By on August 28, 2014

Mazda5 front quarter 2There are two ways of understanding why it was Mazda USA decided to extinguish the Mazda 5 from their lineup beginning with the 2015 model year. First, we could look at the root causes. Then we could check out the symptoms.

The root causes are numerous, but it’s worth keeping in mind that for thousands of buyers, the reasons many would point to as cause for ignoring the 5 been overmatched by reasons to purchase a 5.

Compared with conventional minivans, it’s obviously small, but that’s exactly why many people have turned to the Mazda: it’s not a maxi-van. Fortunately, it doesn’t drive like one either, and it’s even available with a manual transmission. Yet it is far closer to being underpowered than it is to being overpowered. Compared with discounted Grand Caravans, it’s not necessarily more affordable for a growing family who simply needs more seating capacity. Speaking of which, it only seats six in North America, not seven or eight.

From the beginning of its tenure, the reasons many buyers would have for veering away from the Mazda 5 have combined to create sales figures which suggested the 5 wouldn’t remain in America for long. As Derek mentioned on Monday, only 22,021 were sold in the 5’s best year, 2008. Its share in the minivan market that year? 3.4%.

Kia sold 28,645 Rondos in 2008, and the Rondo was basically gone from the U.S. market in 2010, with 47 lingering sales to collect in calendar year 2011.

Mazda’s share of the minivan market rose to 4.1% in 2009 as the segment plunged 30% and 5 sales dropped by just 16%. In 2010, 5 volume slid 15% year-over-year as the top four big vans (Town & Country, Odyssey, Grand Caravan, and Sienna) surged forward at a combined 17% clip.

Mazda’s share of the category slid to 3.3%. 2011 saw Mazda 5 sales jump 22% to 19,155 units, its second-best year on record. The 5’s slice of the minivan pie climbed to 3.9%.

5 sales then plunged 24% to just 14,640 units in 2012, as Mazda claimed just 2.6% of the segment. Last year, a 5% decrease in 5 sales (and a 4% decrease in total minivan sales) meant 5 sales slid to 13,884 units, but its market share basically stayed level.

Mazda 5 U.S. sales chartThrough the first seven months of 2014, Mazda 5 sales are down 13% to 8762 units, and it has once again claimed 2.6% of the minivan segment.

Volume-wise, the 5 has not been a hugely important piece of the Mazda puzzle in the United States, accounting for slightly less than one out of every 20 Mazda sales. Mazda USA has sold nearly seven CX-5s for every 5 sold during the last seven months. The 5 generated 8.3% of Mazda’s volume in 2008.

The MPV, on the other hand, averaged nearly 30,000 sales even toward the end of its reign between 2002 and 2004. Another 17,634 were sold in 2005 and 11,600 in 2006, years in which Mazda sold 4761 and 17,109 5s, respectively. 13.3% of the Mazdas sold in America in 2002 were MPVs.

The 5 clearly wasn’t a direct replacement for the already-small MPV when it landed in the United States nine years ago. It has grown old during a period in which many expected Americans would be turned off by larger gas guzzlers and the anticipation of high fuel prices. By and large, however, fuel prices have not intimidated new car buyers, and buyers have turned to increasingly efficient crossovers in large numbers.

Moreover, the 5 is now a sliding-doors front-wheel-driver with EPA ratings of 22 mpg city and 28 mpg highway. That’s a problem, as it’s competing with utility vehicles like the all-wheel-drive Nissan Rogue (rated at 25/32) and Mazda’s own all-wheel-drive CX-5, which is rated at 24/30 in its least efficient format.

Had the 5 panned out, a feat which would have required more significant design updates and improved efficiency, we would now be praising Mazda for thinking outside the box. Instead, Mazda didn’t hit the nail on the head, something we could say about the brand overall, too, at least when it comes to their sales performance in the United States.

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59 Comments on “The Mazda 5 Is Dead: Here’s Why...”

  • avatar
    Nick 2012

    I looked so hard at one of these when we were shopping for a family car, but the Pentastar vans make so much more sense when looking at all factors. Fuel economy is almost the same, pricing is similar, and ChryCo gives you a lot more usable space, comfort, and power for almost no penalty. We live in a spread-out Midwest town. The smaller exterior dimensions of the 5 didn’t matter because parking is easy everywhere.

