2012 Mazda5 GS Road Test Review

Jon Rosner - CAP staff
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While that crisp clip running silver Mercedes, black Mustang and red Porsche all simply shout "give me a speeding ticket, oh please do!" a maroon Mazda5 family-hauler special, even with a stick-shift, looks like it could not possibly be going that fast even if it is. Yes, this is a seven-passenger micro-minivan with a backpack good for the "we spent more than we planned to" run to Costco. An aero-oriented shape with the now-familiar Mazda smile front-end, the 5 has a solid stance with meaty looking Bridgestone Turanza 205/55/16s mounted on handsome pinwheel alloy wheels.

This Mazda5 is a six-speed, stick shift, stir it yourself variety vehicle. YES a sporty family hauler with a stick exists! The Mazda5 comes in at 1,551 kilos or roughly the same weight as you average small sedan, making it the welterweight of the minivan class. With two kids and their stuff aboard the Mazda5 had no trouble merging into traffic. Dropping two gears to make a passing maneuver to shoot for a hole in the faster traffic was snick-snick easy in terms of steering and vehicle control. The shift back over to sixth did feel a bit rubbery. We started to run out of oomph as the speeds got into the definite ticket territory, but she held her own. On a long uphill climb we once again dropped into fourth and then back up to fifth, but it was also obvious that the dressy BMW in front of us had hit the go pedal rather than let a family hauler through. We were grateful for his pace as we cleared one refrigerator white minivan left-lane roadblock that was simply trundling up the hill in the left lane gathering followers like the Pied Piper.

The ride proved to be supple and comfortable and surprisingly pleasant considering the sporting handling on offer. Comfortable cloth seats and nice mix of hard and soft plastics will not impress the folks who consider their vehicles as an extension of their jewelry box. Six-passenger capacity, second-row captain's chairs, second-row under-seat storage, second-row foldout table with storage with split third row seating, speak to the thoughtful functionality of the Mazda5. Quite a lot of space considering that the 5 rides on a 2,750-mm wheelbase. The eight-speaker stereo came standard and this author would have sprung for the Sirius satellite option, as the sound system was clear and crisp.

In spite of my best efforts to mash the throttle to the floor, the Mazda5 returned 10.0 L/100km on regular from the 60-litre tank. That's pretty close to the US EPA metric equivalent rating of 11.2 city and 8.4 highway. The Mazda5 probably would have done even better if I hadn't been playing sports car driver. On the other hand the Mazda5 has such a nice feel to it that it does tend to encourage bad behaviour.

The real shocker was the sticker. Base price came in at $21,795 with $1,595 for delivery or a total MSRP of $23,390. Low-cost maintenance, low fuel consumption, fun to drive, excellent reputation for durability combined with superb carrying capacity, one package. Much too practical.

It just makes too much sense. This author just can't see how they are going to sell these to anyone outside of the consumer magazine crowd.
©(Copyright Canadian Auto Press)

Topics: Minivan, Mazda, 2012, Mazda5, $20,000 - $29,999, Compact,

Organizations: Mazda

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