By David Thomas on July 31, 2006
In our quest to offer as many viewpoints about new models as possible, I respectfully offer my thoughts on the Mazda5 mini-minivan Mike Hanley recently reviewed over on the main Cars.com page.
While I agree with Mike that the Mazda5 is a nifty little people-mover, I just don’t understand who would want one. It seems too small for today’s real-life family and too pedestrian for a commute vehicle. Perhaps it would work best as a higher-mileage suburban shuttle for soccer moms, but it would have to stay home on lengthy commutes.
There was no joy in Mazda5-ville on a long drive from Chicago to Detroit. The wedge-shaped minivan was buffeted by wind, and there never seemed to be enough power on hand to produce an authoritative passing maneuver. The sound system was intolerable, and the interior was actually below the level of the Mazda3 compact sedan and hatchback that the Mazda5 is based on. And I say all this as a big fan of Mazda’s recent offerings.
The best use I got out of it was when I went to the furniture store to pick up a new leather chair for my living room. The rather bulky chair easily made it into the Mazda5's rear with all the seats folded flat. I doubt it would have been as easy a maneuver in my wife’s SUV with its higher cargo floor and shorter roof.
Besides moving that chair I was thoroughly disappointed by the Mazda5. It did everything OK but nothing exceptionally. Although — like Mike — I thought it looked pretty sharp, and you can’t beat the price of entry.
Managing Editor David Thomas has a thing for wagons and owns a 2010 Subaru Outback and a 2005 Volkswagen Passat wagon. Email David