2009 Mazda5

Clamoring for a hybrid minivan? Can’t wait any longer? You might consider the Mazda5—the number one most fuel-efficient minivan on the market.

A minivan one entire car class smaller than the stereotypical Dodge Caravan, the Mazda5 is almost unique in the American market. While it competes with many similarly sized entries in Europe and Asia, in the States it stands almost alone.

Compare the Mazda5!

If you’re thinking about buying a Mazda5, you might also consider a Scion xB or a Mini Cooper Clubman. Compare these vehicles.

For urban dwellers who need the load space and families who want something smaller than the two-ton-plus behemoths offered by market leaders Chrysler, Dodge, Toyota, and Honda, the Mazda5 is an option with almost no direct competitors. The seven-seat Kia Rondo is probably closest, though it doesn’t offer sliding rear doors.

According to published road tests, the handling lives up to Mazda’s “zoom zoom” image. And with prices starting around $18,000, the Mazda5 is considerably less expensive than full-size minivans. The Mazda5 was launched as a 2006 model, incidentally, so it should be showing up as a recent used car as well.

Four Cylinders, Five Speeds

It’s not only the compact size that makes the Mazda5 stand out. Few minivans offer a five-speed manual (standard on the base Sport model), in this case paired to a 153-horsepower, 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine. No V6 option is offered. A five-speed automatic is available on the Sport and standard on the midlevel Touring and high-line Grand Touring models, though several road tests deemed that combination sluggish. As tested by Car and Driver, acceleration from 0 to 60 mph is a leisurely 9.4 seconds.

The Mazda5 is based on the underpinnings of the sporty previous-generation Mazda3 subcompact, so its handling gets high marks despite being much larger and heavier. Its front suspension uses McPherson struts, but its rear axle is suspended with more precise multiple links rather than a simple beam. Reviews call the Mazda5 surprisingly nimble for what is, after all, a large box on four wheels, and steering feel in particular was cited as excellent.

Given how hard the engine has to work to move that box around, though, the fuel economy isn’t stellar—but it’s the number one most fuel-efficient minivan on the market. The EPA rates the manual version at 22 mpg city / 28 mpg highway, with the automatic down 1 mile per gallon in each rating, at 21 mpg city / 27 mpg highway.

Space and Features for Families

Starting with a subcompact limits body width, so the Mazda5’s six seats are arranged in three pairs. The rear seats are really only for children, though, but they’re easy to reach courtesy of a one-touch folding mechanism for the sliding second row. Both pairs of rear seats can be folded flat to create a surprisingly cavernous load floor for Home Depot or discount store hauling duties.

Second-row passengers fare well owing to the stadium-style seating, which raises the second row slightly above the front seats. Taller drivers may find the front row limited in its travel, though.

As with any family vehicle, safety equipment is lavish. The Mazda5 includes front and side-curtain airbags (for all three rows) as well as anti-lock disc brakes on all four wheels, with electronic brake force distribution standard. Some testers criticized the lack of electronic stability control, however.

Standard equipment includes power windows and locks, cruise control, and a CD stereo. Surprisingly for a minivan, air conditioning is optional, as are an alarm system, Bluetooth phone system, heated mirrors, remote starting, and rain-sensing wipers.

Buyers planning long family trips can choose from a raft of electronic and infotainment options. The family navigator’s job gets easier with the DVD navigation system, back-row riders can be sedated with an overhead DVD entertainment system, and everyone including the driver can enjoy Sirius Satellite Radio.

Just for Kicks

And keep this in mind. After years of swearing off hybrids as too expensive for the mainstream market, Mazda CEO Takashi Yamanouchi last month committed to producing hybrid gas-electric cars by 2015. Can you imagine a full-hybrid Mazda5 minivan that gets mileage in the mid-30s or higher—blowing away the competition for a fuel-efficient family hauler just in time for the return of skyrocketing gas prices? Is it likely to happen? No. But it’s an intriguing possibility.