    With the relatively dismal fuel economy (an Odyssey matches its highway MPG) the writing was on the wall a long time ago.

    These make sense for retirees with grankids who don’t drive much and urbanites confident and practical enough to have this be their ‘only’ car. That’s not a mass-market.

    • 0 avatar

      The problem for me is size.
      I don’t want to put my family into a vehicle that is lighter and smaller and costs the same as the larger minivans. The Chrysler, Honda and Toyota sit higher and are safer. You take a look at how much car there is between your child and the rear bumper of a Mazda 5 and you will not put them into that seat.

      What people without kids are unwilling to admit until they have kids, is that if you had to choose between a standard size minivan or something like the Rondo or the 5 – you will be going with the larger vehicle. The only people I know with those Mazdas are people with no kids, one child or empty nesters. I live in a world of children filling our neighborhood and we drive large vehicles because our most precious assets are riding in them.

      And you can’t fault us either. We live in a time when our governments are forcing us to consider our child’s safety every time we pull out of the driveway. A world that forces parents to be worried about their kid’s riding safety is going to continue to be concerned about the actual vehicle as well.

    • 0 avatar

      “With the relatively dismal fuel economy (an Odyssey matches its highway MPG) the writing was on the wall a long time ago.”

      Only in controlled tests. Not in the real world

      In the real world, a Mazda 5 gets 24-27mpg.

      And in the real world, the big Honda van only gets 16-22mpg.

      And I’m basing that on the real-world reported ratings on

  • avatar

    I’d venture to say that the mpg is the biggest argument against the M5. Full size vans are getting the same or are so close as to make the difference irrelevant. At that point it hardly seems worth buying. Come up with a hybrid version that is similar in price and I bet they’d have a winner.

    I guess it’s the same thought process that killed the compact pickup truck (for most people). Why spend nearly the same amount of money to get a smaller vehicle that gets maybe 2 mpg better fuel economy.

  • avatar

    $25K question. What’s gained in buying this over a CX-5 or any other compact CUV?

    • 0 avatar
      Nick 2012

      You do get a lot more interior room plus seating for 7 in a pinch, but give up better fuel economy and style (if that matters).

      • 0 avatar

        You don’t get much better interior room, though. The seats are fixed and fold down. It’s actually a lot less roomy than you’d think.

        • 0 avatar

          That’s what killed it for me. I was counting on either being able to remove the middle seats or stow-n-go, and then stow-n-go the rear. I needed a flat floor for occasional camping.

    • 0 avatar

      Seating for six. Sliding doors.

    • 0 avatar

      *Much* better accessibility to the center row, plus standard captain’s chairs there.

      As for the 5 being less roomy than they look, I’d strongly disagree. I helped a friend who owned a 5 pack her apartment to move. Her family came over with a Lexus RX to help because, well, the 5 is so small. They were jaw-droppingly stunned to see how much stuff fit into the 5.

      One more thing – the 5 is a great sleeper car. No one expects a minivan like that to handle like a Mazda 3. Mazda, in an arguably inappropriate move, put Toyo Proxes tires on the 5 for several years. Great tires for handling, not so great for NVH and wear.

      Final comment – in discussing the demise of the 5, there seems to be little mention of the bizarre Nagare side styling (and the weird almost retro-Japanese in a not-good way rear end). Those wave creases on the side definitely fall into the “WTF?” category. Even as a 5 fan who considered buying a new 5, my first thought after staring at it on the lot was whether I could find a previous gen in good condition.

      R.I.P., 5.

      • 0 avatar

        I convinced my wife to look at the 5. We test drove a couple and I was solidly impressed with the ride/handling and the power did not seem at all deficient with just 2/3 adults and 2 kids.

