2008 Mazda MAZDA5 Review – Bringing the European “space wagon” to America

Expert Reviews Mazda


Climb into the MAZDA5 and you are greeted with a sand color interior, supportive cloth seats, and an array of mostly pleasing plastic surfaces. Although there is seating for 6, the seats in the 3rd row are really only big enough for children. Cargo space is also very limited with all the seats in use. Fold down both the 2nd and 3rd row seats and you have a nicely sized cargo compartment, large enough for a bicycle or large appliance. The dual sliding side doors (unique for a car this small) make loading and unloading very easy, especially with larger objects.

Mazda MAZDA5 interior Mazda MAZDA5 cubby space Mazda MAZDA5 instrument pod at night

Dashboard ergonomics are excellent, with the various controls nicely integrated and easy to reach. The optional navigation system is well worth the added cost, with an easy to use touch-screen interface and intuitive software. Access the menu for the 6 speaker sound system and you can easily switch between radio, CDs, and satellite radio. Hit the eject button and the LCD screen swivels out of the way, revealing the loading slot for the 6-disc changer. Automatic climate control is also standard and features its own display higher on the dash, and there is even a small moonroof for late night drives under the stars. Altogether, some pretty trick stuff that should appeal to the younger, tech-savvy crowd.

Mazda MAZDA5 with fold flat seats Mazda MAZDA5 with fold flat seats Mazda MAZDA5 cargo area can fit a bike

Exterior Styling

For 2008, the exterior of the MAZDA5 was given a mild mid-year makeover, with a new front grill and redesigned taillights. Our test car’s Golden Sand metallic paint is more pastel green than sand in color and deviates substantially from Mazda’s typical use of bold, primary colors. Although the color might grow on you, we wouldn’t be surprised if most consumers opt for more traditional shades of blue or red.

With its aggressively raked windshield and chopped off rear-end, the exterior design is a revival of the shuttle shape last seen on these shores in the GM minivans of the 90’s, such as the Pontiac Transport (remember those?). In the hands of Mazda designers, the overall shape is decidedly more spunky and fun. Add multi-spoke 17” rims and aftermarket style taillights, and you have a car that could even fit in with the hip, urban crowd.

Value / Who Should Buy It

Small, practical wagons have long been big business in Europe and Asia, where the roads are narrow and the gas has always cost a fortune. In America, the MAZDA5 sits in a unique position, with no real direct competition and several key advantages over the typical small SUV or midsize wagon. With seating for 6, dual sliding doors, and spirited road manners, the MAZDA5 could be perfect for an active, young family.

With a base price around $20,000 and an as tested price of $23,725, the MAZDA5 is a good value. About the only let down is the very fuel efficiency that will drive many shoppers to consider the car. After 200 plus miles of mixed driving, we averaged around 25 mpg, not too bad for a car this practical, but not much better than some V6 powered crossovers or sedans. Still, every mpg counts and with a bit more conservative driving the Mazda5 should deliver on its promise of practical, stylish, and efficient transportation.
















>> See all of the Mazda MAZDA5 photos in our photo gallery

>>Official U.S. Site for Mazda Cars, Crossver Vehicles, SUVs and Trucks: Mazda USA

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