RECENTLY DRIVEN
Mazda 5 GT

 

 2012 Mazda 5 GT

Car tested 2012 Mazda 5 GT       
Body style Four-door people carrier
Engine 2.5L-4 (157 horsepower)
Transmission Five-speed automatic
Base price $24,395
Price as tested

$27,385 (includes automatic transmission and the Luxury package)

 Market fact

The second-generation Mazda 5 is marketed as a 2012 model. 

Key competitors

The 5's chief rival, the Kia Rio, will be joined by the Chevrolet Orlando in the fall of 2011 and the Ford C-Max early in 2012.


Performance
Essentially a taller, longer-wheelbase Mazda 3, the 5 drives much like you would expect it to. Its able suspension, with a firmly-resilient ride with sure-footed handling (albeit with some lean in faster corners), reacts swiftly to inputs from the light but precise steering. While bumps themselves go virtually unfelt, noise from their impact reverberates throughout the cabin. Hooked up to a responsive five-speed automatic transmission, the 5’s 2.5L four, with adequate acceleration and relaxed cruising, is remarkably smooth and quiet. Though strong, the brakes use up a lot of travel before they react and need a long, firm, push to prove their effectiveness. Very good outward vision.

The cabin is fronted by a dashboard housing large, clear gauges and simple, logical minor controls that move with great precision. Interior design, materials and assembly are all top-notch. Very comfortable seats in the first two rows. The leather seating with contrasting piping on the car tested is most attractive. The chief downfall of the new 5 is a lack of passenger space. Limited front seat travel means just adequate legroom for drivers approaching six-feet tall, and with a large, protruding glovebox, legroom is even tighter for front seat passengers. Unlike the previous 5, which treated middle-row occupants to abundant space, legroom in the middle row of the new car is just sufficient. Though a three-seat middle row is offered in other markets, it is not available in Canada, restricting utility as it is impossible to carry five passengers and a big load of luggage simultaneously. The third-row seat is a kids-only affair. Luggage space is marginal with the third seat in place, good with it folded down, and very good when the second-row seats have been folded down. The 5's audio system produces remarkable fidelity.

Dashboard

Second and third-row seats folded down

Third-row seat folded down

Cargo area with third-seat in place

Reliability
Predicted reliability is average, like the previous-generation Mazda 3 it is based on. Three year/80,000 km bumper to bumper warranty, five years/100,000 km on the powertrain.


Pricing
Spectacular value GS Convenience and GT upgrades; good value Luxury package. The Mazda 5 GS with the Convenience package is priced virtually the same as the seven-passenger Kia Rondo EX 2.4L. The Rondo, while lacking the 5’s on-road precision, is a pleasant driving car that offers considerably more cabin space.  

Safety
Seat-mounted side airbags and side-curtain airbags are standard on all models. Not crash tested. Standard ABS and ESC.

Side profile showing the 5's Nagare flowing line styling theme