        But it was a vehicle that could carry people OR cargo. With both rear seats folded down we could not fit our double (wide, not long) stroller in. It wouldn’t even fit through the hatch, so we’d have to fold down the 2nd row and load it through the sliding doors. With all 6 seats up you couldn’t put a golf umbrella behind the 3rd row (they’re too long to go sideways and don’t fit between the seatback and hatch door). With one rear seat down an umbrella stroller is too long to fit either transverse or longitudinally. We bought a 4-yr old Odyssey EX with a DVD player thrown in for slightly less than a base Mazda5 and wound up with 8-passenger seating and the room we really needed.

        With the 3rd row down you have less space than behind the seats in a CX5 and less seating than a CX5. Granted if you folded all 5 seats down (the front passenger folded forward IIRC) you had much more room than a CX5 with the rear seats folded, but then all the 5 would be is a cargo van with a ton of insulation raising the load floor. The 5 would make more sense if you strip the interior and position it against the Transit Connect.

        And then the styling. Na-Garish. ‘Nuff said.

        • 0 avatar

          Horse Hockey! Our double stroller fit fine behind the upright third row. We loaded it with the tires up, so they were basically on top of the seat rest, but didn’t have to slam the gate or anything. And we took the 5 to BRU to make sure it fit. If you had a stroller first, I could see the problem.

          I suppose it’s all moot now that the 5 is dead. But it was always underrated. And underpowered – at altitude, at least.

    • 0 avatar

      I remember dad bringing home a new ’94 MPV. That was quite revolutionary back then, being the only van without a sliding door. My dad thought it would be only a matter of time before his 2 boys hurt somebody or themselves with a sliding door (and he’d probably be right too).

      The interior quality of that vehicle was far more superb than the ChryCo competition at the time. And the only other notable competitive import was the Previa, which was stratospherically priced at the time.

    • 0 avatar

      Nothing really. The Mazda5 layout made it suitable only for a 4 member family and their gear. Any pretensions at 7 seat capacity was simply blue-sky marketing.

      Add to this that the CX-5 looks better, is safer, is more economical and lacks the minivan stigma, I am surprised the Mazda5 didn’t die sooner.

  • avatar

    It’s pretty simple really, you get a lot more for a similar price in other minivans on the market. Better value usually translates to more sales.

  • avatar

    It’s not so much the fuel economy, but the fuel economy and content versus the price. Minivan buyers are very no-nonsense, and it’s very hard to justify the 5 against a Grand Caravan that offers more actual capability at the same or lower price “out the door”.

    The 5 didn’t have particularly versatile seatings: the seatback folded flat, like a crossover or SUV, rather than into the floor (or out completely) like a modern minivan. It’s the same issue the Quest has, only worse because it’s even smaller. Take one look at the cavern behind the rear seats in a Sienna, Oddy or Caravan. Then, do a quick flip and fold of the seats and bear witness to the space available. Note: you could do this in the old MPV, too.

    Then try and cram a stroller into the back of a Mazda5. See the problem?

    Next, drive the Sienna/Oddy/GC around town. Then drive the 5: the latter is noisier and pretty slow, albeit more fun to drive.

    Next, try and sign the papers. The Honda or Toyota dealer are not going to budge much, but you can get a Grand Caravan with air and auto for about what a Mazda dealer would sell you a stick-shift-equipped model without air conditioning. Ouch.

    At that point, if you _still_ want the 5, you’re basically comparing to a bunch of crossovers. You really, really had to want the 5.

    My personal issue with it was that the driver’s seat needed a few more inches of track travel; I sat far too close to work the pedals. I also couldn’t justify the lack of space. Now, I currently have a GM U-Body (an awful vehicle) which has similar issues, but at least in GM’s vans I could remove the seats and can work the pedals.

    The 5 has the Ford Ranger problem: like compact pickup trucks, it’s an answer to a question not enough people ask, and it makes too many compromises in the process.

    It might have stood a chance if Mazda could have either made the seats removable, given it more compelling mileage and/or cut the price versus the Grand Caravan.

    • 0 avatar

      Psar wrote “Next, try and sign the papers. The Honda or Toyota dealer are not going to budge much, but you can get a Grand Caravan with air and auto for about what a Mazda dealer would sell you a stick-shift-equipped model without air conditioning. Ouch.”

