The six-person Mazda5 features flexible seating that can be reconfigured to maximize occupant or cargo space. Aimed at young professional families with active lifestyles, the Mazda5 comes in Sport, Touring and Grand Touring trim levels. Competitors include the Honda Fit and Kia Rondo.
Significant changes for 2008 include new exterior styling, a new five-speed automatic transmission and an auxiliary input jack for connecting portable music players to the car's audio system. Five new paint colors are also available.
The Mazda5 has a wedge shape that's characterized by a raked windshield and a relatively upright rear liftgate. Large sliding doors and a low floor promise easy entry and exit.
The 2008 Mazda5 has a new grille, headlights and taillights. Sport models get body-color side-door mirrors, and Grand Touring models get automatic headlights, heated mirrors and rain-sensing windshield wipers.
The underbody architecture and suspension design are shared with the automaker's Mazda3 compact car. MacPherson struts are used in front, and a multilink suspension goes in the rear. Restyled alloy wheels hold 17-inch tires.
The Mazda5's second-row seats can slide and recline, and Mazda says the center of the dashboard was raised so the controls are within easy reach and the instruments are closer to eye level. A large speedometer dominates the three-gauge cluster, and the gearshift is mounted on a center panel.
Standard features on the Sport model include a CD stereo, cruise control, and power windows and locks. The top-of-the-line Grand Touring features leather-trimmed seats, heated front seats, rain-sensing windshield wipers and Bluetooth cell phone connectivity.
Under the Hood
The 2.3-liter four-cylinder produces 153 horsepower and 148 pounds-feet of torque. A five-speed manual gearbox and a new five-speed automatic transmission are offered.
Antilock brakes incorporate electronic brake-force distribution, and the side curtain airbags protect all three rows of seats. Side-impact airbags for the front seats are standard.