2012 Mazda 5 Review

Pros & Cons

  • Sharp handling
  • easier to park and maneuver than a regular minivan
  • affordable price
  • sliding doors are great for parking lots.
  • Missing some popular minivan options
  • seats only six
  • fuel economy only slightly better than a minivan.
List Price Range
$6,996 - $8,695

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Edmunds' Expert Review

The sporty 2012 Mazda 5 should be just right for folks who don't need all the size or space of a full-size minivan.

Vehicle overview

There's a reason the minivan is considered the quintessential vehicle for parents. You see, it's the perfect vehicle for schlepping around the kids and the stuff that comes along with them. No other vehicle can match the minivan's huge interior space, three rows of seating, sliding rear doors and low ride height. Yet as great as a minivan is, it can be overkill for families with just one or two little ones. That's where the 2012 Mazda 5 comes in.

Completely redesigned for 2012, the latest Mazda 5 is an evolution of the previous model. Highlights include a bit more power, more comfortable seating and swoopier styling. At its core, however, the 5 remains a mini-minivan for those with modest family transportation needs. With two seats in each of its three rows, it only seats six compared to the seven- or eight-passenger seating of a big minivan (now that's an oxymoron). But if occasions to haul multiple passengers are few and far between, the Mazda 5's design has a sizable (size being the operative word here) practical advantage over compact crossover SUVs.

There's another advantage the Mazda 5 has over its quasi-family mobile competitors -- it's fun to drive. Like the Mazda 3, it goes around corners with control and poise. Some automakers may boast that their minivans or SUVs "handle like a car," but the Mazda 5 actually does. In fact, it handles like a really good car. Because of its smaller size, it's also much easier to maneuver through tighter spaces, and you won't have to think twice about squeezing into compact parking spots.

That said, the 2012 Mazda 5 certainly isn't for everyone. Some folks really do need commodious space, and there's something to be said for V6 power on hilly terrain or with a full load of people aboard. The Mazda 5 also isn't available with certain features common to regular minivans, like power-operated sliding doors, sunshades or factory-installed navigation and entertainment systems. In contrast, the Ford C-Max -- also a mini minivan built on a platform shared with the Mazda 5 – has all sorts of electronics features. Still, the Mazda 5 has everything you need and enough passenger and cargo space for most young families. Essentially a design hybrid between a minivan and a wagon, the Mazda 5 is a great alternative choice and definitely worth a look in these lean economic times.

2012 Mazda 5 models

The 2012 Mazda 5 is a three-row, six-passenger compact minivan available in three trim levels: Sport, Touring and Grand Touring. The base Sport comes standard with 16-inch alloy wheels, full power accessories, keyless entry, cruise control, automatic climate control (with rear vents and fan controls), a height-adjustable driver seat, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player and an auxiliary audio jack.

The 5 Touring adds 17-inch alloy wheels, foglights, a rear spoiler, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a trip computer and Bluetooth. For the Touring, the optional Moonroof & Audio package adds a sunroof, satellite radio and a six-CD changer. This package is standard on the 5 Grand Touring, which also gets automatic xenon headlights, heated mirrors, automatic wipers, driver lumbar adjustment, heated front seats and leather upholstery.

There are a number of dealer-installed extras that will be available later in the model year, including remote ignition, an iPod interface, a Garmin portable navigation system and a DVD entertainment system.

2012 Highlights

The 2012 Mazda 5 has been completely redesigned.

Performance & mpg

Every 2012 Mazda 5 is powered by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder that produces 157 horsepower and 163 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual is standard on the Sport, while a five-speed automatic is optional on the Sport and standard on everything else. In Edmunds performance testing, a 5 Grand Touring went from zero to 60 mph in 9.5 seconds -- slower than most typical minivans and many compact SUVs. With either transmission, fuel economy is estimated at 21 mpg city/28 highway.

Safety

Every Mazda 5 comes with standard stability and traction control, four-wheel antilock disc brakes with brake assist, front side airbags and side curtain airbags. In Edmunds brake testing, the 5 came to a stop from 60 mph in 130 feet -- a few feet longer than average.

Driving

If you want some added utility but don't want to give up the agility and urban maneuverability of car, the 2012 Mazda 5 is an excellent choice. Acceleration is slightly pokey (especially on hilly terrain), but the 5's handling is excellent. On winding roads, the 5 rewards the driver with precise steering and controlled body motions. Passengers riding with an enthusiastic driver will also appreciate a retuned suspension that helps keep them from sliding and swaying in their seats. On the Edmunds test track, the 5 nearly matched the handling numbers of the much smaller Mazda 2. Quite simply, the 5 is fun to drive, something we can't say about any other regular minivan.

Interior

While the 5 is obviously smaller than the typical minivan, it still packs plenty of interior versatility. The comfortable second-row captain's chairs slide and recline, and the passenger-side seat features a nifty pop-up center table and storage space that can be fitted between the chairs (and later stowed away, creating a walk-through channel to the third row). The third row is big enough for kids and is easier to get into than every crossover third row we can think of. At the same time, the sliding rear doors mean easy access, particularly in parking lots.

