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2012 Mazda Mazda5 Review

Though it’s smaller than most minivans, test drivers recommended the 2012 Mazda5 because of its fantastic handling and good fuel economy.

Pros & Cons

  • Excellent handling
  • Good fuel economy
  • Small cargo area
  • Cramped third row

Rankings & Research

The 2012 Mazda Mazda5's #5 ranking is based on its score within the 2012 Minivans category. Currently the Mazda Mazda5 has a score of 7.5 out of 10, which is based on our evaluation of 20 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.




Critics' Rating: 8.8
Performance: 8.8
Interior: 7.8
Total Cost of Ownership: 9.4
Safety: 6.5
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2012 Mazda Mazda5 Overview

The 2012 Mazda5 comes with a four-cylinder engine, and most critics said it delivers adequate acceleration for driving around town, but feels slow during highway passing. The Mazda5 is one of the few minivans with a manual transmission. A five-speed automatic is available. The 2012 Mazda5 gets an EPA-estimated 21/28 mpg city/highway, which is excellent for the minivan class. Reviewers said the Mazda5 has very nimble, car-like handling that makes it one of the most fun-to-drive minivans on the market. They agreed that its small size also makes it easy to maneuver around a parking lot.

Automotive journalists said the 2012 Mazda5’s simple interior design and controls make it more user-friendly than many minivans, which feature a distracting array of buttons and electronic gadgets. Critics wrote that the quality of the Mazda5’s interior materials are fine for minivan buyers focused on practicality and value. The Mazda5 can accommodate six people, while its competitors can hold seven or eight. Reviewers said the first- and second-row seats can hold four adults comfortably, but the third-row seats are only suitable for children. With its third-row seats folded, the Mazda5 has 44.4 cubic feet of cargo space, which is a very small amount of room for the minivan class. The 2012 Mazda5 comes standard with automatic climate control and a six-speaker audio system with an auxiliary input jack. Available features include Bluetooth, satellite radio, heated front seats, leather upholstery and a moonroof.

The Mazda5 won our 2012 Best Minivan for the Money award for its combination of positive reviews and long-term value.

Other Minivans to Consider

The 2012 Toyota Sienna has one of the largest cargo areas in the class, and critics said it has an adult-friendly third row. All-wheel drive was optional on the Sienna, which is rare for the class, and test drivers said its optional V6 engine delivers strong acceleration.

Like the Mazda5, reviewers said the 2012 Honda Odyssey has sharp handling for a minivan. However, the Odyssey has a lot more passenger and cargo space than the Mazda5, and critics loved its premium-quality interior materials. The Odyssey also has an excellent safety score for the class.

Compare the Mazda5, Sienna and Odyssey »


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