  • Great handling with wagon functionality
  • Airbags for all three rows
  • Most fuel-efficient minivan on market
  • Uncommon design seems odd to some
  • Limited horsepower
  • Third-row seats are small

Price quote for Mazda Mazda5

2009 Mazda5
Base MSRP: $18,000
Is this the vehicle for you? Want to find out what kind of deals are available? Fill out some basic details and we.ll have a dealer in your area send you a price quote to get the ball rolling.
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  • Jeddy

    Step 1
    Prius 2010 to replace my way old Civic

    Step 2 (once the Prius is paid off …)
    Hybrid MiniVan/Madzda 5, etc. when the models are out.
    Or, a hybrid Rav4 … that would be nice

  • FamilyGuy

    Doesn’t this just scream couple me with an electric motor and some batteries? Take those mid-20 MPG and get them into the 30’s, allow the family of four to take out Grandma and Grandpa out for ice cream all in one car. If this ends up replacing my Subaru Outback, the only think I’d miss is the AWD.

  • steved28

    Add a 40-50HP electric motor to this puppy (and the added torque, most likely 200+) and you have better mileage AND get rid of the “sluggishness” . I don’t see much made of the added performance of a hybrid, especially when people are trying to justify the added price. I would put my 2.5L Altima hybrid up against many a 6cyl, and I believe they would be unpleasantly surprised.

  • Dom

    “It’s not only the compact size that makes the Mazda5 stand out. Few minivans offer a five-speed manual…”
    That is SOOOO awesome! If I needed a minivan this would be my first choice for that reason alone.
    This is about the same size as the minivan my cousin in France owns. Of course her’s has a diesel engine… which would also be really sweet to be able to get in this Mazda5.

  • Stellis

    This is anecdotal to be sure, but I just hauled myself and 5 old college buddies from Dallas to KC for a long weekend in my 2006 V-6 Sienna minivan.

    That’s 6 full-grown guys (not skinny guys, either, but good old red-blooded Sluggos) and a bag or two each, hauling up the interstate at between 70 and 80 mph with the a/c blowing. Our average mpg was 24.8 without even trying.

    My point? I’m not that blown away by a 4-cyl that gets 27-auto/28-manual and doesn’t really fit 6 adults. Come on minivan makers, step it up a notch.

  • qqRockyBeans

    The 5 is AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    it’s NOT the only small minivan available in the US

    The Kia Rondo is also available, and it’s cheaper, but it is automatic-only

    I’d LOVE a 4-cylinder, 5-speed minivan
    Chrysler used to offer this in their 1993 Dodge Caravan
    EPA 2008 mileage
    18 city
    28 highway

    WHY DID THEY DROP THE 4-cylinder 5-speed CAravan?

  • risang

    I like this model…
    great technology and feature…

  • Andrew Graceffa

    We’ve owned a Mazda 5 for a year now and I wouldn’t trade it for any other car/minivan around. The Kia Rondo (which we test drove) is the “closest” but the interior is junk and when the third row is up, you have no additional storage space. The 5 gives our family of 5 incredible versatility and it is much better driving than any other van out there, even with its little 4-cylinder engine. Other minivans feel like your driving a lumbering box, this actually feels like your driving a car.

  • Leo Chen

    I’m looking for a new car now that our family has grown. Though I love my Civic 01, a car seats and a booster “forces” me to leave my mother-in-law at home since there is no way she can fit in the car when we go out.

    If Mazda had a hybrid version, I would have bought one already. Since there is no such a thing, I’m waiting until the summer to see if Honda is really bringing the Stream to compete with the 5. There are rumors of a Rav4 Hybrid too. This will be an interesting year.

  • fred smilek

    I really like this model, looks like it has great features and technology as well.

  • cliff


    This care is NOT a minivan. It is a 4-door hatchback.

    Actually a 4-door hatchback, a minivan, an SUV and a large van are all the same type of vehicle, just in different sizes.

    I own a 2-door hatchback, and have been wanting a 4-door for quite a while, but, in the US, it is about impossible to get one, for whatever reason-STUPIDITY???

    I was in Europe two summers ago, and saw about 35 models of 4-door hatchbacks, that all looked pretty good.

    This car would be PERFECT for me, if it just got at least 85 mpg. That is my cutoff for a new car. My car is a ’93, and gets about 35 mpg. My wife has a giant Avalon (’00) that gets about 25. They both look good and run great, and there is nothing out there now that is a lot better.

    85 mpg is a new car for me…until then, we will wait, and keep our old cars.

    (Supposed to be in Green Bay, but got laid off from my US company-auto related-and took a job overseas, without my family.)

  • Ray-ray

    I dont care how ugly it looks, Its about time the US gets a car that gets better MPGs than the Model-T Ford. (28MPG) The first hybrid electric car was built in 1901 by Porsche. My 84 Mercedes diesel has a kit i bought online to get 220 MPG. I converted it to run on free waste veg oil, myself. Its a lot of work and its getting old. We need a car that will change everything and we need it now. Progressive X-Prize please save us all. Thanks you.

