Javelin SuperDork
April 27, 2011 12:16 p.m.

I finally got off my lazy butt and got the Sport Van up on GRM! http://grassrootsmotorsports.com/reader-rides/5339/ It's a 2006 Mazda5 Sport with a 5-speed manual and has been the P71's replacement for my daily driver. It's basically a Mazda3 with a taller roof and a ton more cargo space (plus smuggler's compartments!). It's been pretty much perfect since I bought it as all I've had to do was replace the rear wiper blade.

I think it looks pretty sharp as well! Better than the 3 anyways. The cargo space is really useful as the 4 back seats all pop flat in seconds for a flat floor. It has haul half of an IKEA store (don't ask, stupid room remodeling...), 4 wheels & tires (plus 4 people), and my cherry picker so far. The seats are all comfy and the middle row is roomy enough for full-sized fatso's like me.

I like the "space age" look to it, and even the Platinum color is growing on me. Imagine it lowered on MS3 or RX-8 wheels...

The Sport trim is the base model, but is still well equipped enough for me. The seats are a high-wear cloth that are comfy and grip well in the corners and have been pretty easy to keep clean. It has a 6-disc CD player with AUX in and Satelitte compatibility, cruise control, power windows/locks/mirrors, and a cool switchblade keyfob with alarm. The best feature is the power moonroof though, I love that!

It has Toyo Proxes T1-R's on the stock wheels for now, but honestly they aren't that impressive. (Honestly, I've never liked any Toyo tire I've driven on except maybe the TPT). I'll put winter tires on these come November and next spring it should get dedicated 3-season wheels, probably gloss black Enkei PF-01's.

Why the Falcon? Well, it was cheap ($9250 out the door with 70K miles), it gets way better mileage than a V6 Mazda6 wagon (averaging 24-25 mostly in-town on E10 swill), and it's totally invisible to cops. I've accidentally done a peel-out in it (no TCS and a real live throttle cable!!!) right in front of one, and he looked at every car but mine!

I've been extremely happy with the purchase so far (3-4 months now). It does have some pretty gnarly dents, dings, and scrapes but that adds character. I'm going to start doing some mods to it (think shocks, sway bars, aero mods) to get better mileage and more fun in the corners. The very long-term plan is to stuff a complete MS3 drivetrain into it after the kids are done shredding the interior.

Hope y'all like the Falcon. She may not look like much, but she's got it where it counts.

mndsm SuperDork
April 27, 2011 12:23 p.m.

I REALLY like those things in general. I've got one on my to own if I crashify xxx car list.

Raze Dork
April 27, 2011 12:24 p.m.

I'll only be impressed when she makes the Kessel run in less than 12 parsecs...

bluesideup Reader
April 27, 2011 12:24 p.m.

I like the Falcon reference. We have an '08 but it's autotragic. I'm debating the Konis or just some KYBs. Apparently Bilsteins from a Volvo V50 will fit but I can't confirm it.

If your rear wiper won't fold out there is a little tab you can remove from the cap at the motor end of the arm. I think the tab is here to keep the wiper from lifting off the glass when you get near ludicrous speed

Raze Dork
April 27, 2011 12:29 p.m.

In reply to bluesideup:

that only happens when you go plaid...

Javelin SuperDork
April 27, 2011 12:31 p.m.
Raze wrote: I'll only be impressed when she makes the Kessel run in less than 12 parsecs...

I've already gone plaid once!

I am planning on some Star Wars themed decals/visual upgrades here and there. Subtle stuff like a Rebeliion emblem in the window and a scorch-mark decal to go around the "shotgun blast" dent in the rear hatch.

mad_machine SuperDork
April 27, 2011 12:43 p.m.

I didn't know those were availible as a manual.

Javelin SuperDork
April 27, 2011 1:13 p.m.
mad_machine wrote: I didn't know those were availible as a manual.

Yep! It's a great advantage too, because no dealer wants them as typical minivan buyers think a clutch pedal will break their feeble little atrophied left legs. A comparable auto to mine ran $15K-$16K when I bought mine. I also had the pick of the litter of 3 available as I didn't need to worry about somebody else snatching it up (unlike the 6 Wagon, that only enthusiasts buy anyways). The drivetrain is near-as-makes-no-difference identical to the 2.3/M5 in the Mazda3 hatchback, so it shifts great and has good pep. It'll blow the damn doors off of a Miata.

pinchvalve SuperDork
April 27, 2011 1:44 p.m.

High on my current shopping list. With a baby on the way, I basically need another Kia Rondo but why get two of the same car right? I think the Kia goes to wifey and I get a 5-speed Mazda5. Same price/mileage range as yours, so I'll be interested to hear how the first few months of ownership go.

Others on my shopping list are the Ford Freestyle, Subaru Forester (X Sports) and the GRM Mazdaspeed3 when they decide to sell it to me and I have more $$$.

nocones HalfDork
April 27, 2011 1:45 p.m.

What king of MPG do you get?

