$9,861 - $11,780

2014 Mazda Mazda5 Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2014 Mazda Mazda5 was new.


Performance: 8.6

Reviewers say the 2014 Mazda5 offers sharp handling and quick, communicative steering, which makes it particularly fun to drive. Though some test drivers think that the Mazda5 accelerates adequately, others say the Mazda5 could use a more powerful engine. The Mazda5 is the only minivan available with a manual transmission, and automotive journalists say it makes the Mazda5 very fun to drive. They say the optional automatic transmission shifts quickly and smoothly.

  • "This sporty gearbox suits the Mazda5’s character perfectly - overall, the minivan is quick on its feet, with precise, communicative steering that helps the it feel not like a lumbering people-mover but like a well-sorted sedan." -- Left Lane News
  • "Consider the Mazda5's road manners icing on the automotive cake. While we doubt any driving enthusiast's first choice of vehicle would be a minivan, this people mover feels more nimble than its larger, heavier rivals." -- Kelley Blue Book (2013)
  • "Turn the steering wheel, and the front tires change path without delay. All the controls and responses are in harmony, making it easy (and fun) to wring the most out of the Mazda 5. When was the last time you wanted to wring anything but your own neck in a minivan?" -- Car and Driver (2012)

Acceleration and Power

The 2014 Mazda5 has a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 157 horsepower. A six-speed manual transmission is standard and a five-speed automatic is optional. The Mazda5 is the only minivan available with a manual transmission. The 2014 Mazda5 gets up to an EPA-estimated 22/28 mpg city/highway, which is exceptional for the class.

The Mazda5 is the only minivan in the class that doesn’t offer a V6 engine, and some critics say that it can feel a bit short on power. Automotive journalists are thrilled that the Mazda5 has a manual transmission. Reviewers also write that the automatic transmission shifts smoothly and quickly.

  • "However, its enthusiast focus is revealed by the six-speed manual transmission that comes standard on entry-level models - that’s right, a minivan with a stickshift." -- Left Lane News
  • "Regardless of transmission, the 5 is responsive from a stop and in around-town driving. It falls just short of feeling quick, however. It's reasonably peppy on the highway too, though passing maneuvers require plenty of throttle input. The manual transmission is well-geared, delivering a good balance between overall acceleration and highway cruising. The automatic shifts smoothly and provides timely downshifts." -- Consumer Guide (2013)
  • "Off-the-line acceleration is not the Mazda5's strength. …" -- Kelley Blue Book (2013)
  • "Speed is another issue. The 5 seems to operate on its own schedule." -- The New York Times (2012)

Handling and Braking

Test drivers agree that the 2014 Mazda5’s small size makes it feel quick and nimble around town, though a few critics note that its ride isn't as smooth as other minivans’. Automotive journalists say the steering system is responsive with great road feel, and they say the Mazda5’s small turning radius makes it easy to maneuver in crowded parking lots.

  • "Mazda 5 is surprisingly sporty. Grip is good and body lean is modest in corners. The responsive steering provides good road feel, and a tight turning circle aids in close-quarters maneuvering. Strong crosswinds induce a bit of wander, but nothing that we would consider excessive." -- Consumer Guide (2013)
  • "The 5's ride is not overly firm, but the suspension doesn't soak up bumps like a full-size minivan." -- Edmunds (2013)
  • "Among the 2013 Mazda5's pragmatic highlights is its ease in parking lots. At nearly the same length - actually a smidge shorter - as the Mazda3 compact sedan on which it's based, the Mazda5 is a snap to maneuver." -- Kelley Blue Book (2013)
  • "It's rather fun to throw around, thanks to responsive and communicative steering." -- Motor Trend (2012)

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