  • Anders

    acceleration from 0 to 60 mph is a leisurely 9.4 seconds.
    i would say that fast, even faster then my Toyota celica.

  • Anders

    This car would be PERFECT for me, if it just got at least 85 mpg. That is my cutoff for a new car. My car is a ’93, and gets about 35 mpg. My wife has a giant Avalon (’00) that gets about 25. They both look good and run great, and there is nothing out there now that is a lot better.

  • Runbay

    Well , I will wait for times when they will become cheaper

  • Von Mitchell

    Hi. I also have a family of five. thinking about buying a Mazda5 after Christmass. Just wanted to know if you still love yours. Also if you have any warning for me upfront?

  • FTN

    We’ve had our 2006 Mazda5 since May2006 – best vehicle we’ve every owned!! My first trip from NC to PA I averaged almost 36 MPG. I regularly drive to Washington, DC – 140 miles – alway average 30mpg or better. We’ve had 2 adults, 3 kids, a dog and all our stuff for a week at the Jersey shore in this car!! The few things not available in 2006 that I would want have been corrected on later models – 2nd row seat outside arm rests, read seat heat/air, 5sp auto. If it was AWD with a diesel engine it would be PERFECT!. We now have 66,000 miles on it. Will look to replace it when the next gen version comes out which looks like it will be 2012 and based on the Mazda/Ford C-platform on which the Mazda3, Focus, C-Max and Grand C-max will ride. Looks good, handles great, 25+mpg all the time(trips are 30+), holds 6(I’m 6ft tall and can sit comfortably in the 3rd row!). You can’t go wrong buying this car!!

  • FamilyGuy

    Here in the United States, I can only get the manual 6 speed (2012 model) in the base model. I have to choose between fun to drive stick or happy Wife with her heated seats.

    Meanwhile, north of the border, you can get both! You can get heated seats AND the manual 6 speed.

    I wonder how that works, buy a vehicle in Canada and register it here in the United States.

  • Vinay

    This is nice car and even my opinion this is best for family,thanks for sharing your knowledge with us.

    Keep up your good work..!
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  • Madan

    very nice.

  • bob jenson

    We had a Mazda5 and got rid of it. Actually liked the car but everyone is kidding you if you want to believe it is roomy. Front seat leg area is tight for 6 foot tall guys and the seats make the ‘rear end’ fall asleep on long trips. The third row is fine for small children, but they can’t see out due to the high sides. The design is typical of all new cars, the designers make you sit straight up in the seating, the cars are narrower and taller all to make you think the car has a large interior. We traded up to an Honda oddessey- gas mileage is decent on the highway – worth the $30 gas cost increase for the 700 mile trip to the beach and the extra 5 dollars a week in gas to be comfotable all the time.

  • Transmitters

    Thank you for your analysis and sharing, from your article I learned more.

  • Bollywood latest news

    It’s actually a great and useful piece of information. I’m happy that you just shared this helpful info with us. Thanks for the share.

  • tapra1

    The seven-seat Kia Rondo is probably closest, though it doesn’t offer sliding rear doors.VPS Hosting Reviews

  • austin martial arts

    This is a great little van, seems very green as well, I like, may have to look into it sometime.

  • schaumburg locksmith

    Cool little minivan, definitely like the fact that it’s a hybrid, helping the environment is a great thing in my opinion. I also like the color too!

  • jason

    This is a good article, I’ve been wondering about hybrid minivans. I had a Mazda minivan a while back, maybe I’ll have to check this out.

  • Consumer

    What if I wanted to haul things from my local hardware store? Can the vehicle do that, too, or will it only haul things from Home Depot, as you state in the article? Why advertise for a crappy store like Home Depot? Support your local economy: buy local.

  • Austin fence

    Great looking car, especially compared to some other hybrids I’ve seen, I don’t understand why companies can’t make them look sporty instead of like a station wagon or something

  • latino magazine

    Great looking car, I must have!

  • Tammy Jones

    Terrific! I think tinkering with perfection is a no-no. Keep up the gas efficient text and travels.

  • Yousaf LaRue

    Thanks for taking the time out to share this with the readers. I really appreciate the info you showed there. Keep doing what you’re doing.
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