I've condsidered one of these to replace the Vibe, however I'm not sure I could handle the MPG hit (Vibe gets 34, and they can't legally tow, but have the 3rd row so could render the oddy useless)

Javelin SuperDork
April 27, 2011 2:02 p.m.

pinchy,

I still smile every time I drive it, even after running the back roads in the Porsche. It's a great car!

nocones,

24-25 right now with mostly in-town or mixed driving. We only have E10 available in this state, which knocks about 10% off pure gas numbers, and my car has the roof rack cross-bars still on it. I'm working up a few solutions to get it to the 30 mixed range (and hopefully 35+ highway), which is:

  1. Remove roof rack cross-bars
  2. Switch to lighter weight synthetic oil
  3. K&N filter and/or CAI
  4. Aftermarket tuner
  5. Lowered
  6. Larger airdam, active grill flap
  7. Rear diffuser
  8. Exhaust system
  9. Body aero mods (I have some cool ideas that won't be noticable at a glance).
  10. 6-Speed MS3 trans swap
Tom Heath Web Manager
April 27, 2011 2:12 p.m.

Nice car, and a great solution for a growing family. Kudos, keep up the good work!

Finding crossover parts for it should be relatively easy since so much of the MZ3 stuff fits. I'm struggling to find some of the bits I want for the Mazda2. (like camber plates...GRRR.)

Javelin SuperDork
April 27, 2011 2:16 p.m.
Tom Heath wrote: Nice car, and a great solution for a growing family. Kudos, keep up the good work! Finding crossover parts for it should be relatively easy since so much of the MZ3 stuff fits. I'm struggling to find some of the bits I want for the Mazda2. (like camber plates...GRRR.)

Hey, thanks! The family focus really did drive the decision. Trying to haul to baby seats in a Mazda3 or even a 6 was a pain in the butt. We've had 2 adults + 2 babies + stuff in this multiple times and it's been fantastic.

As for the upgrades, Mazdaspeed and R&T both have built "Mazdaspeed5" versions, and all of the MS3 stuff bolts right on underneath. I'm going to "maintainify" it, so when the shocks come due I'll upgrade them, etc.

bluesideup Reader
April 27, 2011 2:20 p.m.

Don't the manual trans 5s have a numerically high final drive? The 5 speed auto turns 3K or so at 75mph. The six speed swap might net some good mileage improvements. Ours gets 25mpg in mixed driving and 31 highway if you keep it under 70.

You can't get oil much lighter than the 5W20 Mazda already calls for.

Javelin SuperDork
April 27, 2011 2:25 p.m.
bluesideup wrote: Don't the manual trans 5s have a numerically high final drive? The 5 speed auto turns 3K or so at 75mph. The six speed swap might net some good mileage improvements. Ours gets 25mpg in mixed driving and 31 highway if you keep it under 70. You can't get oil much lighter than the 5W20 Mazda already calls for.

I believe they do have a higher final drive, so yes the M6 option should help. The 2012 5's have the 6-speed now, standard (bastards!!).

5W20 you say? Dealer shoved 10W30 down her gullet, no wonder she's unhappy.

Twin_Cam SuperDork
April 27, 2011 3:45 p.m.

Ok, I'll say it:

MS6 drivetrain swap. Now. Do it.

Javelin SuperDork
April 27, 2011 3:46 p.m.
Twin_Cam wrote: Ok, I'll say it: MS6 drivetrain swap. Now. Do it.

Probably can't. Flat floorpan negates driveshaft. I'll look into it when that time comes though!

keethrax Reader
April 27, 2011 3:47 p.m.

I've been trying to talk my parents into one of those to replace one of their pair of beat to hell and dying dodge minivans, but no such luck so far.

JG Pasterjak Production/Art Director
April 27, 2011 4:12 p.m.

A 5 on MS3 wheels you say? I'm familiar. The woman who drives it also lets me see her naked.

jg

poopshovel SuperDork
April 27, 2011 4:24 p.m.

Call me an idiot (no, really...do) but I couldn't get over the damned tail lights.

failboat Reader
April 27, 2011 4:32 p.m.

I want one of these.

But I already have a 4wd van, and a more efficient commuter so I am having trouble coming up with any good reason that I need one other than its awesome and I want it.

dean1484 SuperDork
April 27, 2011 4:34 p.m.
poopshovel wrote: Call me an idiot (no, really...do) but I couldn't get over the damned tail lights.

On the grey car they are OK but on any dark colored one they are hideous. Dark color needs smoked tail light lenses.

Javelin SuperDork
April 27, 2011 4:37 p.m.
poopshovel wrote: Call me an idiot (no, really...do) but I couldn't get over the damned tail lights.

There's an aftermerket version in black (which I am looking into) or else a much more understated LED version in slighty newer years:

turbojunker HalfDork
April 27, 2011 4:40 p.m.

The LEDs look even worse.

Javelin SuperDork
April 27, 2011 4:42 p.m.
turbojunker wrote: The LEDs look even worse.

I agree, which is why I bought an 06. (Also the front ends changed and got uglier). I like the space-ship taillights, they're why I named it the Falcon!

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