$6,688 - $7,915

2012 Mazda Mazda5 Interior Review

Note: This interior review was created when the 2012 Mazda Mazda5 was new.


Interior: 7.8

The 2012 Mazda5 has an interior that’s smaller and more basic than other minivans, but most test drivers didn’t seem to mind. Instead, they report that for the money and fun driving experience, the Mazda5’s interior is a small tradeoff.

  • "For the most part, the interior works brilliantly." -- Motor Trend
  • "No modern car really is simple, but the Mazda5 tester lacked the electronic artifice becoming common. That made it less distracting, less tiresome and much more fun to drive." -- USA TODAY
  • "Just one opportunity to disgorge passengers through the Mazda5's sliding doors in a tight parking space would sell the idea to most people, and Mazda's decision to put two captain's chairs in the middle row makes the vehicle feel like it was designed for going out to dinner with friends." -- Popular Mechanics


The Mazda5, in contrast to other minivans, can only seat six people. The first two rows get two captain’s chairs each, and the third row has a two-person bench. Most reviewers report that the first two rows are comfortable for adults, but the third row is best suited for small kids.

  • “The comfortable [front] seats have just enough lateral support, but tall drivers will almost certainly wish for more rearward travel. A 6-foot 2-inch tester had adequate legroom, but there was little clearance between the lower dash and his shins. Headroom is good, even under the available sunroof." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Backseat passengers will be cramped, though. While the second row offers plenty of space, the third is definitely for small children." -- Motor Trend
  • "Quite often the second row of a vehicle is never as comfortable as the driver's seat. But this isn't the case in the new Mazda5. Second-row captain's chairs and optional aisle storage tray are manually-adjustable for optimized comfort." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Mazda's 2+2+2 arrangement is a largely carryover affair. This is a clear example of the 'If it ain't broke' mantra. We managed to fit four adults and two growing children in the cabin without much fuss, though sufficient leg room for adults can be a challenge, especially in the second row." -- Autoblog
  • "The front seats were not overly bolstered, but did offer good support during our four-hour drive through San Diego." -- Left Lane News

Interior Features

The 2012 Mazda5 doesn’t offer as many bells and whistles as other minivans do. However, reviewers think that the lack of fancy interior features may appeal to Mazda5 buyers who put budget over entertainment systems. The base Mazda5 Sport comes standard with an AM/FM/CD/MP3 six-speaker stereo with auxiliary input jack, automatic climate control, manually-adjustable seats, keyless entry and steering-wheel-mounted audio and cruise controls. Jump up to the Touring trim and the Mazda5 adds Bluetooth, a trip computer and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. The Grand Touring trim adds adjustable lumbar support for the driver, heated front seats and leather-trimmed upholstery. There is no factory navigation option, so if you want navigation and the Mazda5, you’ll have to buy a portable until.

Even though the equipment list is sparse, compared to other minivans, the Mazda5’s price is low.  Plus, reviewers say that the overall cabin design is attractive and well-built. While some materials feel a little cheap, on the whole, reviewers are pleased.

  • "Mazda 5's cabin uses price-appropriate materials and is an attractive environment that tends toward sporty simplicity. Most surfaces are hard plastic, but they are tempered somewhat by tasteful graining and good assembly quality. Grand Touring's standard leather upholstery looks nice but doesn't feel particularly rich." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Let's get the biggest disappointment out of the way: Mazda removed the factory navigation option. This would be fine as off-the-shelf units are handy and inexpensive, but the 5 has only one power outlet up front (the other one is back in the cargo area). If you have an aftermarket navigation unit plugged in, you have nothing to power a radar detector, or charge your phone, music player, laptop, and so on." -- Motor Trend
  • "Such simple ingenuity appealed to me. I am a confirmed minimalist, and the 5 is a minimalist’s minivan. There are only six cup holders -- the Odyssey has 15! -- and no flat-screen monitors in the headrests.” -- New York Times
  • "The down-market interior trim, plus Mazda's unwillingness to push up the price with optional features such as power sliding side doors and power tailgate, make the new 5 a non-starter among the well-heeled "move-down" crowd. But Mazda says that's not the target audience." -- USA TODAY
  • "But while the redesign of the 5's dash looks like a step in the right direction, hard plastics remain. Sure, we would have loved soft-touch materials, but with a starting price under $20,000, we weren't expecting plush expanses." -- Autoblog
  • "The feeling of the controls are top shelf, and show a significant improvement in quality control." -- Left Lane News


Cargo space is one area where going for the diminutive Mazda5 means compromising, at least compared to other minivans. While reviewers like the multitude of clever small-item storage spaces, the Mazda5 is just too small to compete with other vans in terms of cargo volume, especially with the third row seats in use. Behind the third row there’s just 5.58 cubic feet of cargo space, which is enough for a row of grocery bags, but not much else. In our tests, while we could fit two carryon suitcases, it was a tight fit. When you fold the third row, you get a bit more space at 44.4 cubic feet. Still, when you consider that the 2011 Honda Odyssey has 38.4 cubic feet behind its third row, you can see that in exchange for the Mazda5’s fun-to-drive nature and good fuel economy, you give up some utility.

  • "Large side and rear openings ease loading. There is little more than grocery-bag space behind the 3rd row, but all rear seats fold to make a nearly flat floor and can be arranged for a wide variety of passenger or cargo loads. There is abundant small-item storage that includes hidden trays beneath the 2nd-row seats and rear cargo floor. A clever console tray and cupholder flips out from under the passenger-side 2nd-row seat bottom, a very nice convenience." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Compartments beneath the second-row seat cushions kept valuables out of sight. The bins also provided space for some gear (ball gloves, Frisbee discs, small air compressors) that otherwise would have had no home and would have slid around unchecked." -- USA TODAY
  • "Filling the 5 with people does severely limit storage space, a problem Mazda has attempted to remedy with a shallow and mostly ineffective storage beneath the second row seats. We can't help but scratch our heads and wonder why Mazda has spent its engineering dollars on creating a storage space that can only stow a couple of action figures and a travel pack of trail mix." -- Autoblog

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