By on March 3, 2010

The Mazda5 has long been an under-considered little MPV, competing in a niche that only the aging Kia Rondo dare set foot in. Mazda’s solution to weak sales: overwrought, tacked-on styling flair. But let’s face it: until a major brand brings competition into the compact MPV segment (which will likely first occur when Ford brings its C-Max stateside), the Mazda5 will continue to wander the deserts of weak consideration.

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26 Comments on “Geneva Gallery: 2012 Mazda5...”


  • avatar
    italianstallion

    Isn’t the Mazda5 even longer in the tooth than the “aging Kia Rondo”?

    This Mazda5 is a styling disaster. Much, much better in its first iteration. Note to Mazda: the design of the tail lights were not the problem.

    Actual problems with the Mazda5 in the US market: the craptastic interior, and the manual transmission is now only available on the stripper model. It would be nicer too if the second row sat 3 across (like the Rondo).

  • avatar
    Richard Chen

    The 2011 Mazda5 retains the Karakuri (7th seat) mechanism, but did Mazda revise it to comply with NHTSA standards? If not, the Mazda5 will remain a 6 seater, which as an owner I would say is its biggest flaw. Would have been nice to be able to fit the whole family in a pinch without having to resort to using the 3rd row. The [Grand] C-Max has a different 7th seat design which lifts out and tucks beneath an adjoining seat.

    As for middling powertrain, would guess the 2.5L becomes standard for NA unless the Sky-G lineup is ready.

    Styling? The smile & waves don’t bother me. I’m a minivan driver for the utility, not looks.

  • avatar
    slavuta

    Exterior is getting worse with every release.

  • avatar
    RetardedSparks

    This horrid redesign will not help, especially against the Cmax. I like the 5, but Mazda has failed to capitalize on the fact that it doesn’t appeal to the masses, but is rather a niche vehicle. There is only a small slice of the minivan-buying public who appreciate that smaller is better. They want things that standard minivans can’t provide – sportier performance and better mileage. But the 5 is a bit underpowered and has the lousy mileage that plagues Mazda’s 2.5L 4.
    If they want it stand out in the market, give it the European turbo diesel. More torque and fantastic mileage would appeal to the niche that buys this thing.

  • avatar

    I actually like the redesign, save the rear end which now looks droopy.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      I would agree; the rear is the only real failure in this design.

      I’d like to know if it allows more rearward travel for front-seat occupants. Most taller folk skipped this car for that reason alone.

  • avatar
    cdotson

    The lack of the 7th seat is why they’re disappointed in sales. I find it interesting the European press claimed they’re “keeping” the 7th seat as I didn’t know it had one over there previously. I hope it comes stateside, but I hope Mazda won’t misinterpret the sales that a 7th seat will bring as being in any way an endorsement of their Na-Garish styling of late.

    My wife won’t look at a vehicle that doesn’t have 3 rows of seating and 3 seats in the 2nd row.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      If you’re really thinking about a three-abreast row, this vehicle will not work for anyone save the very small. I’ve seen the third seat and it’s best described as “notional” and even the Rondo, which does have a three-abreast second row is still very cramped.

      If that feature is important to you, you’re into Sienna/Oddy/Caravan territory.

    • 0 avatar
      cdotson

      The center middle seat in the Odyssey is also “notional,” but our use is for two-2 year olds and a 5 year old. As long as two forward-facing seats and a booster can cram in there it’s good enough. I have a feeling this would work as for a time we had this setup in the 3rd row of our current (pre-8th seat) Odyssey.

      The alternate configuration (the pinch requiring 7 seats) would be the two forward-facing seats in the rear with two adults and the booster in the 2nd row.

      Last I checked you still couldn’t get a Caravan with 3 seats in the second row. Pity, as if they had this feature and stow-n-go there’d be one in our driveway. We inherited the Ody in January 2007 with the plan that we’ll drive it until we find a suitable replacement to trade it in on. We’re still looking for something we like, and I personally find the 99-04 gen Oddities appallingly uncomfortable, they’re just practical. New or late-model Honda and Toyota vans seem ridiculously expensive for a minivan. Minivans are meant to be trashed by the toddler set.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      I’m not sure I follow: are looking for transport for eight on a regular basis? Could you do three child-seats in the rearmost row and two adults in the second, or does your van not allow for three seats in the third row?

      If you want to do this comfortably I can only suggest the Sprinter.

