Reflections on 1 Year of Ownership

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Mazda5 GT
Since buying a 2012 Mazda 5 a year ago, I have not been as active on this forum as I wanted. With a new baby last February, and the car being my wifes, I havent done much more than think about it as we roll up close to just 5,000 miles.

Ours is a Grand Touring edition in red with sand leather interior. It also has the Homelink mirror and the DVD rear entertainment option, so it is extremely well-equipped. Missing, of course, from all 5s is a navigation system a mixed bag since they are always overpriced and second-rate, but still there is no joy to be had from a suctioned Garmin with a dangling wire.

The car has observed no defects and our recent annual service (oil change, really) was given to us free(!) by the dealer. Interior and exterior have held up well, particularly the leather seats that recovered well from some baby seat abuse. Im doing basic upkeep twice I have waxed the car, treated the interior panels, and conditioned the leather.

My other cars are a BMW 3-series sedan and a Boxster S, so I expect my cars to handle well, brake competently, and accelerate seamlessly in that order. The Mazda has a great driving position, crisp handling, and good braking. Steering feel is bordering on superb. The acceleration is quite strong in first gear, but just adequate otherwise. I struggle a bit with finding the most acceleration without a gap-inducing downshift. There is a missed opportunity here for Mazda. 157 horsepower isnt embarrassing (if this was a Honda they would give it maybe 135hp), but this brilliant chassis deserves around 200 hp and a better transmission. If you havent taken the opportunity, I can tell you it feels quite nice at over 100 mph and ripping past some sleeping SUVs.

I think I would prefer a bench seat over the captains chairs in the second row, but they work well and the storage is clever. I miss electric seats, but they add lots of weight (guess around 60 lbs) and cost more to manufacture. The third row has worked well for children, but honestly we have not tried 5 or 6 adults yet. Id be interested in Mazda adding about 2 inches to third row but of course this is what leads to the slippery slope of big, poor-handling vehicles. Usually we keep the third row down for more cargo, but I love to raise it in the hopes of surprising a random motorist at the cleverness of this little car with three rows.

This last point brings me to the whole madness of owning of Mazda 5. It should be seizing massive amounts of market share from small SUV models, but instead it is such a rare vehicle that it must often be teetering on the brink at Mazda boardroom discussions. Zero advertising budget, too. This is so disappointing. Ive driven these SUVs and there is no justification for their popularity. We have now raised a whole generation of wheel-holders who are basically incapable of making informed vehicle choices. They are buying vehicles with such lousy handling and suspension characteristics that you probably couldnt tell if you had a flat tire. The reduced sales of cars like the 5 limit the development of these good platforms and instead waste countless resources on taming the evils of high ground clearanceall in the name of a fashion statement.

But sorry for the rant. I am very happy with the Mazda 5 and I hope it stays in production and gets more attention from the company. It is a truly unique and practical car that we intend to keep for a number of years. Unless BMW or Audi decide to bring a minivan to the US, this is as good as it gets here!
 
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2015 Soul Red 6 Sport Auto 2016 Accord EX Auto
We are at 10 months ownership, 17k miles. I feel the same way about ours, minus the 100 MPH comment. Every time I have driven it on the highway it has been very windy, so even at posted speed limits, it has been a two-handed white knuckle event. Great steering, brakes, and easily adjusted driving position as you said. I would have liked the 7-seat option with the fold-away seat between the captain's chairs as well. Oddly for us, there have been several times where we could have avoided taking a second car due to this.

I believe our MZ5 will be around for a while, as my wife really likes the car. On the power front, I am thinking a light pressure turbo arrangement with 5 psi available at a low RPM would be ideal for this vehicle. Just a little more hp, and more importantly, some fat low-mid range torque to get it going when loaded down. Should be very easy to do with the shared Mazda 3 architecture.

Would sure help the car if Mazda did advertise it. I usually have to spend a few minutes at any family/friend function on just what in the world my wife is driving. There are several in the city around here, but in the suburbs or while traveling they are very rare. I do know for a fact that they would sell more if they brought over the power sliding doors/hatch available in Europe/Asia. I personally saw three families with young kids walk out after being told it was not an option. I gotta admit, when our kids were younger, having the power doors/hatch on our Odyssey and Town and Country was a convenient option. Especially in the rain. When walking up to the car carrying two kids, diaper bag, stroller, etc it was nice to walk up and have the hatch open up giving you some shelter and access without having to put anything down on the wet ground.

Your mirror and DVD player, were they port-installed or dealer installed? Only one in our area with the DVD player and it was port-installed. Never got a chance to check it out. No biggie really as the kids usually just watch/play with their ipods nowadays.
 
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Mazda5 GT
Your mirror and DVD player, were they port-installed or dealer installed? Only one in our area with the DVD player and it was port-installed. Never got a chance to check it out. No biggie really as the kids usually just watch/play with their ipods nowadays.