Up front, the new 5's dash layout has remained largely the same, and the overall look is sleeker now. All of the controls are easy to reach and use, and that helps the 5 feel much more like a regular car from behind the wheel. The front seats provide respectable comfort, though taller folks may wish for more rearward seat travel.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2012 Mazda 5.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

Sporty Mini' Minivan w/Zoom-Zoom appeal!
mikeyg616,02/28/2011
i did so much research on the perfect family hauler without breaking the bank&also not looking like i 'gave up'&was so happy to find the new 5!it has everything i was looking for to transport my family of 4,we chose the upgraded 'touring model which adds fogs,spoiler side skirts 17' rims nicer grill &leather wheel,power is surprisingly good w/ smooth tranny & good mpg!turning radius is great!the seats are really comfy,the dual slide doors are light and easy to use for wifey w kiddies!pass/cargo room is also more then adequate,this mpv is a hot seller in Europe and only car in its class that got rave reviews..much better ad easier then suv w 3rd row,i highly recommend,we love our 2012 5!
Best people hauler for the money
roth4fun,04/15/2011
My wife and I shopped around for a month trying to find a replacement for our aging Odyssey. Wanted better gas mileage, room for 6, and best value for the money stayng in the low to mid $20k range. We found that in the Mazda 5. Was the first we test drove and the one we bought. Considered RAV-4 with 3rd row, Sedona with 3rd row, Dodge Journey, Odyssey, Traverse, Equinox, and others.
Fantastic vehicle
troyohchatter,12/21/2013
The specs tell the story of a very average vehicle. Average power, MPG, etc. But just drive it. Handles great, the seating position is ideal, the automatic drivetrain is near perfect, even for a guy that prefers a manual, and it can seat six adults in a pinch (front and middle rows move up a notch). The vehicle is tight as a drum, low noise level, and overall is tighter than the last Honda we had, a 2003 CR-V. I have no idea why anyone with kids would want doors that are not sliders. Sliding doors do not hit other cars in parking lots and allow easy access to child seats.
Perfect Solution Vehicle
ruddyduck67,08/04/2011
With a newborn and 4 year old we ran into the issue that you have NO ROOM for a 5th passenger in a standard car with the 2 car seats, (we had a Civic and a Outback Wagon). Looked around for somthing to carry the occasional 5-6 passengers and found a limited market. Considered the standard Odessey/Sienna and even the RAV4 with tiny back bench. Anyway...the full size vans seemed to be overkill and were reaching 40K so I looked at the 5. Wow! We love it. Comfortably fits six, drives like a sporty sedan and fits in the tightest spots. Looks small on the outside but is roomy inside.

Features & Specs

See all Used 2012 Mazda 5 features & specs
More about the 2012 Mazda 5
More About This Model

You have to hand it to Mazda. The 2012 Mazda 5 extends the gamble that the automaker took more than five years ago when it introduced this model in the U.S. Back then American buyers still worshipped at the altar of the SUV and had little predisposition to something that was half van, half wagon. But Mazda has history on its side.

It turns out that the Mazda 5 shares similar measurements with the 1984 Dodge Caravan, the minivan that launched an industry. Indeed, the Mazda 5's wheelbase is less than 5 inches shorter than that of the original Caravan, and its roof is just slightly closer to the ground. By comparison, a current Toyota Sienna is nearly a foot wider, 6 inches taller and 2 feet longer.

When the Mazda 5 first came to the U.S. in 2006, the idea of a spacious wagon-style vehicle had come and gone many times, yet remained so unfashionable that Mazda was careful not to describe the Mazda 5 as a "van." But now that gasoline prices are zooming upward, the newly revised Mazda 5 seems like a more compelling proposition. In fact, the Mazda 5 shares space with the forthcoming Ford Grand C-Max, a seven-seater built on the same global platform as the Mazda 5. Toyota will also dance around the segment with the Prius V, a taller, longer version of its stalwart hybrid, although limited to two rows of seats and five passengers.

Used 2012 Mazda 5 Overview

The Used 2012 Mazda 5 is offered in the following submodels: 5 Minivan. Available styles include Grand Touring 4dr Minivan (2.5L 4cyl 5A), Touring 4dr Minivan (2.5L 4cyl 5A), Sport 4dr Minivan (2.5L 4cyl 6M), and Sport 4dr Minivan (2.5L 4cyl 5A).

What's a good price on a Used 2012 Mazda 5?

Price comparisons for Used 2012 Mazda 5 trim styles:

  • The Used 2012 Mazda 5 Sport is priced between $6,996 and$7,451 with odometer readings between 90668 and102000 miles.
  • The Used 2012 Mazda 5 Grand Touring is priced between $8,695 and$8,695 with odometer readings between 74795 and74795 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 2012 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) 2012 Mazda 5 for sale near. There are currently 3 used and CPO 2012 5s listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $6,996 and mileage as low as 74795 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 2012 Mazda 5.

Can't find a used 2012 Mazda 5s you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Mazda 5 for sale - 6 great deals out of 20 listings starting at $14,621.

Find a used Mazda for sale - 7 great deals out of 8 listings starting at $7,374.

Find a used certified pre-owned Mazda 5 for sale - 4 great deals out of 21 listings starting at $16,731.

Find a used certified pre-owned Mazda for sale - 10 great deals out of 24 listings starting at $24,171.

Should I lease or buy a 2012 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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