Full 2014 Mazda Mazda5 Review
What's New for 2014
The 2014 Mazda 5 is unchanged.
Minivans are undeniably versatile vehicles for growing families. They offer a pleasant ride, easy maneuverability, respectable gas mileage and, most important, room for children and all the stuff that comes with them. The 2014 Mazda 5 is unique among minivans, as it has remained relatively small and only has six seats. If you don't need the seventh seat and added space in other minivans, the Mazda 5 still offers quite a bit of utility.
In spite of its smaller dimensions, the Mazda 5 has most of the typical minivan conveniences. It lightweight sliding doors provide make it simple to get kids in and out of the second row, and there are plenty of useful storage compartments. The Mazda also has something that most minivans don't: a certain level of fun. Not only is the smaller 5 easier to manage in crowded cities than larger minivans, its relatively sporty suspension and steering make it genuinely fun to drive, even if you're just going to the grocery store.
That said, there are a few drawbacks to this minimalist minivan. For one, the only engine for the 5 is a 157-horsepower 2.5-liter four-cylinder. That's enough power on tap for commuting and ferrying the kids to school, but the engine is noticeably taxed when you hit the highway with a full load of passengers. Besides that, passenger space is tight in the third row, and when it's your week in the carpool rotation, you may bemoan the lack of a seventh seat. Finally, if you're looking for conveniences like power-operated doors or safety equipment like a rearview camera and blind-spot monitoring, you won't find them here. For these reasons, the Mazda 5 earns a solid "B" rating from the Edmunds testing team.
Larger families with pets and bikes will be better served by mainstream vans like the 2014 Honda Odyssey, 2014 Nissan Quest and 2014 Toyota Sienna. On the flip side, if you don't absolutely need a third-row seat, you'll find that the Ford C-Max and 2014 Honda CR-V are quite spacious and comfortable for four or five passengers, and return higher fuel economy (much higher in the Ford's case). With all that said, the 2014 Mazda 5 is still a very good option for shoppers seeking a compact vehicle that packs in a lot of convenience and three rows of seating.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2014 Mazda 5 is a three-row, six-passenger compact minivan available in Sport, Touring and Grand Touring trim levels.
The 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, 50/50-split rear folding seats, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player, USB port and an auxiliary audio jack.
The 5 Touring adds 17-inch alloy wheels, foglights, a rear spoiler, rear parking sensors, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter, a trip computer and Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity. The optional Moonroof & Audio package adds a sunroof and satellite radio to the Touring.
The 5 Grand Touring comes with all of the above, plus automatic xenon headlights, heated mirrors, automatic wipers, driver lumbar adjustment, heated front seats and leather upholstery.
The Mazda 5 also offers a few stand-alone options including remote ignition, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and a rear-seat DVD entertainment system.
Powertrains and Performance
Every 2014 Mazda 5 is powered by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 157 horsepower and 163 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual transmission is standard on the Sport trim, while a five-speed automatic is optional on the Sport and standard on everything else.
In Edmunds performance testing, a Mazda 5 Grand Touring accelerated from zero to 60 mph in a leisurely 9.5 seconds -- slower than any V6-powered minivan. A Mazda 5 Sport with the manual transmission managed a slightly quicker 8.8-second run that's a little better, but still below average.
Mazda 5 minivans equipped with the automatic transmission return an estimated 24 mpg combined (22 mpg city/28 highway). With the manual transmission, the Sport is rated at 24 mpg combined (21/28), and we earned 25 mpg on the real-world 120-mile Edmunds evaluation route.
Every Mazda 5 comes with standard stability and traction control, antilock disc brakes, front side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags. Rear parking sensors are optional, but items like a rearview camera, blind-spot warning system and forward collision warning system -- all common safety features on larger minivans -- are not available.
In Edmunds brake testing, the 5 Grand Touring came to a stop from 60 mph in 130 feet -- a few feet longer than average. The Sport proved better with its 124-foot stop, which meets the minivan segment average.
Interior Design and Special Features
The Mazda 5 is obviously smaller than what typically passes for a minivan today, but it still packs plenty of interior versatility. Comfortable second-row captain's chairs slide and recline, while the passenger-side seat features a nifty fold-out center table/storage net that can snap into place between the seats, then be stowed away later to create a walk-through to the third row.
Up front, the dash layout looks sleek, simple and modern, with the exception of a dash panel heavy with audio control buttons. But controls are easy to reach and use, which helps the 5 feel much more like a regular car from behind the wheel. The front seats provide respectable comfort, but longer-legged adults will definitely wish for more rearward seat travel.
Aided by wide sliding door openings, the Mazda 5's third row offers easier access than just about any three-row crossover. The 50/50-split folding seats are best suited to kids, however. With just 30.5 inches of legroom back there, close quarters and a sloping roof consuming headroom, adult passengers won't stifle their grumbles for long (the second row, by comparison, offers 9 inches more legroom).
Though the Mazda 5 may truly represent a "mini" van, it doesn't lack cargo volume. Folding the third-row seats yields 44.4 cubic feet of room, while dropping the second row increases that to 97.7 cubic feet -- just 10 cubes shy of the full-size Nissan Quest's total cargo capacity.
The 2014 Mazda 5 deftly blends utility with agility and urban maneuverability. Impressive visibility and a tight turning circle make swift work of narrow roads and parking lots. The 5's ride is not overly firm, but you'll feel the bumps a bit more than you would in a full-size minivan. On the other hand, the handling is pretty sporty, and as family vehicles go, the Mazda 5 is unusually fun to drive. While the manual shifter isn't quite as slick as what we've seen in other Mazdas, the mere fact that it even exists deserves mention for those who still find it rewarding to shift their own gears.
If there's any compromise on the Mazda 5's balance sheet, it's the four-cylinder engine. Although it has enough power for day-to-day errands, acceleration is still pretty pokey, especially on hills or when fully loaded. In addition, the 5 earns lower fuel economy ratings than compact crossovers like the Honda CR-V and Mazda's own CX-5, though it still has a distinct advantage over V6-powered minivans.