This car is an exceptional value for a starter family that needs a minivan. With three toddlers, our top priority was to have sliding doors on both sides of a car and to avoid having them sit three wide in one row . We also had a minimalist perspective when selecting trim and accessories. For example, we already have navigation on our mobile phones so we had no need to pay for one built into the dashboard. We needed Bluetooth phone capability but we did not need a sunroof or leather interior. The Touring trim was perfect for us. The fit and finish is very good. It has fabric door panels and leather steering wheel , however, the top of the dashboard is made from pebbled ABS plastic that is eventually going to show signs of wear. Setting up and using the Bluetooth system with our phones was easy flawless. I've used several Bluetooth systems in various cars; this one is one of the best if not the best. While the rear four seats are perfect for toddlers and small kids, the leg room is inadequate for adults. it's possible to adjust the seats in the first and second row in order to get four adults and two children seated comfortably. Unfortunately, its never possible to get six adults seated comfortably. We primarily use this car for short range trips with the kids and therefore we don't need a lot of cargo space. For those occasional road trips we have a cargo box that goes on the roof rack. I'm giving this car five stars. Despite having some areas for improvement it exceeded our expectations and was an exceptional value. This car meets all of our needs today and is not intended as an all-purpose car as our family will continue to grow and expand . April 2016 update: We've now owned this car for just over 6 months. The car vibrates a little when sitting still at idle, as if the motor mounts are sloppy. When operating the heater, the 2nd and 3rd rows get cold air. We have a service visit scheduled to have these issues resolved. Whenever one of our two paired iPhones is nearby, the car automatically links to it and starts playing music or podcasts; this is a minor annoyance. October 2016 update: As described above, we took the car in to the dealer to understand why A/C or Heat isn't routed directly to the rear passengers. If you look at the rear vent control, it says "fresh air only" which you can't see or read. Bottom line: the 2nd and 3rd rows can only get air circulated from the front of the cabin. This is annoying because we have toddlers who don't want to wait for the A/C and heat to make its way back to the rear seats gradually. We've discovered that the lack of legroom isn't going to be sustainable as our children grow - we're already at our limit with a 6 year old, 4 year old, and 2 year old. I've downgraded the comfort of the front and rear seats in the review above. Despite these negatives, I still find the van to be an exceptional value for a starter family.
So, in the course of human events you start to have grandchildren. I've got 8 so far and since I help with the care for some of them that live in the area I wanted a car that would allow me to move them in and out of the car and run around the metropolis without a lot of stress and strain. A used white 2015 Mazda 5 sport became available while I was at a Mazda dealership considering options so I took it for a test drive and liked how it handled. The Mazda 3 was too small, the CX5 too costly so the Mazda 5 was just right! Since it lacked a backup camera and blind spot monitors I had that technology added. The dealership used a 3rd part auto specialty shop to do that work. I'm sure I paid more for it via the dealership but they do give their stamp of approval on the work so I went with it. I'm pleased with the backup camera not so much with the blind spot detector since it seems a bit flakey. So, this car and I are starting to learn about each other and I'm impressed so far. Pros: I like the openness of the vehicle, the white color in Texas heat and the ability to haul lots of stuff. I love the sliding doors and those work great for mounting babies in car seats and moving even older folks around as needed since it is so easy to get in and out of. Having a tight 2 car garage, I like it that I can get in and out via the sliding doors without bumping my wife's car as I prepare the car for the various tasks I need to do. The other day I needed to help my daughter move her elliptical exercise machine to a new home so I had to lower the middle seats by flipping the bottom of the 2nd row seat forward and dropping the backrest down and that made for a perfectly flat bed for the exercise machine and it fit fine. While the acceleration isn't overpowering I find it adequate and plenty peppy for my needs as I weave through traffic. I like the low step in and being a rather large fellow (250+ lbs - 6 ft) I find the seats adequate for running around town. Cons: Since this is the sport model of the Mazda 5, there was no blue tooth, no heated, leather seats and no moon roof. The simple USB connector works find for connecting my phone (iPhone 5s) to the audio system to charge and play though so I don't miss my blue tooth too much and with this Dallas heat I don't normally miss the heated seats either. I'm not too impressed with the quality of the seat covers but again, it is the economy model. I wish it had a few more cubbies between the seats to hold all the odds and ends I travel with but it works fine the way it is. So, all in all, I'm a happy camper so far and me and my Madza 5 are rolling along. I did have the car checked by my mechanic when I purchase and the only negative he had to say was that the transmission oil was a bit dirty and needed to be changed (rather gray). The nice thing about that was that there is a transmission dip stick so you can actually check the quality of the fluid. The folks at the dealership didn't want to pay for that since they said it wasn't time (37,000 miles) but I insisted and we split the cost - around a $100 from my pocket. Afterwards I noticed the car not shifting smoothly for several months and finally thought I'd check the transmission fluid. Turns out that the 1/2 price transmission fluid change was only half done and the transmission fluid was only half full! After I caught that I returned to dealership and they added the missing fluid and now the car is working fine. Of course the fellow who did the transmission work "no longer works here." The other negative I've heard is that it didn't do well in the offset crash test compared to the other cars. I'll say this: The biggest safety feature you have going for you is to be an attentive driver so you don't drive into posts and pillars and such and don't drink and drive. To sum up: The car isn't sexy, not something you would brag about but it is immensely practical and great for a grandpa car. Recently Grandma has taken over the car since Grandma is working with 2 very elderly folks and they appreciate the ease of getting in and out of the car for doctor appointments. So, easy come, easy go but she did leave me her Mazda CX-5 so that works fairly well for my travel and purposes.
Been driving the grand touring for about a year and some change. Definite niche vehicle... best mileage in class (minivan), for the guy who is averaging 17-24 -- I'm averaging 21 city and 27 highway, so less than the EPA, but not bad. Definite step up from my CX-9. Anyway, couple of goods -- steering is tight and controlled, brakes are great -- commuting is a breeze, drives like a car. Sliding doors, 6 seats, but doesn't really look like a minivan.. does that make sense? For those like me who can see getting into a dodge caravan or Honda odyssey, this fits the bill. Great niche. Niggles: No power seats? Really? In the Grand Touring? What is this 1978? C'mon Mazda, you put rain sensing wipers in there -- but no power seats. Craziness. On the other hand, one less thing to go wrong:) Also the "infotainment" center stack is not great... swapped for third party immediately and stuck dvd in the back for the kiddos. All in all, love Mazda's - always have -- this fits the family situation perfectly, but it's nothing to write home about. Great price, good (not great) mileage, and sliding doors.... nuff said.