Five things I love about my Mazda 5

by DaniGirl on November 12, 2009 · 4 comments

in 5 things, Consumer culture

As you may remember, I made a (ahem) somewhat involuntary switch from driving a Dodge Grand Caravan to a Mazda 5 last July, when I wrecked the van and it burst into flames. (You know, I’m still a little twitchy even five months later?)

I’ve been meaning to write a follow-up post for months. Even though I was a very reluctant comer to the title of minivan owner back in late 2007 when we bought the Caravan, I had come to love the feeling of driving around in a spacious, elevated and insulated little world of my own. As it turns out, we had the minivan for exactly the right amount of time — I’m not sure we could have easily managed those earliest days with a newborn, when you never leave the house without a stroller and a bag and a bumbo or some sort of other seat and a ridiculous amount of other gear. One thing I’ll say for the Grand Caravan, we never lacked for places to put stuff.

That was my main concern in switching back to a car, even a station-wagon sized car like the Mazda 5. Would we all fit, with a car seat and two boosters? Would there be enough room for a full load of groceries? Would it be up to the task of hockey bags, strollers, and the rest of the crap we haul around with us?

Turns out, the answer is yes.

Truly, I love the Mazda 5 to death. Not only does it have more than enough space for us AND our stuff, but it doesn’t have that soul-sucking stigma that a minivan has, and it’s way better on gas. Here’s five things I love about my Mazda 5:

  1. It fits a full load (and I mean *full*) of groceries without flinching. I usually fold down one of the seats in the third row (it has a 50/50 split) and that together with the bit of space at the back is more than enough room. And, when I had to bring home new closet doors from Home Depot, to the amazement of the young fellow helping me cram them into the car, I managed to fit an 7′ x 4′ box into the Mazda and close the hatch by folding down every seat except the driver’s seat and the one directly behind the driver.
  2. Even with all the seats in use, there’s still plenty of room for day-to-day stuff. There’s just enough room in the back for a couple of grocery bags, or a folded up stroller, or a couple of backpacks, and it seats six quite comfortably. (Can you tell I have issues with space?)
  3. It has heart, and pep. I drove a little Mazda 323 for about a decade, and this car reminds me of why I loved it so. When you press the accelerator, it wants to go. It doesn’t feel heavy and lumbering like the minivan did. It feels, even with the automatic transmission, like you’re driving it instead of just steering it.
  4. It’s cheap to fill. The $75 fill-ups with the minivan made me choke every single time. The Mazda takes $45 to fill and I can get 500 to 600 km of city driving from that.
  5. I can park it easily and I don’t need a step-ladder to scrape the windows. The minivan was just a beast to manouever, and a bear to clean off in the winter time. I haven’t had to do anything more than an ice-scraping so far this year, but at least I can do that in a couple of minutes. And, I can reach the middle of the windshield!

185:365 My new Mazda 5!

In the interest of fair reporting, there’s a couple of things I’m still not quite sold on. The automatic wipers are a little flaky. The ride is not as smooth as that of the Grand Caravan — but to me, that just adds to the “driving instead of just steering” enjoyment of the ride. I miss the giant double glovebox of the Caravan and the extra space around the seats, and I think the middle seat might get a little messy in the winter with kids with snowy boots clambering over and around it to get to the back row of seats. Ingress and egress from the back is not bad, but was far easier in the Caravan.

We haven’t yet attempted a road trip with the Mazda, so that’s the last hurdle to be attempted before I give it a full five-star rating. When we bought it, the dealer threw in a free Thule roof rack system, so there *should* be plenty of room for our stuff. We’ll see!

In all, we had the minivan for exactly the time we needed it: our first year of adjusting to being a family of five. I’d read a lot of press on the Mazda 5 before we bought it, and many people opined that it would be a perfect car for a family of four but maybe not more than that. In all, I have to say that it is the perfect size for us. I may not feel that way when I’m the shortest one in the family, but I’ve got a couple of years left to worry about that!

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Vanessa November 12, 2009 at 9:20 am

hope you’re not hoping to fit 3 hockey bags in there….

2 Annika November 12, 2009 at 1:45 pm

Interesting read…I’d always thought the Mazda 5 was just a smaller type of minivan for people who couldn’t actually afford a full-size van, but had more than two kids and needed the seating space. This makes me realize that my assumptions were wrong!

Great gas mileage, sounds like a super car.

We just have two kids and so are able to get by with a small SUV. If we ever end up with three kids, though, I will keep this little gem in mind. =)

3 Shannon November 13, 2009 at 8:10 am

That is really interesting! A close friend has a Mazda 5 and I was pleasantly surprised how big it was inside when I got in. We are hopefully in the market for a new vehicle soon and are looking for better mileage than our current van (an older model Chevy Venture), but I’m not sure we could do the Mazda as we have a dog and we travel a lot to the east coast. The dog and the suitcases really take up a lot of extra space. Also, our kids are tiny and it will be a while before my 4 y/o is in a booster (he is nowhere near 40 pounds yet!). But I’m still intrigued and really love the Mazda 5!

4 Nat November 15, 2009 at 9:37 am

We test drove the 5, and found that it was too big for us. (There is just three of us.) Ended up with a Civic (which is also a much bigger car than you’d think.) The only time if feels small is when we go camping.

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