Make us your home page
The Daily Drivers | By Peter Couture and Lyra Solochek, Times Staff Writers

The Daily Drivers: 2012 Mazda5 Grand Touring minivan illustrates good things come in small package

Unlike the larger family haulers that rule this segment, the stylish Mazda5 seems made for urban commuting with its compact size and maneuverability. The 5 stands out by putting the "mini" in minivan.

Appearance: The redesigned 5 incorporates Mazda's "Nagare" design concept, which is most evident in the body creases that flow elegantly over the front fenders and down the side toward the rear. The "swoosh" in the sheet metal gives the 5 a testing-in-a-wind-tunnel effect. The north and south views, however, are not quite as appealing. There's the standard-issue Mazda grin of the grille in the front, and the rear appearance is a bit awkward: Low-sitting horizontal taillights seem to jut out from the body. Still, fellow parents, the 5 is a sleek vehicle whose appearance doesn't scream minivan.

Performance: The 5 has the fun-to-drive feel of its zoom-zoom siblings at Mazda. The 5 is based on the chassis of the Mazda3, which we've also enjoyed. The 5 has similar tight handling and control. Steering is responsive and precise. Our tester came with the 5-speed sport automatic transmission, which shifts smoothly, but we would have liked an extra gear. The 2.5-liter I-4 is peppy but won't overwhelm you. Neither will the estimated mpg: an adequate 21 (city) and 28 (highway).

Interior: We were pleasantly surprised with the small van's three rows of seating (leather in our tester) and six-passenger capacity, which includes second-row captain's chairs and a nicely padded, if tight-fitting, third row. The rear side doors are sliders-only, but open wide and are easy to operate for all but the smallest child. As parents, we appreciated the 5's cargo space when the third row is folded (44.4 cubic feet) and the storage bins under the second-row seats, which slide forward for rear access. There also is a handy center table between the seats that is stowable if you need a pathway to the rear. The rear cargo floor is low for easy loading, and the hatch opens high enough for head clearance but not so high that a shorter person can't reach it easily to close. The rest of the cabin is mostly simple in both design and materials, which is no doubt where expenses were trimmed. Still, we found the simple and intuitive layout of the buttons and gauges refreshing.

Our 3 favorites

Peter Couture

Driving feel: This minivan is easy to park and maneuver in city traffic.

Appearance: It reminded me of a bigger Honda Fit, which is a good thing.

Price: This family hauler starts at slightly more than $19,000.

Lyra Solochek

Rear sliding doors: 27-inch opening for easy entry and exit.

Nagare design: (Nagare means "flow" in Japanese.) Elegant lines flow from front to back.

Simplicity: It's not overwhelming with buttons and gadgetry.

The bottom line: The Mazda5 has many of the features of bigger people movers, as well as the easy handling and size of a compact car. It's a true "minivan," and worth the consideration of families — especially those with small kids.


Mazda5 Grand Touring

Price: $19,195 base, $24,720 as tested

Powertrain: 2.5-liter DOHC 16-valve VVT I-4 with 5-speed automatic, FWD

Horsepower: 157 at 6,000 rpm

Torque: 163 pound-feet at 4,000 rpm

Curb weight: 3,457 pounds


in inches:

Wheelbase, 108.3

Length, 180.5

Width, 68.9

Seats: 6

Fuel economy:

21 miles per gallon city, 28 mpg highway

Safety features: ABS with electronic brake distribution and brake assist, dynamic stability control, traction control, front and side-impact airbags, side air curtains, "triple H" body construction

Trim levels: Sport and Touring


The Daily Drivers: 2012 Mazda5 Grand Touring minivan illustrates good things come in small package 05/16/11 [Last modified: Monday, May 16, 2011 1:45pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Aramis Ayala defends stance against death penalty: 'I did what I believe was proper'

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Aramis Ayala, the elected Orlando prosecutor who refuses to seek the death penalty, defended her actions Wednesday as she faced a flurry of hostile questions from Florida Supreme Court justices.

    Orlando prosecutor Aramis Ayala, far right, said she was "very well pleased" with her lawyer's case. "I violated no laws." [STEVE BOUSQUET | Tampa Bay Times]
  2. Tampa Chamber of Commerce offers boost to black and Hispanic-owned businesses

    Economic Development

    TAMPA — There's a disconnect in Hillsborough County's minority business community.

    Gaston Meredith of Gaston's Culinary Services listens to LaKendria Robinson, Director of Minority Business Accelerator & Economic Inclusion during an information session at the Robert W. Saunders Library in Tampa on Tuesday.
[OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times]
  3. Wesley Chapel, Greater Pasco chambers of commerce merge


    LAND O'LAKES — Two chambers of commerce representing more than 850 business members from west Pasco to Wesley Chapel and New Tampa are merging into a single organization.

    Greater Wesley Chapel Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Hope Allen will lead the combined chambers of commerce announced Wednesday. The yet-to-be-named chamber will represent more than 850 businesses that currenlty are members of the Greater Pasco and Greater Wesley Chapel chambers.
[JAMES BORCHUCK   |   Times]
  4. Sign up for our new daily News at Noon email newsletter


    The Tampa Bay Times will soon launch a daily newsletter called News at Noon. You can make sure to be among the first to receive it by signing up now.

  5. Bitcoin, ransomware fraudster Anthony Murgio of Tampa sentenced to prison


    Tampa's Anthony Murgio, 33, was sentenced Tuesday to 5-1/2 years in prison for running a bitcoin exchange suspected of laundering money for a group of hackers who targeted publishing and financial firms as part of a complex securities fraud.

    Anthony Murgio of Tampa, 33, was sentenced Tuesday to 5 1/2 years in prison for running a Bitcoin exchange suspected of laundering money for a group of hackers who targeted publishing and financial firms as part of a complex securities fraud. [AP photo]