by Dave and Carolyn
edited by Paul Williams

2007 Mazda5
Click image to enlarge

Read more of Dave & Carolyn’s comments on the 2007 Mazda5 GT:
Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3
Read all the articles in the Minivan Challenge

Photo Gallery: 2007 Honda Odyssey

The experience of driving the 2007 Mazda5 GT created some unexpected conclusions for our testers, Dave and Carolyn. Dave, especially, was keen to drive this vehicle, as for him it seemed an intriguing combination of a number of different vehicle types (the functionality of a small van; the fuel economy and handling of a compact car). In some ways, the vehicle delivered more than was expected, but in others it delivered less. For example, interior functionality was indeed judged to be very good, and for a comparatively small vehicle, the Mazda5 carried a lot of cargo. But the vehicle is quite narrow, and occupants felt cramped.

Styling also elicited very favourable comments, both from Dave and Carolyn, and from their friends. The Mazda5 certainly projects a modern and up-to-date image, but confounding the impressive and stylish details (headlamps, rear lights, wheels, and aerodynamic front end), is the persistent perception that the Mazda5 is basically a small minivan.

Yes, the Mazda5 is unique in its design, size and type (at least at this point in time, and in the Canadian market). But like all vehicles, buyers will have to decide whether what it offers suits their particular needs.

Dave’s final comments and scores for the 2007 Mazda5 GT

As we prepare to return the Mazda5 I am struck by the fact that I harbour many mixed feelings about this vehicle. Initially, I was excited by the prospect of testing this vehicle. I viewed this vehicle as a nice compromise for someone who desired a vehicle with minivan-like features, but who did not want to purchase one of the larger minivans currently on the market. I was impressed by its styling, its smaller size, and its apparent versatility. I assumed it would be very fuel efficient too, relatively speaking of course. I must admit that I am feeling slightly less enthusiastic about this vehicle after driving it for several weeks in comparison with the other minivans we have tested so far. Indeed, for just under $25,000 this vehicle offers quite a punch. But, in comparison with the other minivans it really does feel like a well built, well designed, economy mini van, so to speak. Our previously tested minivans felt quite luxurious, smooth, and comfortable, and very spacious inside. I feel that my luxury versus economy class analogy still holds water (or oxygen) re this issue.

2007 Mazda5 GT
2007 Mazda5 GT. Click image to enlarge

The one thing I particularly dislike about this vehicle is that it is very narrow. When my father in law, who is 6 feet and 200 pounds, sat in its front seat he immediately remarked that he felt claustrophobic. I understood what he was feeling, and I am much shorter and lighter than he is. Another thing I find odd about this vehicle is that you feel as though you are sitting very close to the ground, even when the front seat is elevated. In this regard, when I drive my Kia Sportage immediately after driving the Mazda5 I feel as though I am in a full sized pick up truck – the difference is very noticeable. Granted, the Mazda5’s low floor facilitates getting things (e.g., an infant) in and out of the van easily.

I am also perplexed by this vehicle’s use of fuel – it is on par with a couple of the larger vans we recently tested. We got 10.3 L/100 km in mostly highway driving. Perhaps the four cylinder engine is under too much stress in this regard? The vehicle is peppy with respect to city driving, but on the highway it would benefit from a bit more power. The Mazda5 feels fairly stable, but it can become unsteady during very windy days, or when driving over the Burlington Skyway, for example. The sound system is okay, although it lacks bass.

2007 Mazda5 GT
2007 Mazda5 GT. Click image to enlarge

I still like the look of this vehicle; it’s very sporty and modern looking and this is a strong point. However, the more I look at it the more I begin to think of it as simply a small minivan, not something unique. Interestingly, everybody that I have spoken with about this vehicle refers to it as a minivan. Recall that Carolyn and I were not big fans of minivans when we began the minivan challenge. We both lean toward owning/driving wagons or smaller SUVs. Overall, the Mazda5 does not offer me much more than my Sportage offers me, other than seating for one extra passenger (6 versus 5), and sliding doors. This is not enough to persuade me to trade in my SUV, which I prefer driving, and which I find better suits my personality.

Carolyn’s final comments and scores for the 2007 Mazda5 GT

Here are a few of the features that I especially like about the Mazda5:

  • Very trendy and fun to drive!
  • Very good customer service from Mazda – A very
    friendly representative escorted us to the parking lot and provided a full introduction to this vehicle; here the point is that we DID NOT HAVE TO ASK for this level of service because it was treated as though it was a typical part of the process (We could of course ask any representative for this type of service – that is easy enough to do!)

  • This is an economical vehicle (less than $25,000 price tag) with a lot of versatility including: room to seat six people, a moonroof, climate control heating and air conditioning, lots of practical storage space under the seats in the middle row, enough cup holders (although a few extra is always useful), extremely easy to use sliding doors.
  • In my opinion, this minivan is definitely an option to consider for any family with one or two children and a family pet; I am not sure how comfortable and practical this minivan would be for larger people and larger families (one certainly cannot jump/wiggle from the front seat to the backseat to attend to a crying baby in this minivan – no matter how small you are!)
  • The smaller size of this minivan and the great visibility from the front windshield are plusses for me.
  • The sleek design of the back tailgate, and back and front lights are very impressive and modern.

Here are a few of the features that I find less appealing about the Mazda5:

  • Needs tinted windows and a conversation mirror – all parents would agree
  • Built-in sunshades would be awesome, particularly because this vehicle has a lot of windows which is great but it can get pretty sunny and hot
  • Needs air vents in the far back as well for both human passengers in the third row seats and non-human passengers lying down in the back – our dog Laila wanted some more air back there!
  • More elbow room is needed in the front of the vehicle for the passenger & driver; I was glad to hear that the newer model will be including an armrest for the front row passenger (the front passenger seat could also use a pocket at the back so that you can store papers and stuff – there is one at the back of the front driver’s seat and I am not sure why the front passenger seat does not have one too.)
  • The front dashboard needs a little work to make it more aesthetically pleasing because it is pretty “plain Jane” as it is
  • I’d prefer the gearshift in a different location because it sometimes can get in the way when the passenger is crossing/moving his/her legs or turning around quickly to reach in the back of the minivan – and it can be dangerous when you accidentally knock the stick shift from drive to neutral while on the highway!

Read more of Dave & Carolyn’s comments on the 2007 Mazda5 GT:

Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3
Read all the articles in the Minivan Challenge

Photo Gallery: 2007 Mazda5 GT

Dave and Carolyn’s evaluation of the 2007 Mazda5 GT

(Each item is rated on a scale of one to five. Maximum score: 100)

Item Carolyn Dave
Exterior Design 4 4.25
Ease of Entry/Exit 4 4
Ride 4 3.5
Engine/Transmission 4.5 3.5
Ease of Operation 4.5 4
Visibility from Driver’s Seat 5 4.5
Comfortable Driving Position 3.5 3.25
Interior Ergonomics 3.5 3.5
Quality of Materials 3.5 3.5
Interior Design 3.5 4
Interior Functionality 4 4
Build Quality (rattles, etc.) 3.75 3.75
Entertainment System 3.5 3
Night Driving 4 4
Braking 5 4
Acceleration 5 3.5
Cornering 5 4
Stability 4.5 3.75
Fuel Economy 3.5 3.25
Overall Appeal 4.25 3.5
Total 82.5 74.75

Read more of Dave & Carolyn’s comments on the 2007 Mazda5 GT:
Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3

Read all the articles in the Minivan Challenge

Photo Gallery: 2007 Mazda5 GT

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