I bought a used 2008 Mazda5 two years ago. It has been a fairly decent car, good interior space and gas mileage. Recently, the AT light came on. I took it to our local reliable mechanic. The car now needs a new transmission. I called and pleaded our case with the local Mazda dealership and with Mazda US. Neither of them will do anything to help us. They won't even offer discounted parts. It is ridiculous that the transmission would fail at 65,000 miles. It is even more ridiculous that Mazda doesn't stand behind their cars. I cannot recommend that anyone purchase this car or any Mazda for that matter.
We needed a newer mini-van that would fit our family's needs and stay in budget. The Mazda5 drives great, much sportier than our sedans. Holds the corners very well, feeling very solid on the road. It is very comfortable for a family of 4. Easy to get the car seats in the bucket seats. Sliding doors make it super easy to get kids in and out, and we can park this car in a compact spot. It also fits in the garage easily. Even with our super height difference, my husband and I find it easy to drive and visibility is very good. Other minivans we test drove were bulky. This performs like a car. Even loaded with suitcases, it performs well. And the price was very reasonable.
We bought the Mazda5 based on a my wife's friend. She had one and loved it. She had the '07, and by reading reviews we settled on the '08. It was nice for a family of four, once our child was able to seat forward facing. There is not enough room for a rear facing car seat in the second row. You can do it but the person in the front seat has to scoot way up for and it is not comfortable. It was reliable all except the power steering would go out. It was repleced on a recall for free and we did not have any further problems. It was terrible in the snow and got stuck several times in a few inches of snow. The engine is also way to small for the vehicle, with limited highway power.
We have almost 100K miles on the 5 -- purchased with 42K in 2011, and we have put almost 20K a year on it since. It's been reliable and economical to operate, and adequate for our family of 5 (including 3 young girls). A little tight for the several road trips we have taken (several times to Chicago, Connecticut and Florida), but a rooftop box solves the space problem. Fuel economy ranges from 23 in town to 30 on the highway (driving at 70 without cargo box.) Overall average of 25 mpg, usually with 3 kids inside.
To be honest, at my age, I kind of miss the roominess and lush comfort of the Chrysler Town and Country we once had. But for value, fuel economy, utility, and reliability I can't say I've ever owned or even known of a better car than our Mazda 5 Grand Touring van. We've put 50K miles on it over two years. A lot of long trips. It's a bit compact for a van but it does seat six comfortably, although two adults in the rear-most bench seat would eventually feel a bit cramped on a long trip. And with six people on an over-night trip there won't be much room for luggage so pack light. The manual indicates that the Mazda 5 is not designed for towing and that it should never be used for that. Howeve