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2006 Mazda 5 - Long Term Review

 
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sfowle sfowle
Enthusiast | Posts: 507 | Joined: 05/06
Posted: 05/25/06
04:07 AM

It's curious to see such a small minivan as the Mazda 5 in the United States, but we've found that it has served its purpose well. It is far sportier than other minivans (though you will never confuse it for an RX-8 or MX-5), while still maintaining the family-hauling utility of the segment. We've found this to be a highly enjoyable people-hauler.

What have you thought of this vehicle? Is it too small for the American market, or is it a welcome addition to our ever-growing wheelbases and curb weights? Let us know what you think and check out our ongoing entries in the logbook below:
http://www.automobilemag.com/features/four_seasons_logbook/0604_2006_mazda_5/  

rodslinger rodslinger
New User | Posts: 1 | Joined: 06/06
Posted: 06/03/06
11:00 AM

I would really like to see some of the options this vehicle has in other markets for the US models. Power sliding doors, additional center seat, etc...

For an improvement in performance, the 5 or 6 speed auto that Mazda is using in some cars now would be a welcome change. I think this thing could benefit from the additional gear and lower 1st gear to help get it moving...  

EZ_Scootr EZ_Scootr
New User | Posts: 1 | Joined: 06/06
Posted: 06/15/06
11:44 PM

I've only seen 2 Mazda5's on the road in Colorado. As soon as I became aware of its existence I've been web researching it and I'll admit I'm fascinated by this vehicle. I'm considering the Mazda as a replacement for our current family hauler, but haven't driven it yet. I suspect I'll dislike the lack of power, but will like most everything else. I'm a verified car guy, and this is the first non road performance oriented vehicle that has ever commanded a couple of months of attention from me. The Mazda looks to be one of the most intelligent vehicle designs in years, and at a recent auto show it was evident that 'car guys' were in favor of its design and purpose. Unfortunately in North America most people seem to want stupid SUVs or other useless monstrously oversized vehicles so they can haul around acres of empty space with them everywhere they go.
If I could find a properly optioned lightly used Mazda5 to avoid some depreciation, I'd have a hard time turning it down.  

joela joela
User | Posts: 89 | Joined: 03/06
Posted: 06/20/06
08:57 AM

I sat in this vehicle numerous times at shows and demo's. Love the van-like spaciousness w/o the van size especially when parking. I've recommended it to my sister and brother-n-law for their small family. The third-row seating's great for their small (under ten) kids while the second row could easily accomodate my teen nephew.  

bgmiata bgmiata
New User | Posts: 1 | Joined: 07/06
Posted: 07/10/06
11:56 AM

We leased a Mazda5 Sport a few months ago after looking for a vehicle that my wife could use as an "around-town carpooler with more than five seas that isn't a minivan".  (I'll save you the trouble and tell you that it is the only vehicle like this!)  Ours is an Automatic with the Popular Equipment Package (CD Changer, fog lights, spoiler and extra rocker trim).  We absolutely love this vehicle!  It gets nice mileage (mid 20's around town w/ some hwy thrown in) and has outstanding utility.  It is our third Mazda (I had a 1993 Miata; she had a 1993 Mazda MX-3 4-cyl.) and we've been very pleased.  It has the zoom-zoom gene to be sure; the handling is very un-minivan like and the turning radius is very tight (even with 17" wheels and tires).  We drove ours from St. Louis to Memphis and the only complaint I had was that crosswinds seemed to push it around a bit more than I thought (but it was very windy [20+ MPH] and the car does have a rather sail-like profile).  I wish that a lighter color interior was offered (they are all black only) and it was over 100 degrees in Memphis.  We had our windows tinted, and I recommend that highly if you live/drive where it gets that hot.  As for acceleration, it's no RX-8, but it does have good punch down low, and you can manually shift the A/T (I wanted a stick, but it's her car and she did NOT).  I would love another 30 horsepower or so, though.  The transmission shifts very well and the seats are great on the long haul.  My only other interior change would be armrests for the front passenger and on the outside edges of the second row of seats.  Power sliding doors are not needed, since they close with one finger and are so well balanced.   If you want an "un-Minivan" or a "Microvan", this is a fabulous choice that you will not regret.  

opus-#001 opus-#001
New User | Posts: 1 | Joined: 07/06
Posted: 07/15/06
11:22 AM

The marketing slogan says it all "It's right where everything else isn't". The kids, twin twelve year old girls, were whining about wanting more room. My wife swore up and down that she would never drive a minivan. I cringe every time I even think about owning a SUV. That is why this works for us. It is not a slow, overweight, gas guzzling, SUV. It is also not a bland, poor-handling, automatic transmission minivan. My wife and I have always driven sticks, and the fact that this came with a stick almost sealed the deal on its own. Then came the above average handling, good mileage, and room to haul stuff. The price was the clincher. Room for six, moonroof, six disc CD, four wheel discs, 17" rims, variable valve timing 16v, for less than $20.000.00. There is not a better value in the automotive market.  

kartweb kartweb
New User | Posts: 1 | Joined: 07/06
Posted: 07/29/06
01:17 PM

We had to wait a few weeks for the manual transmission in a Touring model.  My wife thought it was perfect - lots of room, easy on gas and fun to drive.  Fun enough to want a manual transmission.

