2008 Mazda 5 Review

Pros & Cons

  • Low price, ample features list, nimble handling, just-right space for small families.
  • Performance suffers when loaded up with people and stuff, cramped third row, stability control not available.
List Price Range
$6,995 - $7,991

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Edmunds' Expert Review

Remember when minivans were somewhat mini? The 2008 Mazda 5 is such a vehicle, offering a nimble and practical solution for smaller families who are realistic about their space and performance needs.

Vehicle overview

Soccer. David Hasselhoff. Speedo bathing suits. These are all things that are big in Europe. Add to that list small MPVs, practical family vehicles that look like minivans that have been run through a hot spin cycle. Because of the narrow streets found in Europe (and Japan for that matter), our typical "minivans" would be unwieldy beasts there -- too wide, too long, too heavy and providing far more utility than the average family requires. The European appreciation for sporty handling is also part of these vehicles' repertoire. If you share that appreciation and your lifestyle is more in line with that of urban-dwelling Continentals, buying a sporty mini minivan like the 2008 Mazda 5 makes a lot more sense than a lumbering minivan or crossover SUV.

Under the 5's skin resides a platform derived from the Mazda 3, a class-leading compact sedan that sets itself apart with razor-sharp handling. This sporting DNA has been handed down to the more homely Mazda 5, which despite being a tad top-heavy, manages to feel more athletic and winding-road capable than anything that has ever donned sliding doors. Its compact dimensions make maneuvering through traffic a snap and parking a much friendlier proposition. Although they may have been deemed uncool (certainly not by us), the 5's sliding side doors allow for much easier access to the rear quarters -- particularly in cramped parking lot spots.

Like other small minivans found in Europe and Japan, the Mazda 5's third-row seat is intended for children, and even then, only occasionally as cargo space drops to practically nil when the 50/50 third row is in place. There is a maximum capacity of six people, with two per row. The second row consists of two captain's chairs that slide fore and aft to provide the rearmost passengers with additional legroom. This is a setup that should work well for families with one or two small children who occasionally need to carry a few of their little friends. If you need space for two kids, Aunt Doris, a kayak and a week's worth of stuff on road trips to the Grand Canyon, the Mazda 5 is probably not the best choice.

To be sure, the 2008 Mazda 5 is a vehicle that should appeal to a narrow band of car buyers. However, with gas prices remaining high and consumers becoming more realistic about their vehicle needs, perhaps that narrow band will grow broader. Already, the similar Kia Rondo has been introduced, increasing this segment's participants to two (although these vehicles also certainly compete with compact SUVs and base-level minivans). As a sporty, fuel-efficient compact people carrier with plenty of standard and optional luxury features, the Mazda 5 definitely has some appeal here in the United States -- certainly more so than Speedos and David Hasselhoff.

2008 Mazda 5 models

The 2008 Mazda 5 is a small six-passenger minivan available in Sport, Touring and Grand Touring trim levels. Standard on the Sport are 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic climate control, rear-seat air-conditioning vents and controls, full power accessories, a tilt-telescoping steering wheel with audio controls, cruise control, fold-flat second- and third-row seats, a trip computer, electroluminescent gauges and a six-speaker stereo with CD player and auxiliary audio jack. The Touring trim adds foglights, a rear spoiler, a sunroof, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, and an in-dash six-CD changer (optional on the Sport). The Grand Touring trim adds automatic xenon headlights, rain-sensing windshield wipers, leather upholstery, heated front seats and Bluetooth. The Grand Touring can be equipped with a touchscreen navigation system, while all Mazda 5s are pre-wired for satellite radio.

2008 Highlights

The Mazda 5 mini minivan gets mildly freshened front and rear styling, and a revised center control panel for 2008. Electroluminescent gauges have been added, along with rear seat air vents and controls, additional passenger flip-down armrests and an auxiliary audio jack. A five-speed automatic replaces the old four-speed, and is now standard equipment on the Touring and Grand Touring trims. The five-speed manual remains standard on the base-trim Sport. The Grand Touring trim also gains additional features, while the optional navigation system benefits from a more user-friendly touchscreen design.

Performance & mpg

The Mazda 5 is powered by a 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 153 horsepower and 148 pound-feet of torque. The Touring and Grand Touring models come standard with a five-speed automatic. That transmission is optional on the base Sport model, which has a five-speed manual standard.

