May 22, 2006

Dan Neil On The Mazda5: "Frisky," "Kooky Pleasure," "Upholstered Mailbox"

mazda5_minivan.jpgThe LA Times' Dan Neil has a great review of the Mazda5, a category of car which he points out is called a "space wagon" in Japan and Europe, but which is, well, it's a minivan, people. And it's a small, excellent, affordable, nice-handling, slightly slow, but overall winner of a minivan, too. So you "suburban breeders" should just get over your minivan self-hatred and accept the car as "proof positive that you have had successful and productive congress with the opposite sex. Can you say as much for a Corvette? I don't think so." And besides, how many car seats can you fit into a Corvette anyway?

Dan goes on: "Are you the wheelman of some starter family out in the exurban boonies? Do you need great gas mileage, lots of flexible cargo space and fret-free access to child safety seats? I have some bad news, Jethro. You need a minivan.

"The Mazda5 is the good news."

The better news: there's supposed to be a Grand Touring edition coming out next year, with all the tuning and body effects of the current Touring, plus heated leather seats, high-intensity headlights, and Isofix/LATCH in the [admittedly cramped] back seats, too. Can you wait?

Married with Children? []
Previous Mazda5 coverage: their pervy ad, and a swooning SAHD.


We had one of these booked through our car-share co-op the other day... my wife is sold. Now if only they'd put the 2.3 turbo from the Mazdaspeed 6 and upcoming Mazdaspeed 3 in it. (The new MPV in Japan gets that engine in lieu of a V6, I think... one can always dream!)

MY wife and I have owned a Mazda5 now for 6 months and have nothign but praise for it. Sure the engine is a bit underpowered but around town it does just fine. The amount of space inside is perfect and our son loves being able to see out the windows so well. Since we live in the city and I occasionally park the car in an undergroud garage the small size is perfect. The Mazda MPV I drove was not so easy to get out of tight spaces. The only thing I would like to see is better fueal economy as on long trips we only get about 27mpg. Sounds like a lot until I remember the Jetta wagon we used to drive got 34 or more.

The Mazda is hauling a bit more weight and has more horsepower, I assume, unless you had the high-end Jetta...

I've only driven the auto so far, but I bet the manual stick would make a big difference in perceived power on the highway... probably better mileage too.

BTW, rumor has it there are plans to put the (Ford sourced -- bleah) V6 from the Mazda6 into the 5 next year.

We had the 1.8T manual Jetta. It was fun. Living in DC, and the Mazda being my wife's car, we bought an automatic this time. As much as I prefer the manual the auto does an ok job around town. The V6 would be nice but would not help the fuel economy much. A friend has the Mazda6 and the engine in that is very nice. The Mazda5 has plenty of room in the engine bay for it, but the hood probably drops too much for a clean fit.

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