Used 2015 Mazda 5 Review

Edmunds expert review

The sporty 2015 Mazda 5 is a good option for small families who don't need all the space and amenities of a full-size minivan but still want three rows of seating.




What's new for 2015

For 2015, the Mazda 5 sees just a minor equipment shuffling and the deletion of the six-speed manual transmission.

Vehicle overview

Given the considerably large size of nearly every "minivan" currently offered, the vehicular term is rather laughable. An exception to this oxymoron is the 2015 Mazda 5, a relatively small van that offers the easy maneuverability and good gas mileage its petite size suggests.

Although it seats a maximum of six versus seven or even eight that you get from a regular minivan, the Mazda 5 otherwise offers most of the perks of minivan ownership. Its lightweight sliding rear doors, for example, provide easy entry and exit and eliminate the chance of your kids whacking adjacent cars while they hop in and out of the 5 while parked in crowded parking lots. There are also plenty of handy storage cubbies as well as something you wouldn't expect in a minivan: a fun-to-drive demeanor that comes by way of the Mazda's sporty suspension and steering tuning.

Still, this minivan falls short of the maxivans in a few areas. There is just one engine available on the Mazda 5, a 157-horsepower four-cylinder. Most of the time, such as when you're commuting, shuttling the kids to school or getting groceries, it's adequate. But the engine is noticeably taxed when you hit the highway with a full load of passengers. Also, the third-row seat is small, crash test scores are middling and a few features that most modern minivan intenders take for granted are missing, such as power-operated sliding doors, a rearview camera, a blind-spot monitor and even tinted side glass for the backseat.

It's true that larger families with pets and bikes will be better served by mainstream vans like the 2015 Honda Odyssey, 2015 Kia Sedona and 2015 Toyota Sienna. Alternately, there's a wealth of family-friendly choices available in the small crossover segment, including the 2015 Ford C-Max hybrid and 2015 Honda CR-V. Nonetheless, the Edmunds.com "B" rated Mazda 5 remains a good choice for those seeking a compact family hauler.




Trim levels & features

The 2015 Mazda 5 is a three-row, six-passenger compact minivan available in Sport, Touring and Grand Touring trim levels.

The 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, 50/50-split rear folding seats, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player, USB port and an auxiliary audio jack.

The 5 Touring adds 17-inch alloy wheels, foglights, a rear spoiler, rear parking sensors, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter, a trip computer and Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity.

The 5 Grand Touring comes with a sunroof, automatic xenon headlights, heated mirrors, automatic wipers, driver lumbar adjustment, heated front seats, leather upholstery and satellite radio.

The Mazda 5 also offers a few stand-alone options including remote ignition, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and a rear-seat DVD entertainment system.



Performance & mpg

Every 2015 Mazda 5 is powered by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 157 hp and 163 pound-feet of torque. It sends its power to the front wheels through a five-speed automatic transmission.

In Edmunds performance testing, a Mazda 5 Grand Touring accelerated from zero to 60 mph in a leisurely 9.5 seconds. That's slower than any V6-powered minivan but about the same as a four-cylinder-powered compact crossover.

The Mazda 5 rates an EPA-estimated 24 mpg combined (21 city/28 highway).

Safety

Every Mazda 5 comes with standard stability and traction control, antilock disc brakes, front side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags. Rear parking sensors are optional, but items like a rearview camera, blind-spot warning system and forward collision warning system -- all common safety features on larger minivans -- are not available.

In Edmunds brake testing, the 5 Grand Touring came to a stop from 60 mph in 130 feet -- a few feet longer than average. The Sport proved better with a 124-foot stop.

In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety testing, the Mazda 5 received a top score of "Good" in the moderate-overlap frontal-offset impact and roof-strength tests. In the side-impact test, however, it scored a second-lowest "Marginal," and a "Poor" in the small-overlap frontal offset test, the lowest rating. The 5's seat and head restraint design was rated a second-highest "Acceptable" for whiplash protection in rear impacts.

Driving

The 2015 Mazda 5 deftly blends utility with agility and urban maneuverability. Impressive visibility and a tight turning circle make swift work of narrow roads and parking lots. The 5's ride is not overly firm, but you'll feel the bumps a bit more than you would in a full-size minivan. On the other hand, the handling is pretty sporty, and as family vehicles go, the Mazda 5 is unusually fun to drive.

If there's any compromise here, it's the 5's four-cylinder engine. Although it has enough power for day-to-day errands, acceleration is still pretty pokey, especially on hills or when fully loaded. The automatic transmission makes the best of the situation, though, as it provides timely downshifts to maximize the van's accelerative capabilities. Partly because of this responsiveness, the 5 earns lower fuel economy ratings than compact crossovers like the Honda CR-V and Mazda's own CX-5, though it still has a distinct advantage over V6-powered minivans.

Interior

The Mazda 5 is obviously smaller than what typically passes for a minivan today, but it still packs plenty of interior versatility. Comfortable second-row captain's chairs slide and recline, while the passenger-side seat features a nifty fold-out center table/storage net that can snap into place between the seats, then be stowed away later to create a walk-through to the third row.

Up front, the dash layout looks sleek, simple and modern, with the exception of an abundance of audio control buttons. But controls are easy to reach and use, which helps the 5 feel much more like a regular car from behind the wheel. The front seats provide respectable comfort, but longer-legged adults will definitely wish for more rearward seat travel.

Aided by wide sliding door openings, the Mazda 5's third row offers easier access than just about any three-row crossover. The 50/50-split-folding seats are best suited to kids, however, because of a lack of adult-suitable legroom and headroom. The second row is quite roomy by comparison. That said, this roominess is quickly eaten up if you install rear-facing car seats in the middle row, and owners will find that the front seats have to be scooted farther forward than in standard-size minivans.

Though the Mazda 5 may truly represent a "mini" van, it doesn't lack cargo volume. Folding the third-row seats down yields 44.4 cubic feet of space. Dropping the second row as well increases capacity significantly (though Mazda hasn't published a number). The only real disadvantage to the 5 compared to larger minivans is its narrower cabin, which sometimes requires you to load bulkier items like strollers at an angle.

Edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.