      This isnt true. Bought a 2014 Odyssey EX in Feb 2014. Sticker was $32,955. WIth a few emails back and forth to dealer, I got one for 28,900. 4K off sticker. I did quite a bit of research at edumnds forums etc, and while my deal was good, everyone seemed to be getting at least 3K off on Odysseys.

      An EX for 28.9K is a hell of lot of family toting, road trip taking value. Its quiet, spacious as hell, plenty of power, has the great Lane Watch camera on the driver side (my wife chose over Sienna for this feature). Also aces the crash tests , including the small overlap frontal from IIHS. Gets in the low 20 mpg if you mix in any freeway at all.

      Basically better than a Mazda 5 in almost every way. Only material advantage for a Mazda 5 is smaller size for parking, better handling and I assume better real world city gas mileage (4400lbs of Ody uses gas in the city).

      I would guess those factors dont matter much to suburban parents who buy vans. Ergo, a mini mini-van isnt going to sell. Hell, I wish our Ody was 3-4 inches longer. Could use more second row leg room.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    The 5 had the distinction of being one of the few cars I have seen where with ever redesign I found it equally more unattractive. The first 5 was a great looking car. It would be the one I would get today. Then they had the refresh, and I didn’t care for the tail lights. And the current version looks much cheaper outside – and I can’t get passed the swoosh on the side.
    Mazda really missed a chance with this to make it an underground hit. Put a more powerful engine in it for a limited run and it would have been all over sites like this and in the car rags. Mazdaspeed5 would have been awesome.

    • 0 avatar

      I’m right with you on the design upgrades. If they had skipped Nagare and offered the Speed drivetrain, that would have been a sweet package. The manual was enticing, and I liked the size.

  • avatar

    The biggest advantage of the 5 is the smaller size vs Caravan, Odyssey, etc.

    The biggest disadvantage of the 5 is the smaller size vs. Caravan, Odyssey, etc.

    Most buyers of minivans live in suburban or ex-urban areas, where having a narrower car or one that’s easier to parallel park isn’t a huge advantage.

    • 0 avatar

      This. Almost everyone acknowledged the big disadvantage in this country was the size vs. mpg of the alternatives (full-size mini-vans). In more urban environments and/or older cities, that size was a selling point. Or, if you’re like us mythical enthusiasts that purchase the same way we post, you buy the most nimble of the acceptable alternatives.

  • avatar

    Mazda never gave the 5 its Sky-Active technology. I wonder if that would have made a difference.

    • 0 avatar

      I’m sure it would have made some difference to especially fuel economy conscious customers and marginally increased sales. For the core of the people-mover market, the 5 just doesn’t offer enough at it’s price point versus the competition to take a significant share.

    • 0 avatar

      They made one for the Malaysia market, with a 2.0

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    First lets remember that we are talking about the North American market which is itself a niche market and one of diminishing importance.

    The Asian, European, South America and even African markets are increasing in importance and have much different tastes than we do in N.A. Their autos will eventually become the norm, not ours. For example Suzuki has no presence in N.A. but is still a strong world wide competitor. Another example is the virtual extinction of body on frame cars, a staple for decades in N.A.

    Even in N.A. we are becoming an increasingly urban society. Who needs a full size vehicle in New York, L.A., Chicago, Atlanta, Toronto, Vancouver or Montreal? In many of these cities car sharing services are becoming popular. Parking is nearly impossible to find. They and the younger generations are becoming Europeanized. The suburban and/or rural market environment is decreasing and in fact becoming slightly marginalized (politically, socially and economically).

    From a North American consumer’s viewpoint, we drove mini-vans for just over 20 years. 4 Dodge Caravans, 4 Pontiac Montanas/SV6’s, in that time frame.

    The Dodges with the exception of 1 (base model, 3 speed tranny) all had dependability and/or build quality issues. The GM’s were by and large better vehicles. Tried a Ford Windstar for a 2 week trip and absolutely loathed it, so buying 1 was out of the question.

    However GM no longer sells mini vans. Dodge only sells the ‘grand’ long wheelbase model. And they will be discontinuing the Caravan and selling only T & C’s meaning more content (most of which we don’t want) and increasing the price.

