2012 Mazda Mazda5 Minivan Review | Edmunds.com

2012 Mazda Mazda5 Minivan

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Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
Mazda Mazda5 Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 2.5 L Inline 4-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 6-speed Manual
  • Horse Power 157 hp @ 6000 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 21/28 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 2012 Mazda Mazda5

  • The sporty 2012 Mazda 5 should be just right for folks who don't need all the size or space of a full-size minivan.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Sharp handling; easier to park and maneuver than a regular minivan; affordable price; sliding doors are great for parking lots.

  • Cons

    Missing some popular minivan options; seats only six; fuel economy only slightly better than a minivan.

  • What's New for 2012

    The 2012 Mazda 5 has been completely redesigned.

Full 2012 Mazda Mazda5 Review

What's New for 2012

The 2012 Mazda 5 has been completely redesigned.


There's a reason the minivan is considered the quintessential vehicle for parents. You see, it's the perfect vehicle for schlepping around the kids and the stuff that comes along with them. No other vehicle can match the minivan's huge interior space, three rows of seating, sliding rear doors and low ride height. Yet as great as a minivan is, it can be overkill for families with just one or two little ones. That's where the 2012 Mazda 5 comes in.

Completely redesigned for 2012, the latest Mazda 5 is an evolution of the previous model. Highlights include a bit more power, more comfortable seating and swoopier styling. At its core, however, the 5 remains a mini-minivan for those with modest family transportation needs. With two seats in each of its three rows, it only seats six compared to the seven- or eight-passenger seating of a big minivan (now that's an oxymoron). But if occasions to haul multiple passengers are few and far between, the Mazda 5's design has a sizable (size being the operative word here) practical advantage over compact crossover SUVs.

There's another advantage the Mazda 5 has over its quasi-family mobile competitors -- it's fun to drive. Like the Mazda 3, it goes around corners with control and poise. Some automakers may boast that their minivans or SUVs "handle like a car," but the Mazda 5 actually does. In fact, it handles like a really good car. Because of its smaller size, it's also much easier to maneuver through tighter spaces, and you won't have to think twice about squeezing into compact parking spots.

That said, the 2012 Mazda 5 certainly isn't for everyone. Some folks really do need commodious space, and there's something to be said for V6 power on hilly terrain or with a full load of people aboard. The Mazda 5 also isn't available with certain features common to regular minivans, like power-operated sliding doors, sunshades or factory-installed navigation and entertainment systems. In contrast, the Ford C-Max -- also a mini minivan built on a platform shared with the Mazda 5 ? has all sorts of electronics features. Still, the Mazda 5 has everything you need and enough passenger and cargo space for most young families. Essentially a design hybrid between a minivan and a wagon, the Mazda 5 is a great alternative choice and definitely worth a look in these lean economic times.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2012 Mazda 5 is a three-row, six-passenger compact minivan available in three trim levels: Sport, Touring and Grand Touring. The base Sport comes standard with 16-inch alloy wheels, full power accessories, keyless entry, cruise control, automatic climate control (with rear vents and fan controls), a height-adjustable driver seat, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player and an auxiliary audio jack.

The 5 Touring adds 17-inch alloy wheels, foglights, a rear spoiler, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a trip computer and Bluetooth. For the Touring, the optional Moonroof & Audio package adds a sunroof, satellite radio and a six-CD changer. This package is standard on the 5 Grand Touring, which also gets automatic xenon headlights, heated mirrors, automatic wipers, driver lumbar adjustment, heated front seats and leather upholstery.

There are a number of dealer-installed extras that will be available later in the model year, including remote ignition, an iPod interface, a Garmin portable navigation system and a DVD entertainment system.

Powertrains and Performance

Every 2012 Mazda 5 is powered by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder that produces 157 horsepower and 163 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual is standard on the Sport, while a five-speed automatic is optional on the Sport and standard on everything else. In Edmunds performance testing, a 5 Grand Touring went from zero to 60 mph in 9.5 seconds -- slower than most typical minivans and many compact SUVs. With either transmission, fuel economy is estimated at 21 mpg city/28 highway.


Every Mazda 5 comes with standard stability and traction control, four-wheel antilock disc brakes with brake assist, front side airbags and side curtain airbags. In Edmunds brake testing, the 5 came to a stop from 60 mph in 130 feet -- a few feet longer than average.

Interior Design and Special Features

While the 5 is obviously smaller than the typical minivan, it still packs plenty of interior versatility. The comfortable second-row captain's chairs slide and recline, and the passenger-side seat features a nifty pop-up center table and storage space that can be fitted between the chairs (and later stowed away, creating a walk-through channel to the third row). The third row is big enough for kids and is easier to get into than every crossover third row we can think of. At the same time, the sliding rear doors mean easy access, particularly in parking lots.

Up front, the new 5's dash layout has remained largely the same, and the overall look is sleeker now. All of the controls are easy to reach and use, and that helps the 5 feel much more like a regular car from behind the wheel. The front seats provide respectable comfort, though taller folks may wish for more rearward seat travel.

