the city and 28 miles on the highway.

Cost:  $24,720 for the Mazda 5 Grand Touring trim.

Rita Cook is a writer/editor with has over 1000 articles to her credit in the past 13-plus years. She is a frequent auto and travel contributor on a radio show in Los Angeles called Insider Mag Radio at KPRO 1570 am on from midnight to 12:30 a.m. Monday mornings.  She also contributes travel and auto to the Anthony Duva show, which can be heard live from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. EST every Sunday at

Cook is a member of the Texas Auto Writer’s Association, writes for the Dallas Morning News Green Living Section as well as artist profiles and www.greensourceDFW and spends much of her time on the road traveling or working on books. Her latest book releases are both “Haunted Dallas” and “Haunted Fort Worth” from  You can also follow Cook at Twitter at @ritacook13.




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Rita Cook

Rita Cook is a writer/editor with over 1000 articles to her credit in the past 10-plus years. She is the co-host of a radio show in Los Angeles; Insider Mag Radio at KPRO 1570 am and is on from midnight to 12:30 a.m. Monday mornings.  Cook is a member of the Texas Auto Writer’s Association and also writes an eco-friendly column for the Dallas Morning News.


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