Safety

Four-wheel antilock disc brakes, front side airbags and three-row side curtain airbags are standard on every 2008 Mazda 5. Stability control is not available.

Driving

Sharing its suspension design (including a multilink rear setup) with the athletic 3 means that the 5 possesses quick, precise handling and minimal body roll through the curves. The 5 also boasts sharp, communicative steering. In tighter turns, the 5 feels more top-heavy than the compact on which it's based, but that's expected. Overall, this minivan is quite entertaining to drive and lends credibility to Mazda's "zoom-zoom" marketing angle. A petite (34.8 feet) turning circle makes U-turns and parking maneuvers a breeze.

Again, if you need a minivan, but can't deal with the idea of driving something so unwieldy, the 2008 Mazda 5 should be your No. 1 choice.

Interior

Some might find sliding rear doors to be the perfect example of minivan uncoolness, but there's no denying that the Mazda 5's sliders make loading passengers in tight parking spaces easy. Plus, you'll never have to worry about the kids flinging the doors open into the innocent door of a neighboring vehicle. The 5's third row isn't terribly roomy, and is intended for children only, but space behind the two front seats is at least aided by the spacious second-row captain's chairs that slide fore and aft. Both rear rows conveniently fold flat, providing a 5-foot-long load floor and 44 cubic feet of cargo capacity.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2008 Mazda 5.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

Great little van
dharbin,03/08/2014
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.
Not Bad.
dudechuck,06/21/2011
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.
What you see's what you get more or less
dctoronto,05/05/2010
Okay forget the zoom, zoom. This is a small mini van for families who primarily take short trips around town carrying 2 kids and a lot of stuff or 3-4 kids with bare essentials. If that is what you want, then the Mazda5 will not disappoint you. Fuel economy ought to be better but is respectable, fit, finish etc. is also satisfactory, as is driving experience and comfort (note I'm a large person too). Reliability has been fine except for the brakes which need an expensive servicing that, so far, the dealer claims is not covered by the warranty. Please note, I'm writing from Canada, U.S. customers might have different experience with warranty service.
Still love the little guy but
ajl,11/21/2010
An update to the previous review. I'd still buy this vehicle again. But I will echo previous reviewers comments. Still the original Toyos, but I have 4 snow tires for the winter,which I highly recommend (Low profile all seasons are not good for snow). The original Toyos might have 9000 miles on them and are half worn out.We have a suspension noise in the back that keeps coming back. Dealer has been great,even though we didn't buy it there. No steering issues, but there is a recall. A great little vehicle, but it does have its flaws (all cars do, they are complex machines) There is no such thing as a perfect car.

Features & Specs

See all Used 2008 Mazda 5 features & specs

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    Rollover4 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated

More about the 2008 Mazda 5

Used 2008 Mazda 5 Overview

The Used 2008 Mazda 5 is offered in the following submodels: 5 Minivan. Available styles include Sport 4dr Minivan (2.3L 4cyl 5A), Touring 4dr Minivan (2.3L 4cyl 5A), Sport 4dr Minivan (2.3L 4cyl 5M), and Grand Touring 4dr Minivan (2.3L 4cyl 5A).

What's a good price on a Used 2008 Mazda 5?

Price comparisons for Used 2008 Mazda 5 trim styles:

  • The Used 2008 Mazda 5 Sport is priced between $7,991 and$7,991 with odometer readings between 85226 and85226 miles.
  • The Used 2008 Mazda 5 Touring is priced between $6,995 and$6,995 with odometer readings between 90747 and90747 miles.

Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.

Which used 2008 Mazda 5s are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2008 Mazda 5 for sale near. There are currently 2 used and CPO 2008 5s listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $6,995 and mileage as low as 85226 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2008 Mazda 5.

Can't find a used 2008 Mazda 5s you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Mazda 5 for sale - 7 great deals out of 15 listings starting at $11,563.

Find a used Mazda for sale - 4 great deals out of 22 listings starting at $20,530.

Find a used certified pre-owned Mazda 5 for sale - 8 great deals out of 17 listings starting at $25,637.

Find a used certified pre-owned Mazda for sale - 2 great deals out of 16 listings starting at $14,357.

Should I lease or buy a 2008 Mazda 5?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

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