    The increased size of the North American mini vans were a disadvantage in our viewpoint. The Mazda 5 and its sector partners are about the size of the original ‘Magic Van’. The long wheel base version is too big for our needs.

    We tried the alternatives and ended up with a Kia Rondo. Everyone in the family loves driving it. Great sight lines, high headroom, lots of usable space and very easy to drive and live with. Handles 95% of our daily needs with aplomb.

    However since buying it, I have spent nearly $1,000 every year renting mini-vans to move kids back and forth (and bring home some furniture).

    So for our next purchase, I would prefer returning to a mini van. But what are our options? The Chrysler may be too big and too expensive. The Honda and Toyota vans are already over my ‘spending limit’.

    What I would like to see, is a return to the first North American version of the Honda Odyssey. Limousine style space for 4. Acceptable space for 6. Lots of capacity with only 2. And capable of cruising while powered by a 4 cylinder engine.

    • 0 avatar

      I’ve been rolling around the PRC in series of Siennas and Buick minivans (not sure what it’s called, I didn’t realize GM still made minivans, anywhere (edit: it’s the GL8, a joint-venture vehicle (damn my fact-checking compulsion))) the past two weeks. Speaking of foreign tastes, I realize the Mazda5 is unique in America in a way that’s it’s not in Asia. I’ve seen a few 5’s since I’ve been here. More interestingly, I see a Honda minivan that’s about the same size as the 5. Sort of long and narrow (and not an Odyssey, though they have those here too).

      My coworker and I were talking about the decreasing presence of minivans in our market, when our translator chimed in that our Sienna was not a “mini” van in China. It is a full-size van costing six figures, in American dollars. Vehicles like the 5 are real minivans in the view of people here.

    • 0 avatar

      I think Kia is returning to minivans. Probably not much less money than the Sienna/Oddy, though, when it’s first released. By year end, though, they might be a good deal.

    • 0 avatar

      “First let’s remember that we are talking about the North American market which is itself a niche market and one of diminishing importance.”

      Niche market? You do realize that the three major countries of North America, with their similar tastes in vehicles and spending habits, make up an entire continent and half a billion people, right?

      An area that big would only be a niche market if we had practical space travel and a dozen or so heavily-populated colony worlds.

      Also, not everyone on the continent lives in NYC, Chicago, Atlanta and Toronto. Those places are islands of European- or East Asian-style living in a vast, mostly-empty land where gas is cheap and roads are wide and straight.

      The map doesn’t look like Judge Dredd yet.

      • 0 avatar

        Mexicos car market looks a lot more like Europe than it does America. Canada is kind of split. The West is nearly as American as America, but the East favors MUCH smaller and cheaper cars.

        Ultimately, the United States IS a niche market when it comes to big cars and trucks. You can sell world-market vehicles here, but our indigenous vehicles do not really find markets in most of the rest of the world.

    • 0 avatar

      The US is one-fifth of the global new car market. Definitely not a niche.

      • 0 avatar

        And of that one-fifth (which is dropping by the year), how many are now vehicles that are world market vehicles? The types of vehicles that are uniquely “American” are certainly a niche, and other than full-size pickups, a rapidly dying one.

        America no longer drives the world auto market, not even close.

    • 0 avatar
      George B

      Arthur, you are incorrect regarding North America becoming increasingly urban. Population growth has largely occurred in automobile-friendly suburbs.

      The urban cores of cities have definitely gentrified and become more popular, but they’re now largely child-free playgrounds for adults. There are also new urbanism developments that mimic the mixed housing, retail, and entertainment of urban areas, but with parking garages for cars. People living there drive to work somewhere else. The people who have children and buy minivans also tend to buy a house with a fenced yard and a good school district.

      • 0 avatar
        Arthur Dailey

        Check out the City of Toronto, 4th largest in North America. Sprouting condos throughout the downtown core. Massive influx of young people. City population growing faster than that of the suburbs. Many condos being built without any parking. If you need parking it can cost up to $40k for one spot.

