Mazda 5

Vehicle research for the new Mazda 5

The Good

With a roomy interior despite its relatively compact body, the 2012 Mazda 5 gets good gas mileage and offers sporty handling. On the whole, the vehicle is very well-built, and you can get it with a manual transmission – a real rarity for the minivan segment. It’s also priced very affordably.

The Bad

While Mazda’s goal was to build a compact crossover, they may have been too successful – to the point of not leaving enough room for a full family. The jury is out on the vehicle’s exterior styling.

The Bottom Line

If you have a small family and want a sportier minivan that handles much better than most, the 2012 Mazda 5 is the ideal vehicle for you.


The 2012 Mazda 5 is available in three configurations: the base Sport model, the upgraded Touring model, and the top of the line Grand Touring model. While each has identical styling and dimensions, the list of standard features varies from vehicle to vehicle.

MSRP: $19,625 to $24,205

Average paid: $18,888 to $22,975


Acceleration and power

Despite its small size, the 2012 Mazda 5 doesn’t offer much in the way of acceleration or power. The standard engine is a modest 2.5 L inline-4, which is only capable of generating 157 horsepower. In road tests, the vehicle posted a 0 to 60 miles per hour acceleration time of 9.1 seconds, which lags behind other, larger vehicles in its class. This puts the Mazda 5 on par with the Ford Fiesta, which isn’t exactly known for its power and performance. The quarter mile time was 17.0 seconds, at a speed of 82 miles per hour. Again, this is average at best.

Handling and braking

One area in which Mazda 5 reviews were united in their praise is in the vehicle’s handling. Here, Mazda’s engineering ingenuity is on full display; they have succeeded in creating a vehicle which drives like a much smaller and nimbler car. While you shouldn’t expect the new Mazda 5 to handle like a sports car – after all, it is still a minivan – it is one of the best-handling vehicles in its class. Thanks to its diminutive size, it is also much easier than most other minivans to navigate in tight quarters and parking lots. In terms of braking, the new Mazda 5 decelerated from 60 to 0 miles per hour in 128 feet, which is about average for its class.



Reclining bucket seats are found in the front row and second row, while the third row seating is a 50/50 split bench. Official seating capacity is for six passengers. The third row seats can be folded down to increase cargo capacity, while the second row seats are removable. Seating adjustment is manual, unless you opt to upgrade to power seats. Cloth is the standard seating material; on the whole, the comfort level is above average, but given the vehicle’s smallish design, the headroom, shoulder room and legroom ratings are slightly off the mark for its class.


While the 2011 Mazda 5 came with a standard navigation computer, this has been made an optional feature for 2012. However, you can still enjoy a wide range features, including power windows, power locks, cruise control, an automatic climate control system with pollen filter and second-row vent adjusters, an anti-theft system and two 12-volt power outlets. The analog instrumentation cluster also illuminates when the vehicle’s headlights are on.

Cargo space

Compared to other vehicles in its class, cargo space is somewhat limited in the 2012 Mazda 5. With the third row seats left in place, you only have 5.6 cubic feet of storage volume to work with. Fold down the third row seats and you can increase the cargo volume to 27.5 cubic feet, which also isn’t a whole lot. If cargo space is a priority for you, a fuller-sized minivan might be a better bet.


Standard safety features include side impact door beams, stability control, traction control, anti-lock brakes, child safety rear door locks and three-point seat belts. Airbags cover all three seating rows as well, including advanced dual-stage airbags for the driver and front-seat passenger.


Compared to the 2011 Mazda 5, the 2012 models sport revamped exterior styling and sleeker exterior sheet metal. On the whole, the vehicle is smaller and lighter than most others in its class, which is a major part of the reason that Mazda kept such a modest engine.

  • Transmission: Automatic
  • Drivetrain: Front-wheel drive
  • Engine Type: Turbocharged Gas I4
  • Engine Size: 2.0L/121
  • Horsepower: 211 @ 4300-6000
  • Torque: 258 @ 1600-4200
  • MPG, City: 23 MPG
  • MPG, Highway: 31 MPG
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