We just sold our 2008 Mazda 5 GT that we purchased new in 2009. Over 8 years, it was a reliable vehicle that served us well. It never left us stranded and rarely went in for service or it was something a do-it-yourself person of average skill (me) can handle. If you value the driving experience, Mazda is a good one to consider for any of their vehicles. Mazda's drive like Honda's used to, lots of feedback and engagement for the driver. If you're looking for refinement and quiet, this is not your vehicle. Pros: Fun to drive little box, excellent automatic transmission, unique character and utility. Cons: Road noise, corrosion protection lacking and "people or stuff" choices. If you need to carry 3-4 people and stuff, it's fine. More people or more stuff, you should buy something larger. Gas mileage is so-so, especially compared to many 2015+ vehicles, but it was the most efficient minivan you could buy in 2008. Our GT(Grand Touring) version lacked nothing in creature comfort and the HID headlights were worth the money. We enjoyed this vehicle, it worked for us and it was rare to see another one, which is nice. If you are looking for one, be sure to check underneath the rear wheel arches for rust, as well as underneath the vehicle, especially in salty areas. Problems were mostly suspension related, which were fixed fairly early on. Be warned that this vehicle is hard on tires and we never got more than 15000 miles out of a set, although western PA is hard on tires and brakes, the forum's will tell you the same story.
2008 Mazda 5 Minivan Sport 4dr Minivan (2.3L 4cyl 5A)
We've had our Mazda 5 for 5 years now and have put three full sets of tires on it and at least 2 other random replacements- and it only has 95k miles on it- all highway. The low profile wheels don't last and are fairly expensive to replace. In addition, our transmission gave out in year 2 and had to be completely replaced (luckily all covered by the warranty). Also, the wheel alignment is not great (perhaps lending to the massive tire consumption) nor are the shocks at this point. So the ride is less than smooth. The first two years we LOVED the car, but it certainly has not aged well.
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
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.
Completely reliable since we have owned it. Economical and smooth to operate, with an agile feel while driving. Sliding doors are light enough for our girls to operate most of the time.
Great visibility out the front. Strong lighting from headlights.
Good looking when it is clean -- the LED taillights, low-profile wheels and tires, and overall lines look more sophisticated than your typical crossover/family truckster.
If you are wide of girth, this isn't the car for you.
I'm comfortable (I am 5'10" and 175 lbs), but larger folks will notice that the seats are small.
We have encountered some of the groaning suspension noises, but independent mechanic can't find a problem -- the noises are just an occasional nuisance.
Power is modest on the highway, though the engine is smooth. Stability control only became standard in 2010 -- not available before -- the 2010 models are the one to have. OEM tires should be better quality -- the replacement Continental DWS tires that I installed were much more refined and durable. I would have loved a diesel option for better fuel economy.