    • 0 avatar
      KalapanaBlack

      I’ve been in several base ’08-09 Chrysler vans with the 3-person second-row bench. It might be a fleet special or a rarely ordered basic configuration, but it is (or was) available. Only have seen it in Caravan SE/Town & Country LX wheelcover specials, and it’s a two-pieces-of-plywood-at-90-degrees affair set to the driver’s side with a passageway along the passenger side (think Ford Econoline 12-pass minus the last row), so it wouldn’t be very comfortable or glamorous. Just saying that I know Chrysler manufactures this configuration.

  • avatar
    mtymsi

    Apparently Mazda has decided to go hog wild with the fugliest front end I have ever seen on a vehicle. What a joke.

  • avatar
    mjz

    What’s nice is it comes right from the factory with PRE-DENTED driver and passenger doors.

  • avatar
    Kyle Schellenberg

    Keep in mind that a Mazda5 is just a retooled Mazda3, so the implementation of the front end shouldn’t come as a surprise. We all called Audi fools when they went out on a limb, but I suspect that Mazda won’t be as lucky.

    From the rear 3/4 I’d say it looks not bad. I think it’s brilliant how they obscured half the sliding track in the rear tail light, but looking at it straight on from the back I’d agree it looks dowdy. The straight bumper line is working against drop-v lines and the tail lights are too big.

  • avatar
    Ed S.

    The scale of the Mazda5 means this is likely to be the best application of the smile grill. See the 5th picture for an example of how well the grill fits with the scale of the vehicle. The side body creases are also likely to be less prevalent under normal lighting conditions than in the dramatic car show lighting depicted here.

    I agree that the interior will be a major make-or-break design element but given the strides made in the Mazda3 I am hopeful hat the dash will fit significantly better in this Mazda5.

    When talking reliability, utility, styling and economy this Mazda5 will be a compelling offer.

    PS: Why would you want to sit 7 people in this thing? Does everyone buy cars based on 99th percentile usage scenarios? For example, once per year I would find it convenient to have 7 people in one car. Does that mean I NEED a car with 7 seats? And how did all the people end-up at the location where I can drive them in my car? Did they not drive themselves? For people with kids the answer is to buy real minivan. For people without kids, adults are not going to stand for being crushed into the back of this thing no matter how many seats you have.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    I don’t understand how Mazda just didn’t clean up some stuff from v.1 of this car. I 2nd the idea of the turbo diesel as an option and providing even more killer gas mileage and torque in this unique vehicle.

    That is the droopiest butt I’ve seen in a long time.

  • avatar
    hriehl1

    I just don’t get it when people debate the styling of minivans.

    How do you all like the latest Econoline’s styling?

    PS: I’d have bought one of these last month if Mazda could have seen their way to spec even 1250 pounds of tow capacity. Got a Forester instead.

  • avatar
    Uncle Mellow

    Shame they went so OTT on the facelift , but this is still the best in its class – superior to the C-Max and obviously better than anything from Renault. (though the Citroen C4 Picasso is the best looking MPV I have seen).

  • avatar
    sfdennis1

    Seriously, those ‘waves’ in the middle of the passenger and sliding doors are a joke, right? I mean, the evil clown grin I can live with, the droopy rear is no worse to me than than the Mercedes G-class minivan…but add in the waves and it’s all too much.

    I’m a Mazda fan, and a Miata owner, but am sick and tired of all the eyeball-searing assaults directed at me while driving lately… hope the Acura TL, Mazda 5, The Honda Crosstour, the Juke, and every other atrocity lose millions for their respective manufacturers…NO BAILOUTS FOR THESE MONSTOSITIES…enough is enough…it’s like friggin 1958-59 again, auto design has gone off the deep end…these abominations MAY look cool 40 years from now, like some 58-59′s do now, but right now it’s all too much to take.

    Ford gets props (Lincoln MKT excepted) for overall attractive styling/design..hell, even GM is releasing beauties compared to this crap…here’s hoping they survive.

    • 0 avatar
      Martin Schwoerer

      “Evil clown grin”, “it’s like friggin 1958-59 again”: lol!

      With your permission, I’d like to use those phrases in one of my next pieces — they’re too good to waste!

  • avatar
    shaker

    Mazda needs to upgrade their drivetrains and stop re-skinning smiley faces onto cars that were great, but are facing mechanical obsolescence.


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