This has been a great car for 11 years (2001 model), and still going.
I have been holding off getting a new car hoping that Mazda will come back with a real minivan- the 5 is too small.
I have over 200,000 miles now, and it's still going without any major issues.
Been thinking about getting something new, but can't justify because this baby keeps on chugging away.
It has done the full gamut of use- toting loads of kids to practices and activities, towing my 15 foot sailboat, vacation trips, hauling junk in the cargo zone, canoe on the roof, etc.
What a versatile vehicle, and 20 miles per gallon.
The best thing about this car has been that I don't notice it.
It does everything I need it to do, so I don't have to think about it.
Very cohesive, well thought design.
No annoying features.
Maybe the interior could be a bit quieter on the highway.
I used this van to haul a lot of equipment as well as two infants. The van suited us very well, as it had 40000 miles on it when I bought it. Around 65000 I started having issues with the engine light coming on and it missing, and replaced starter sensor, but they never were able to completely fix the problem. The value for the price of this van was excellent, and it was a very good deal considering other cars that I had reviewed. I especially liked the way that I could haul a lot of inventory. It was much easier to use then my Explorer or Surbuban. I recently bought a Town and Country at a much higher price and love that vehicle as it's easier with auto doors and the tvs for the kids.
Ease of seats folding down, lots of room for hauling. Suspension held up despite continuous overloading.
Increase payload capacity (weight) by optional hauling suspension to be added. Braking is slow, so better brakes would make this a safer vehicle. My rating for driving experience is not a ding against Mazda, but it is a minivan after all.
Bought this van new. It's been very dependable. We have only done basic repairs of things that wore out, brakes, tires. I love the handling, and the fact that it is a little smaller than other minivans. Hate the look of most boxy vans. Hope it keeps going for another 4 years!
Handling - feels like a car. Very open feeling design of dash, other vans have limited visibility. Roll down middle windows. Smaller footprint of vehicle, easy to park.
Overall, this has been a fantastic vehicle. I would recommend them to anyone looking for a van that has power and is also concerned about fuel economy. I purchased this knowing I was going to Europe and on the roads and streets there, it was outstanding. I had practically no issues at all with it. My only challenge was to get an American spec vehicle serviced in Europe. I can honestly tell you this van would run 120 mph on the Autobahn with no problems, and the fuel economy was pretty good doing so.
Fold flat rear bench seat. This vehicle was the truck I needed when needed. Powerful engine.
Make the rear hatch open to match the interior width.
Bought this car new to replace a 1991 MPV. Gas mileage was good to start but as it gets older it's terrible. Hate the spare tire setup. It's the worst to try and change to the spare. It broke right after the warranty expired. Mazda needs to re-think the mechanism of storing the spare. Mazda also needs to be real on the carpet color choices. Kids, pets, etc. are riding in this vehicle and the light colored carpeting takes a severe beating. Thank goodness for steam cleaners. Upholstery is light but cleans up nicely. Leg room and clearance between back seat and middle seats are hard to maneuver unless you're a kid. I like the middle seat feature of being able to move them apart.
Love the back seat folding flat and the well for groceries and stuff.
Driver and passenger cup holders are not deep enough. Large cups fall over. See above review for more improvements.