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Compact minivans have been popular for years in Europe and Japan, where families find them useful for dealing with narrow streets, limited parking and high fuel prices. Attempts by import-label automakers to bring these "super space wagons" to U.S. shores in the early 1990s were largely unsuccessful, however, because Americans were more interested in modern SUVs and large minivans. But once rising gas prices led some buyers to downsize from larger vehicles, Mazda decided that a truly "mini" minivan might again have a chance with U.S. consumers.
The result is the Mazda 5 compact minivan. Although it's significantly smaller than other minivans on the market, the Mazda 5 provides six-passenger capacity along with the distinctive look and sporty handling for which Mazda is known. For buyers who need affordable, relatively fuel-efficient family transportation that's particularly easy to maneuver in traffic and a snap to park, the Mazda 5 is a strong choice.
Used Mazda 5 Models
The second-generation Mazda 5 debuted for 2012. Compared to the earlier Mazda 5, it sports swoopier styling, more comfortable seating and a bit more power.
The first-generation Mazda 5 was introduced for the 2006 model year and ran until 2010. This compact minivan offered sliding side doors and seating for six within a relatively small footprint. Powered by a 2.3-liter inline-4 with 153 hp, most versions were fitted with a four- or five-speed automatic, although a five-speed manual was available on lower trims.
Initial trim levels consisted of base Sport and uplevel Touring, with perks of the latter including a sunroof, automatic climate control and an upgraded MP3-compatible stereo with an in-dash CD changer. A navigation system was optional for the Touring. The following year, the range-topping Grand Touring model debuted with its many luxury niceties.
For 2008, the Mazda 5 received revised front and rear styling and a new center control panel. Electroluminescent gauges were also added that year, along with rear seat air vents and controls, additional flip-down armrests and an auxiliary audio jack. Another thing to note is that Mazda 5 models prior to 2008 featured a four-speed automatic rather than the five-speed unit, resulting in lower fuel economy. Lastly, stability control wasn't available until 2010, when it came onboard as standard equipment.