        Bylaws in some communities being changed to allow for narrower roads and wider sidewalks, and designated bicycle lanes.

        And this is not unique. Many urban centres/cities going the same way.

        The days of large suburban lots and having to drive somewhere to get your jug/bag of milk are fading New urbanism is the driving force in town planning.

        For those saying that the American market is ‘not’ a niche, just compare it to what it was a decade or more ago, in comparison to the other markets.

        Cars designed for North America rarely sell well elsewhere. Globalization will inevitably result in ‘world spec’ cars becoming the norm, even here.

        • 0 avatar

          The US is the second largest car market in the world and comprises one-fifth of the entire world market.

          As a matter of simple math, that is absolutely not a niche. You should use the appropriate terminology.

          It certainly is true that automakers are attempting to reduce the regional segmentation of their product lines. But that is a result of a global market driving a desire for efficiencies (reducing the variations in products as much as possible), not an indication that the US market doesn’t drive a lot of product decisions.

          The US is also a high-volume, relatively low margin market, which encourages homogenization. American vehicle prices are so low that many niches are financial losers in this market; we won’t pay prices that are high enough to support them.

          Automakers can’t afford to ignore the tastes of one-fifth of their customer base. The US isn’t a niche; for many automakers, the US is currently paying the bills for the rest of their business.

          • 0 avatar
            Arthur Dailey

            Thanks for a well reasoned response. The use of ‘niche’ was a response to a previous comment and meant to dispel the notion that the North American market still drives global auto styling, design and/or sales.

            20% and dropping in proportion to the rest of the world. Don’t have the time, but am sure that someone else can post the percentage of worldwide auto sales that North American represented in the 50’s through 90’s.

            Niche (def): “an appropriate combination of conditions for a species to survive”. Like the existing environment for large SUV’s in some areas?

  • avatar

    I will join the chorus of those citing the fuel economy and lack of upgrades over the years. If the 5 got fuel economy similar to the new Mazda6 which is probably larger than the 5, it would be a pretty appealing alternative to those who didnt need a maxi-van like the T&C/Odyssey/Sienna. Personally, I feel that the 5 is simply yet another victim of manufacturers push for more high profit crossover sales that killed the station wagon and is now killing the minivan. If you can add AWD, a few inches of ground clearance and sell it at a 20-30% premium, why wouldnt you. Still, Mazda’s replacement for the CX-9 will probably be a far larger volume and far more profitable venture than the Mazda5. So for a small volume car company, it makes total sense to go where the customers are, like it or not.

  • avatar

    I had a Mazda 5 and absolutely loved it. It was fun to drive and had perfect size for a family with two small kids. Sliding doors were key for the car seats. I don´t believe the 5 is dead. I think that it is just taking time to re-tool on the new Skyactiv 3 platform. That will certainly bring fuel consumption to a level the Pentastar can´t touch.

    • 0 avatar

      I was waiting for it to happen too, the SkyActive update to the 5 (and please god, a styling update). Not gonna happen I guess. But maybe Akrontires is right…but then maybe they will replace the sliding doors with gull wings. I suspect not.

    • 0 avatar

      ” That will certainly bring fuel consumption to a level the Pentastar can´t touch.”

      The current Pentastar model gets 17-22mpg in the real world.

      And in comparison, the reported real-world numbers for the Mazda 5 are 24-27mpg.

      That’s taken from the real world fuel economy experiences reported on

      So as it stands right now, the Pentastar V6 Chryslers already can’t touch the 5 in terms of fuel economy.

      I also compared the newer Chryslers to the older ones… and when compared to the old 3.3L OHV V6, they got about the same fuel economy. Only with the Pentastar, you get so much more power and a much nicer engine.

  • avatar

    The world has gone crazy for crossovers.

    Mazda’s best sellers in the US are the 3 and the CX-5. (They’re really the only two Mazdas to produce even so-so sales volumes in the US market.)

    It makes more sense to save the money on developing and building the 5, and to instead direct those buyers to the CX-5. Most automakers would be inclined to do that sort of thing, but it’s particularly important for a small player such as Mazda to cut those costs wherever possible.