Not sure. We bought from local inventory and this was the only GT they had in red--we got a good deal on it even though I didn't want DVD. It works fine, although these are becoming relics since I am 100% Blu-Ray now.

The mirror...not good! Homelink has to be pressed for over a second to work, which is a pain. Worse, the night auto-dimming is slow to respond and never gets dark enough. Compass? Well that works fine.
 

MarkVII88

Member
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2012 Mazda5 Sport AT
I bought my pearl white 2012 Mazda5 Sport AT in October and have about 2500 miles on it. This is our second Mazda5 in the garage as my wife currently drives a black 2008 Mazda5 Sport AT with about 55000 miles. We have three kids and this car has worked out brilliantly. I don't personally have anything against driving a regular minivan, but I guess I'm morally opposed to buying more car than I really need. Besides, we bought our 2 Mazda5's for about $19,000 apiece which is $5000 - $7000 less than we'd have spent on any regular minivan that was any good. And, while the fuel economy on our Mazda5's isn't earth-shattering, it's certainly 3-4MPG better than we'd see with a Sienna, Odyssey, or Caravan, and the handling and steering is far better than any minivan can offer. I don't think the Mazda5 is in any danger of being taken out of the MazdaUSA however. First of all, it's widely available in Europe and has a much broader availability of engines and transmissions (read this as more manual transmissions), including a diesel that I would have gladly purchased if available in the US. Secondly, the Mazda5 is in a niche of its own in the US market, especially after the discontinuation of the Kia Rondo. It is the sole vehicle available in the US that can seat 6 at it's price point and achievable mileage. Any small SUVs on the market at between $19,000 -$24,000 only seat 5 and to get one that does seat 7, you need to spend over $30,000 for something like a Honda Pilot EX with the third row seat option. There's just nothing else like it. I personally love the sliding rear doors and don't care one bit that they aren't automatic. My kids are little but the oldest one is big enough to open the door herself.

I have seen plenty of Mazda5's in my neck of the woods. Ever since we bought our 2008 Mazda5 we have seen more and more of them on the roads in Northern VT where we live. Since the 2012 redesign, it seems like the number of these on the roads have gone up dramatically. Of course this is without any advertising on the part of Mazda. This is actually quite surprising since in Northern VT it seems like every other car on the road is an AWD Subaru.

I'm with you on the power aspect of the Mazda5 though. 157HP is adequate but I wish there was more like 200HP available. This is basically the same level of performance that I have come to know and appreciate from our 2008 Mazda5, so I can't say I'm disappointed. I may have been willing to upgrade to a Touring trim level to get either a more powerful engine or a 6-spd transmission option. It's too bad that the Skyactive engine and transmission aren't available, even as options, on the Mazda5. I was a bit surprised that when the 2.5L engine became the powerplant that it wasn't offering the same 170HP that it produced in the Mazda6. As I said in another post in a different thread, I like my 2012 Mazda5 very much but it seems like there's something missing, either 10-15% better mileage or an additional 20HP. I'm sure that either the better mileage or increased horsepower would definitely help US sales of the Mazda5 and I'm pretty sure this is coming with the 2014 as the 2.5L and 5spd transmission is being phased out in other Mazda cars.

We are at 10 months ownership, 17k miles. I feel the same way about ours, minus the 100 MPH comment. Every time I have driven it on the highway it has been very windy, so even at posted speed limits, it has been a two-handed white knuckle event. Great steering, brakes, and easily adjusted driving position as you said. I would have liked the 7-seat option with the fold-away seat between the captain's chairs as well. Oddly for us, there have been several times where we could have avoided taking a second car due to this.

I believe our MZ5 will be around for a while, as my wife really likes the car. On the power front, I am thinking a light pressure turbo arrangement with 5 psi available at a low RPM would be ideal for this vehicle. Just a little more hp, and more importantly, some fat low-mid range torque to get it going when loaded down. Should be very easy to do with the shared Mazda 3 architecture.

Would sure help the car if Mazda did advertise it. I usually have to spend a few minutes at any family/friend function on just what in the world my wife is driving. There are several in the city around here, but in the suburbs or while traveling they are very rare. I do know for a fact that they would sell more if they brought over the power sliding doors/hatch available in Europe/Asia. I personally saw three families with young kids walk out after being told it was not an option. I gotta admit, when our kids were younger, having the power doors/hatch on our Odyssey and Town and Country was a convenient option. Especially in the rain. When walking up to the car carrying two kids, diaper bag, stroller, etc it was nice to walk up and have the hatch open up giving you some shelter and access without having to put anything down on the wet ground.

Your mirror and DVD player, were they port-installed or dealer installed? Only one in our area with the DVD player and it was port-installed. Never got a chance to check it out. No biggie really as the kids usually just watch/play with their ipods nowadays.