We purchased the Mazda5 to replace an aging and not very fuel efficient Ford Freestar minivan. As we still needed a vehicle that could sit at least 6 people but we wanted something more economical the scope of our search was limited. After test driving the Ford TaurusX, Rio Rondo and the Mazda5 and comparing the prices for each it was quickly obvious that the Mazda5 was the best choice. After 6 months of use we are thrilled with our choice. We've been getting 26 mpg in all around driving and 30 mpg on exclusively highway miles. The engine has plenty of pep and you can chirp the tires at a moments notice.
FUEL ECONOMY! Spacious interior, comfortable seating (even for adults in the third row of seats). Plenty of power - the 4cyl, 153hp engine has MORE than enough power to get you going even loaded with 4 adults, packed with gear and a 17 ft canoe strapped to the roof.
Roof rails are a MUST! Incorporate the "karakuri" 7th seat for the North American model. A change/coin tray would be nice.