Yonkers, New York – The Mazda5 has posted an “Excellent” score with Consumer Reports, as part of a test for the magazine’s September issue. Although smaller than a standard minivan, it is ideal for families on a budget, the magazine said.

“The Mazda5 hits a sweet spot for families on a budget,” said David Champion, senior director of the Auto Test Center. “It provides most of the versatility and convenience of a minivan, along with stingier fuel economy, more agile handling and a lower price.”

The Mazda5 previously earned a “Top Pick” designation in the Annual Auto Issue in the “Family Hauler” category; Consumer Reports opted to retest it after it was upgraded for 2010 with electric stability control. Also tested for the September issue were the Ford Flex with EcoBoost, which posted an “Excellent” test score, and the redesigned Toyota Sienna minivan, which rated “Very Good.”

Consumer Reports said that while both the front- and all-wheel drive versions of the Sienna posted “Very Good” test scores and are very good vehicles, they do not measure up to the previous model, which had been the magazine’s top-rated minivan for three years. The magazine cited a drop in quietness and in interior fit and finish, which contributed to its lower score. The Sienna is now ranked below the top-rated Honda Odyssey and is roughly on par with the Kia Sedona.

The Flex was the second version tested, and the improvements in its turbocharged EcoBoost engine moved the Flex to the top of the midsize three-row SUV category, below only the Toyota Highlander Hybrid, which rated an “Excellent” road test score.

The Honda Accord Crosstour was also tested, and posted a “Very Good Score.” The magazine said that it has a tall stance and all-wheel drive, but its coupe-like design hurts visibility, rear access and cargo space.

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