  • avatar

    No matter how well-equipped or specified this thing was, it still looked like it was for poor people. Look at the awful ocean scene on the side, and the terrible black plastic DLO fail. And the poor integration of the door track. And the weird black area around the rearmost side window. Oh, and it’s got a last-gen face on it. They’re still using the seat leather pattern and stitching they had back on the initial Millenia (clamshell style).

    And I agree RE: MPG. Way too low for something this size and power level. 157HP is the max available? That’s 14 more than a Civic. COME ON!

  • avatar

    Rented them three times on vacation. Every time, family said they loved it. But, the new car buying time never came for me, especially when I can just repair my 2001 T&C for about $600 every year. That’s only 1.5 payments or so on a new 5. Oh, Corey is right, the restyle was a big miss.

    Far thee well, weird little spacevan.

  • avatar

    I’ve seen a fairly recent, apparently-well-kept one of these with the rusting wheel arches already. Unfortunately, Mazda still seems to refuse to address their rust issue. I hope that won’t be the case for the current 3, but it was true of the past ones, and the Protege before them, so I remain skeptical.

  • avatar

    All good points raised. In general, this vehicle isn’t right for the N America market. Family haulers here need to be big and “luxuriously” comfortable. For those in the US that so like small minivans or minivans in general, the Mazda5 really doesn’t stand out in terms of features or fuel economy. We’re a family of 4 (two young children), hardly haul large Home Depot type of stuff, and this is the perfect car for us. Decent price, maneuverable, good handling, flexible seating/storage configuration, love sliding door and 3rd row availability, and not willing to shell out high $30K for an everyday car. Downside was the fuel economy from lack of Skyactiv technology, and wind noise. It’s a shame really because there’s a segment within the US that likes this type of versatile small minivans, at a decent price, but the car itself needs to do a better with refinement/features and fuel economy. So good luck to Mazda and other car mfrs that make these small 3 row seaters for the other markets in the world.

  • avatar

    With the 2-Series Active Tourer out now in some markets, I’m sure BMW heard this news, sighed and said, “Whatever.”

    • 0 avatar

      High roof station wagon “people movers” are all the rage in Europe. BMW will sell every 2AT they bother to make, at a tidy profit. I doubt we will see it here, just like we never got the 1-series hatch.

      But ultimately, the 2AT IS a premium Mazda5 done right. Other than lacking sliding doors.

      • 0 avatar

        They said it would be at least 15 months before the US gets it. BMW held back the X1 for a few years, and it ended up doing very well for them. I imagine that the 2AT would not do as well as the X1 here since it is not a crossover.

        I’d like an 2AT just like I would like a C-Max with a turbocharged engine (gas or diesel). The 1.0T in the Euro C-Max intrigues me. The acceleration is nowhere near the same as the hybrid, but the fuel economy should be similar. Plus, the 1.0T C-Max weighs almost 700 lbs less than the C-Max hybrid (900 less than the plug-in C-Max).

        • 0 avatar

          I will believe it when I see one at the local dealer.

          I have nothing against them, looks like a decent enough family car, and for maximum space utilization in a non-sporting car FWD only makes sense.

          • 0 avatar

            “I will believe it when I see one at the local dealer.”

            You and me both. I’d love for Ford to bring the S-Max over, but I don’t see how the could sell it with the Explorer, Flex, and Edge already in the showroom.

            I’ve used the Ford UK site to build an S-Max and they are expensive. 35k GBP for what I’d want. I would buy it for $35k though.

  • avatar

    I owned a 2006 Mazda5 for 7 years. Reliable vehicle but it had its drawbacks – 1. Fuel economy 2. lack of HP 3. tire wear and alignment issues 4. suspension problems, 5. wheel arches started to rust after 5 years 6. Zero storage space with third row in use 7. Road noise at highway speeds. At the time I wanted a vehicle with three rows but was easy to maneuver and was not the typical minivan – this car fit the bill but in the end I couldn’t wait to trade it in.

  • avatar

    We have a 2012 that we bought to replace a WRXagon when we went from 1 kid to 2.

    The things that attracted us to it were its small size and 6MT option, generally being *not* a minivan.

