So after reading several reviews on the mazda 5, ie, shocks struts and tire wear, not much else was negative. Bought my 2009 mazda 5, and immediately changed the tires to 215/50 ZR17 ( changed speedometer by 1 mph ), this gave a much better and smoother ride, also installed top of the line Bilsten shocks and struts. I'm at 38K on the tires with about 50% tread left, wearing even with normal tire rotations, and two alighnments. No other issues at all. I purchased the car with 88K, from the original owner that had all service records ( 3 sets of tires and shocks ), I am at 130K on the car, and other than the normal recommended service, it has been Great. Commute 80 miles Daily.
I have Mazda5 09 GT model. I love the styling inside and out on my GT model. Very functional for my family of 4 and a dog. Option for 6 is great when needed as long as it is the exception. There is no trunk space with all 6 seats used. Does everything I need in the summer but when cold weather hits, I think of getting rid of it every winter. The power locking sliding side doors, manual sliding, will not work in cold or freezing temps. Took to Mazda and all they did was lube the door latch. Problem did not go away. Door keeps trying to lock even when I am driving. Not a safe feeling when driving and kids are back there. So this is my 6th winter with this Van and to make both doors close, I cannot wash it till spring. Had to change the top engine mount at 60000 miles when the hydraulic fluid leaked out. Thought it was engine but just the fluid in the mount. Mazda said it was normal to change these mounts! Other two mounts don't sound healthy either. This was the first engine mount I had to change EVER! Also changed all the shocks and struts. Mazda could have beefed up the suspension a bit since they put a mini-mini Van for 6 on a compact chassis from a Mazda 3. Not recommended if commuting with more than 4 adults every day. Still driving it and still love it and hate it. Year 6 now, still runs good and no troubles except the above. I only wash the bottom half of the doors which helps it close properly in winter. It is a good mini school bus!
We bought new hoping to have fewer problems arise then our old cars with 150,000 miles. We chose Mazda thinking it was a better built car. The Mazda 5 has terrible road noise. The front wheels rattle like something has come loose. Two different Mazda service shops have not been able to fix the problem. Shortly after purchasing it the gas cap broke and was $45 to replace it not being under warranty. Mazda knows there is a problem with that and the new 2010 have a different gas cap. Now after owning the car only 14 months I had to replace all 4 tires because it was out of alignment. I kept up on tire rotations and had them balanced each oil change. This car is crap!
The vehicle is fun to drive and has versatile seating / storage configurations. Mileage is reasonable. Two big drawbacks though, the rear suspension and the rear bushings. At 50000 km of mostly single passenger commuting, we are already on our third set of rear shocks. The bushings (at least that's what I think they are) creak very loudly in warm weather. It sounds like a horse drawn wagon lumbering down a dirt road.
Overall I like but don't love this car. I like its compact dimensions but wish it was bigger inside. I think when it's paid off I'm going to get a small four-door economy car to be my daily driver and a used full-size minivan for when I need to haul more people or more stuff. It's easy and relatively fun to drive, and fairly economical - I get ~30mpg on the highway. It has been mostly reliable, but I've just had to have the rear shocks replaced for the second time in under 50,000 miles, which appears to be a common problem.