2012 Mazda 5 Grand Touring new car reviews

The Mazda5 is like a small minivan that's not too small.
Horses like it, too.

Better than: Mazda4
But not as good as: Mazdaspeed5
GRM Bang For The Buck Index: 72.76

The Mazda5 is one of those peoplemovers that's been operating under the radar. This six-passenger vehicle may not sport knobby tires or a jacked-up ride height, but it has found its niche--and its fans can even be found on our message board here and here.

How different is the new-for-2012 Mazda5? Well, just ask Mazda's media site: "The Mazda5 is unique: It doesn’t fit into a mold, and neither do its owners; it can’t be defined by a segment; it suits a family, but thrives in an active lifestyle setting. One could say it’s a vehicle right where everything else isn’t."

And there you have it.

Other staff views

Marjorie Suddard Marjorie Suddard
General Manager

We see a lot of press cars pass through our hands here, and a lot of them are uber-sexy or super-exciting, so I was a little surprised at how tough the competition was to land the keys to the Mazda5... until I won it. Then I didn't want to give it up.

The 5 is one of those cars that wins you over through sheer competence. The performance is right, the practicality is right, and the size is beyond right--it has an almost Alice In Wonderland quality to it, because the inside seems to expand to fit your needs. Driving around town it feels tossable and compact in a very good way, but then it eats a surprising number of people and gear. It's so likable, I even grew to like the scary-clown-grin front end. (An interesting side benefit to that is that it made me more ok with clowns, which I needed, because they're just terrifying.)

J.G. Pasterjak JG Pasterjak
Production/Art Director

A quick disclaimer: The first new vehicle I was ever involved in the purchase of was the 2007 Mazda5 Grand Touring that my wife drives. Honestly, the only thing that keeps me out of it every day is that I know if she drove my Speed3, we’d never be able to afford all the tickets.

But as for the 5, I love it both in concept and execution. I’d proffer a wager that 80% or better of the people out there driving SUVs would be better served by this six-passenger wonder wagon, if only they could ovrcome the self-imposed stigma of the dreaded “minivan” label.

Well, their loss is our gain. With the exception of towing, the 5 is possibly the best combination of utility, economy and driving satisfaction for the money available today. It drives like a car (the Mazda3-based chassis sees to that), hauls like a van (three rows of seats, two of which fold into a nice, flat cargo area), and gets respectable mileage (thanks to the 2.5-liter direct injection MZR powerplant and five-speed auto).

The current version has a few things that I don’t necessarily think improved it over our 2007—the dash and door sills are higher and more intrusive, making the passenger area a bit less airy and killing sightlines a little—but overall the package remains strong.

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Comments

View comments on the GRM forums
jv8
jv8 New Reader
9/26/11 1:25 p.m.

We will mostly likely replace our '06 Mazda5 with this restyled '12 because there is still nothing else like it on the market... but I sure was looking forward to an ecoboost C-Max before Ford cancelled it. I don't need new curvy sheet metal... where are the increases in fuel economy and/or power?!

ReverendDexter
ReverendDexter UberDork
9/26/11 3:47 p.m.

We've got a '10 and love ours... it's just too bad there wasn't a Mazdaspeed5

amiller34
amiller34 New Reader
9/28/11 11:00 p.m.

We love our '10 Mazda5 as well, replaced a Toyota SUV, 10mpg better and a third row to boot, sliding doors are great in tight parking lots. My only complaint is the cruise control really can't figure out how to behave properly on hilly country two lanes. We paid just over $22k for a Touring, great bang for the buck!

Sounbwoy
Sounbwoy
10/26/11 7:46 p.m.

Would love to see GRM do a project on say a 2010 (hint). A dealership in the MidWest transplanted a Mazdaspeed3 running gear in one and ran it at One Lap and did very well.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
12/10/13 12:00 a.m.

The Mazda5 is one of those peoplemovers that's been operating under the radar. This six-passenger vehicle may not sport knobby tires or a jacked-up ride height, but it has found its niche--and its fans can even be found on our message board here and here.

How different is the new-for-2012 Mazda5? Well, just ask Mazda's media site: "The Mazda5 is unique: It doesn’t fit into a mold, and neither do its owners; it can’t be defined by a segment; it suits a family, but thrives in an active lifestyle setting. One could say it’s a vehicle right where everything else isn’t."

And there you have it.

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