    I’d love to a have a next/current gen version of this: 200+ hp SkyActive, newer face and chassis, etc, but it obviously wasn’t worth the engineering costs to do that redesign on the late-90s Focus platform it’s based on.

  • avatar

    I rented this car few weeks ago so I had great test drive of it. We were 4 adults with all our flying luggage. 5 handled us and our suitcases with aplomb. It is comfortable and good driver. Here is why it is not selling well:
    It is impractical.
    I am just thinking in Home Depot terms. I can load 20 or more bags of mulch in my Highlander. Mazda5? – I don’t think so. They should make it SkyActive, 2-row car, name it Mazda3MaxyWagon and stop selling it as minivan.

    • 0 avatar

      I like it! It was a little weird as a stand-alone model, although it was built on a 3 chassis. With some models becoming brands – Prius – your idea makes a lot of sense. They can even share more content if people expect them to look the same, etc.

  • avatar

    And the absolute fail in the IIHS small overlap crash test just nailed down the coffin lid last month. The vehicle structure is out-of-date. The current new Kia Forte was as bad.

    Mazda knew this themselves before any test. The new Mazda3 and 6 pass the tests, so Mazda’s computer modeling would have apprised them of the likely performance of the 5.

    Despite the general hand-waving about niches, the relative size of the US market in the world, Mazda will replace this vehicle if probable total global sales warrant it. If they do, then offering it in North America is simple because it will be sure to ace the hardest crash test in its basic structure no matter where it’s sold. That’s currently IIHS.

  • avatar

    We still have a Mazda 5 we bought new in February 2006, and it’s been fantastic for our needs. I understand that much of the North American market has little interest in the 5, but in densely packed urban environments like Center City Philadelphia, it simply rules. It’s easily maneuverable, tough as nails, and reliable, and the sliding doors are perfect for street parking, especially with kids. The visibility is fantastic too. It’s even fun to drive, especially with the manual transmission we have, though it could use more power. In terms of fulfilling its intended purpose, it’s the best vehicle I’ve owned. I see several around the city, and it’s easy to understand why.

    I kept thinking it would get a SkyActiv upgrade to address the poor fuel economy, and I do think that’s hindered its success. I hope it’s reintroduced with that, and much better sound deadening. Like other Mazdas, it’s incredibly noisy on the highway, which makes it less than ideal for family road trips.

  • avatar

    I have one and I love it, for a $17K vehicle with the MT6 it is a blast to drive for very little money!…you get more interior room than a comparable size crossover and for less money.

    The problem I see is that Mazda never brought all the options available on this model in other markets like integrated GPS, skyactiv engine, available 6+1 seating, headrest monitors and even

  • avatar

    I’ve been looking at used minivans to replace our totaled Routan. With only two children, the Mazda5 would be a reasonable option.

    The problems? Wife wants a hard drive in the radio to store music for the kids. She misses the DVD entertainment system of the Routan. Our youngest is still a little small to be opening and closing the sliding door by herself. She likes the storage space in the central console, and the two glove boxes in the Routan.

    Sure, some of those can be fixed with aftermarket items, but a dealer in our state is selling Grand Caravans SE (not the AVP model) for less than $19,000 right now. It would still have more equipment than a similarly priced 5, which still feels like a down market step from a Town&Country/Routan.

    Too many compromises for not enough increase in fuel economy. I still like the vehicle, so who knows.

  • avatar

    This makes me sad… so very sad. Yeah, in EPA tests, a manual 5 doesn’t look that great compared to some crossovers. But I bet the real world fuel economy is as good or better than the EPA numbers.

    On the site, the real-world fuel economy people get with the manual model is 26-27mpg… and 24-27mpg with the automatic.

    How does that compare with the AWD Nissan Rogue? In the real world, Rogue drivers are getting 20-24mpg.

    And those Chrysler van? They get 17-22mpg in the real world. If you care about fuel costs, you’re better off with the Mazda in the long run.

    The Mazda 5 was a good, honest vehicle that does what it was designed to do well without overstating its credentials.

    It’s sad to see an honest vehicle like this die.

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