What makes the 2014 Mazda5 unique in the competition is it uses a car’s platform and the form of a conventional minivan. It comfortably seats four even if it’s just about the size of a compact car. The engine is not one of the most powerful in the class but it delivers well enough. At below $21,000, the Mazda5 is a functional, fun-to-drive family vehicle.
UNDER THE HOOD
Powering the 2014 Mazda5 is a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine that makes 157 horsepower and 163 pound-feet of torque. The Sport model comes with a 6-speed manual transmission. The Touring and Grand Touring models get a 5-speed automatic, which is optional on the Sport.
Based on EPA estimates, the Mazda5 returns 21 city mpg, 28 highway mpg and 24 combined mpg with the manual transmission. The ratings are the same for automatic-equipped 5s, except the city mpg is up to 22. Compared to competing crossovers, these figures make the Mazda5 less fuel efficient.
ON THE ROAD
Reviewers say that the Mazda5 is predictably fun to drive. And that shows in the minivan’s sporty handling characteristics, which is pretty unusual of family vehicles. The four-cylinder’s power is enough to run the 5 for daily trips. But it is not that helpful when the Mazda is full or trying to climb a hill. Off-the-line acceleration just lacks the oomph.
INSIDE THE 2014 MAZDA5
The Mazda5 is quite small for a conventional minivan. But it is not really a disadvantage because the Japanese automaker was able to increase its interior versatility.
All seats are comfortable, especially with the sliding-and-reclining second-row captain’s chairs. Add to that the fold-out center table in the passenger-side seat. The front seats are comfortable too but taller occupants might wish to sit more rearward. The third-row seat is cramped for adults. The space back there is more appropriate for kids.
The dashboard is simple and modern. The controls in the center stack are easy to reach and use. Storage spaces are ample. The Mazda5’s cargo volume is impressive at 44.4 cubic feet with the third-row seats folded and 97.7 cubic feet with the second row down.
The 2014 Mazda5 is offered in three models: Sport, Touring and Grand Touring. The Sport model is standard with side mirrors with turn signals, automatic climate control, cruise control, remote keyless entry, 50/50 split fold-down third-row seatback, cloth upholstery, 6-speaker AM/FM/CD/MP3 audio system, USB/iPod input, and 16-inch alloy wheels.
The Mazda5 Touring adds fog lights, rear backup sensors, Bluetooth, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, 17-inch alloy wheels, and trip computer. Available for this model is the Moonroof and Audio Package which includes power sunroof and satellite radio.
The Mazda5 Grand Touring features power sunroof, rain-sensing wipers, automatic xenon headlights, security alarm system, heated front seats, leather upholstery, and satellite radio.
Some options include rear-seat entertainment system, auto-dimming rearview mirror, and remote start system.
Photo credit: mazdausa.com