Rumnhammer New Reader
6/29/08 9:04 p.m.

Hi all, My wife's 02 Tribute had the alternator go out on it this week, leaving her without a car (it had to be towed to the dealer) for a few days and since this is our only vehicle with a back seat, to carry the kids in she was kind of pissed. Normally I would have just changed out an alternator, however after looking in my factory manual, and several postings online I decided that this job would be a PITA! Well, $730+$129 for towing and it ran again, however I have also noticed that lately it has had a weird problem with hills, so instead of getting ready to pay out any more money we decided to replace it this weekend. We needed a car that had as much cargo capacity as the Tribute, but wanted something that got better mileage, (the tribute rarely got over 18mpg even on the highway) and also had room for our two kids 2 and 4. We were visting my parents for the weekend so, with the kids occupied, we went to the local Mazda dealer, since we had already looked online for viable replacements. I'm a Mazda guy and think that they are great values for the money, that and they also all are fun to drive, much more then a simliar toyota appliance. We pulled up and asked the sales guy for a test drive in the 08 Mazda 5, we wanted a Sport with a 5spd, but they only had 3 5's on the lot and all were touring packages that come with automatics. We selected a pearl white one, and went for a test drive. Man! were we impressed this car handles fantastic for a mini van, micro van or whatever you want to call it. The brakes are very impressive too. It has a seating for 6 although the 3rd row seats are designed for kids. We got it out the door for $21K Not bad considering all the features it came with, and I absolutely love driving it! The auto tranny has a manual shift option similar to various other cars out there, and the power is adaquate, you won't win any drag races with it, but I really would like to take it to an autocross! I even like the way it looks. am I crazy for likeing this little van so much? Really a fantastic car all around. Chris Rummel

Feedyurhed New Reader
6/29/08 10:33 p.m.

A good friend of mine has one and it really is a nice vehicle. And like you mentioned Mazda seems a little more "connected" that some of the other Japanese brands, not so bland, Would be nice if Mazda would slip in the Mazdaspeed 3 drivetrain.

Short you are not crazy for liking it so much. It is so much better than a Tribute.

Monroe New Reader
6/29/08 10:45 p.m.

I have been trying to get my wife to look at one....nothing yet. For a long time she would only drive trucks or full size SUVs. I have her in a large Ford Five Hundred because it was big enough for her to feel comforable with the after driving my Miata she wants me to buy her one......I guess that is why women are so much fun to live with:-)

amg_rx7 New Reader
6/30/08 12:53 p.m.

The 5 is an interesting take on how to make a roomy car. Its kinda cool looking in a different sort of way. It seems like a great car for people who need that kind of room and also want something fun to drive and efficient and well priced.

Mazdas do drive much better than the other Jap appliances. They pay attention to that more than the others and make cars that feel sporty and fun.

Josh Reader
6/30/08 1:33 p.m.

My parents bought one of these on my recommendation last year, they have about 16k on it now, it's great. Incredibly fun to drive for what basically amounts to a Minivan. Much more versatile for cargo than their CR-V, more fun to drive, much quieter and more comfortable, better gas mileage, and a much better bargain. And I am actually a pretty big fan of the CR-V in general. For whatever reason they just were not selling around here. I walked in with my S-plan certificate from Mazda Motorsports to help my parents negotiate and basically told them that I wanted $1000 off the s-plan price for the '07 they'd had on the lot almost 6 months, or I was going to go to another dealer and order an '08 at S-plan. They eventually called back and gave it to us for close to that. I think they paid roughly $19,000 for a Grand Touring automatic (leather, xenons, auto climate control, fully loaded). Sticker was about $22,500. I almost look forward to borrowing it when I have to haul something :). If it were available with the MS3 drivetrain for close to MS3 pricing I would seriously consider it for a versatile daily driver.

Rumnhammer New Reader
6/30/08 9:34 p.m.

My Stepfather drove it, he is a complete Audi devote, and he said it had a very German feel to it. A rather huge comment coming from him.

My wife finally got a chance to drive HER car today, and it now has just over 200 miles on it. IT STILL HAS MORE THEN HALF A TANK OF GAS LEFT!!! This van has slightly less capacity then the Tribute, at 16 gallons vs 16.4 for the Tribute. We rarely got more then 250 miles out of a tank in the tribute, at this rate we are looking at close to 400 miles on a tank of gas. With this amount of savings in our monthly gas bill, it ends up paying for about half of the new car payment!

I think I finally figured out why this van feels so much better then your average mini van, the stance is quite a bit lower, compare the 5 to a more conventional mini van and you can easily see the stock 5 looks like a minivan that has a set of performance springs on it. I'm thinking this is the main reason why I don't like calling it a mini van, it really is something different. Chris

GeneralHavoc New Reader
7/1/08 12:21 p.m.

Oh man, you couldn't hold out for the 5 speed? But for getting it, no, you're not crazy at all. These low profile minivans freaking rule! I hope some day they bring the Japanese Odyssey over here - it's completely different than ours, akin to the 5. For all the reasons you list, it's a very practical car that just looks damn nice.

Rumnhammer - due to the size of these cars, they actually qualify as a "tall wagon," not a minivan. Same sort of group as the Forester and such. So if there's any stigma to be attached to the name, it can look elsewhere.

Ever since I first saw the 5 at an auto show, I've had a FEVER. And the only prescription is more cow.. minivan. As the updated 5 is still relatively new and above the price I'd spend on a car, I looked back to the sleek vans of yesteryear. The Transsport (the extra S is for sucks!) was apparently a quick, slick troop carrier back in the day. In the mid generation there, they cut out about 4" or something from the super long nose, making it look slightly less shuttley.

Rumnhammer New Reader
7/1/08 10:19 p.m.

I would have liked to get the 5 speed, but we needed a car for my wife right then and there, as the Tribute was starting to go downhill fast and I didn't want to throw more money after it.

It is primarily my wifes car and she kind of wanted to get it in an automatic anyway, so it just made her even happier.

She has taken to calling it, her Mazda 3 on steroids. I will autocross it given half the chance.


Rumnhammer New Reader
7/1/08 10:51 p.m.

Oh, I found out what Mazda actually calls it, a space wagon........

Here it is being raced in Japan, they must race everything over there. It is called the Premacy and it is kicking butt in this race.

7/13/08 11:06 p.m.

I just picked up my 08 Mazda 5 Sport with a manual transmission. I went back in forth in my head before getting it but I am glad I did. If there were a Mazdaspeed version available, there would be no question at all.

This car combines a lot of the elements I needed: fun to drive, good fuel economy, room for family (wife, 2 kids and occasional grandparents), cargo room (with 3rd row folded flat) for bike, skis, or dog.

Autocross or a track day would be fun, but motorsports is on hold for me for a bit, most of my racing is done on a cross bike...

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