Driving Impressions

If you want some added utility but don't want to give up the agility and urban maneuverability of car, the 2012 Mazda 5 is an excellent choice. Acceleration is slightly pokey (especially on hilly terrain), but the 5's handling is excellent. On winding roads, the 5 rewards the driver with precise steering and controlled body motions. Passengers riding with an enthusiastic driver will also appreciate a retuned suspension that helps keep them from sliding and swaying in their seats. On the Edmunds test track, the 5 nearly matched the handling numbers of the much smaller Mazda 2. Quite simply, the 5 is fun to drive, something we can't say about any other regular minivan.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

Wishing i bought a odyssey

by on
Vehicle: 2012 Mazda Mazda5 Sport 4dr Minivan (2.5L 4cyl 5A)

I bought a 2012 used with 8.5K. It was flawless except for a stain on the front passenger seat which I have been unable to remove. Another stain is on a back seat that I can't remove. Needs better seat fabric- seems cheap. I have 2 kids and am finding that as my baby turned into toddler, and with a 9 year old, we are outgrowing the car with backpacks, soccer stuff etc. If we had another child, there'd be little room for a stroller. No way this car is functional for 4 kids full-time. Since I bought it, the gas mileage has gone down considerably though it's well maintained by Mazda. Great to drive forward...seems to have lots of blind spots in spite of all the windows.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

Fantastic vehicle

by on
Vehicle: 2012 Mazda Mazda5 Sport 4dr Minivan (2.5L 4cyl 5A)

The specs tell the story of a very average vehicle. Average power, MPG, etc. But just drive it. Handles great, the seating position is ideal, the automatic drivetrain is near perfect, even for a guy that prefers a manual, and it can seat six adults in a pinch (front and middle rows move up a notch). The vehicle is tight as a drum, low noise level, and overall is tighter than the last Honda we had, a 2003 CR-V. I have no idea why anyone with kids would want doors that are not sliders. Sliding doors do not hit other cars in parking lots and allow easy access to child seats.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

Mini minivan impulse

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Vehicle: 2012 Mazda Mazda5 Sport 4dr Minivan (2.5L 4cyl 5A)

We were planning to buy the CX-7 when we saw the Mazda 5. It was love at first sight! While my husband test drove the car, one of my daughter's and I sat in the very back seats and raised our hands like we were on a roller coaster ride -- we had too much fun on the test drive! It is a cute (love the smiling face), fun car, and I love to tell people about our mini minivan's features. The low car height makes it easier for my daughter with disabilities to get in and out. But, low and longer than expected makes it harder for me to park and has resulted in more scrapes to the front bumper. The third row has come in handy a few times, too. For trips, I prefer larger vehicles.

Great value

by on
Vehicle: 2012 Mazda Mazda5 Touring 4dr Minivan (2.5L 4cyl 5A)

The Mazda 5 offers great value for the money. I purchased a brand new 2012 model in March 2013 with a nice discount where the price was comparable to a 2013 Hyundai Elantra. At that price, the extra room of the Mazda 5 made it an unbeatable deal. The Mazda 5 touring is a great vehicle because it fits 6 passengers, it is fun to drive, it is the perfect size for a person who either wants a smaller minivan or a larger car. This vehicle can take kids around but also serves as a nice commuter car with ample room and height when compared to other cars.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

Almost perfect

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Vehicle: 2012 Mazda Mazda5 Sport 4dr Minivan (2.5L 4cyl 5A)

I bought my 2012 Mazda 5 in February of 2013 with 10 miles on the odometer. Upgrading from a '96 Corolla with 166K and 27/34 mpg. I got all the room extra I wanted and more but was disappointed in the mpg (24mpg). I am more of an SUV kind of person rather than a "mini-van". It's size and body style is more inline with the Rav4 & CRV that I looked at with a better price and mpg than they offered. I wished the milage was better and there was a bigger covered center console. I could have gotten this with new Mazda CX-5, but the bench seat didn't fold FLAT and the front 'racing" seats were hard & uncomfortable. Every time I drive ZoomZoom, I find something else about it I like

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

The practical car for people

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Vehicle: 2012 Mazda Mazda5 Sport 4dr Minivan (2.5L 4cyl 6M)

We love our Mazda 5 with the 6-speed. After giving up our manual Subaru Wagon for a full size mini-van after having 2 kids, we came back down to the 5. We are manual transmission people & this was our only option, but we love it. Sporty and fun, and plenty of room for two kids. Could use a little more oomph, but we prefer driving a slow car fast. Great gas mileage & its pretty comfortable despite the factory tires. We would have like a more loaded version, but giving up the goodies was worth 3 rows & a stick shift. I even contacted Mazda & asked with a large deposit if they'd build me a Grand Touring with a 6 speed & they said no! :-(

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Gas Mileage


  • 21
  • cty
  • 28
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs

Identifix Reliability Ratings

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