Powered by a 154 HP 2.3 liter it may not set records for 0-60 but thats what you give up to get 27 MPG.

Despite the anemic side it fits the Mazda theme of zoom-zoom. Steering is precise with excellnt feedback.  Brakes are very good with the correct power assist.  The shifter feels like its a 16" long bar going stright in the gearbox.  Each shift gate is indexed for proper lever motion.

Mazda went to extremes to keep weight down.  It has the thinnest glass I've ever seen in the windows - probably thinner then the glass in the mirrors of typicl US cars.  The rear hatch is made of plastic.  Road noise is reasonably muted.  The doors shut really easy and fit perfectly.

Mazda still hasn't nailed down the quality on paint as many 5's and 3's on the showroom floor have orange peel.

The price is simply attractive.  Now lets see what i think after my wife puts 5000 mile son it.  

shiftfocus shiftfocus
New User | Posts: 3 | Joined: 08/06
Posted: 08/16/06
12:20 PM

I don't get the comments (here and elsewhere) about lack of power.  157 hp "adequate?"  This thing will do 0-60 in about 10 seconds.  10 years ago that would have been considered ample for a vehicle in this class, and I still consider it to be so.  Some perspective, from my own history:  My 1983 Honda Civic had 70 hp, but in those years 70 hp in that class was actually about average - my Dad's '82 Accord had, I think, 85.  My '95 Taurus was rated at 140 hp, and it would cruise comfortably through the Canadian Rockies at 70+ mph.  My current 2004 Focus ZTW (130 hp), will do the same, loaded with 2 adults, 2 kids, and a ski-box full of cargo on the roof, and the a/c on; and it gets 28 mpg (US) doing it.  I have to shift to pass, but that's what makes a good 5-speed such a joy to drive.

Let's be realistic: we don't need 260 hp in our Accords and Camry's (or 300 hp in a Caliber? - puhleeeze!), and those who buy those cars will rarely, if ever, make use of such output.

OK, my rant is done.  Now, what I'd really like to see in the Mazda 5: the 2.0L turbo-diesel, with 6-spd, that they sell in Europe.  Only 143 PS, but 265 lb-ft of torque, at 2000 rpm!  Wow!  

Mazda 5 enthusiast Mazda 5 enthusiast
New User | Posts: 1 | Joined: 10/06
Posted: 10/24/06
11:00 AM

I own a Mazda5 touring with navigation. It is one of the best values out there. It seats 6, has auto climate control, cd changer, sunroof, ground effects, decent power, and modern looks. I have the fully loaded version and it was around $22,000. Tell me a brand new car that offers those options for that price. The engine isn't the most powerful but I haven't ever been in an emergency and wish I had more. The engine is smooth and efficient. It actually feels smoother than the 2.3l engines in other Mazda vehicles.
   The only small complaint I do have is the lack of cargo capacity when it's fully loaded. But on rare occasion does anyone have 6 people in this vehicle with lots of luggage or belongings. My car has taken me and other people many places including many road trips. It has benn above and beyond all expectations needed for a long haul driver. 4 adults can ride comfortably with sliding and reclining sears in the first and second row. The navigation system is definitely worth it if you travel to new places. I recommend this car to anyone who doesn't need a high performance cargo hauler.
   If this doesn't seem luxurious enough, the new Grand Touring model adds leather, and HID lights for example. If you're looking for something basic or the touring and grand touring models are above your budget the sport model has a great list of standard features with an excellent price. Try one out you will be surprised.  

Edward A. Sanchez Edward A. Sanchez
User | Posts: 211 | Joined: 06/06
Posted: 10/24/06
04:25 PM

I really like the 5, but its lack of power is the only think that makes me ambivalent. I currently drive a Protege5, and while not "gutless" by any means, it's not exactly a road-rocket, either. The Euro-spec turbodiesel would definitely be an option I'd consider, and would probably offer ample performance with 265 lb./ft. of torque. Personally, I think they should offer the CX-7's 244-horse 2.3 turbo as an option. Now THAT would make a fun, practical little ride.  Cool  

JasonCammisa JasonCammisa
Administrator | Posts: 141 | Joined: 07/06
Posted: 10/25/06
07:36 AM

Everyone here whined about the lack of power, too... and I tend to agree with the rest of you guys who say it's more than enough thrust.  With the manual, anyway.

I used our long-term 5 to haul all the stuff the moving guys missed when I made the switch to Ann Arbor... and fully loaded, 100mph was no problem in the least.  And the little van did just fine on Pittsburgh's big hills.

Sure, wouldn't the MazdaSpeed's 260-odd horsepower engine be nice?  Well yeah, but its torque steer and tire-squealing hyperactive personality doesn't match the 5's cool composure.

I think it's great just the way it is.  Well, except for that *$#& seatbelt buzzer.  Smile  

sfowle sfowle
Enthusiast | Posts: 507 | Joined: 05/06
Posted: 12/18/06
08:30 AM

http://www.automobilemag.com/features/four_seasons_logbook/0612_2006_mazda_5_four_seasons/

We've published our end-of-the-year wrap on the Mazda 5. Did we get it right?  

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