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How many miles will the Mazda5 run? (Help me crunch this data!)

gingrichdkgingrichdk Posts: 7
edited September 2012 in Mazda
I need some expert help interpreting some data here!

I'm new to the forums here and new to the Mazda5. My wife and I are in the market for our first minivan and I'm very tempted by the Mazda5. But I have one main question: Is it likely to run for as many miles as the full-sized minivans?

It's really difficult to find hard data about vehicle longevity, especially for a model that debuted as recently as 2006. I can't find any list of "dead vans," showing how many miles each had run by its point of death. (Junk yards should begin compiling this data!)

So what I did was to gather data of used vans for sale on AOL.com, comparing mileages of the Mazda5s with the Grand Caravans, Siennas, and Odysseys. For each make I included data for all used vans from 2006-2013, nation-wide. Here's what I found:

Grand Caravan (06-12):
12,836 total for sale
848 with 100,000+ miles (6.61%)
217 with 125,000+ miles (1.69%)
63 with 150,000 + miles (0.49%)
8 with 200,000 + miles (0.06%)

Sienna (06-12):
8,820 total for sale
653 with 100,000+ miles (7.4%)
186 with 125,000+ miles (2.11%)
47 with 150,000 + miles (0.53%)
4 with 200,000 + miles (0.05%)

Odyssey (06-12):
11,395 total for sale
1,118 with 100,000+ miles (9.81%)
302 with 125,000+ miles (2.65%)
76 with 150,000 + miles (0.67%)
10 with 200,000 + miles (0.09%)

Mazda5 (06-12):
1920 total for sale
75 with 100,000+ miles (3.9%)
15 with 125,000+ miles (0.78%)
2 with 150,000 + miles (0.10%)
0 with 200,000 + miles (0.00%)

Because the Mazda5 provides a smaller sample size, so I also crunched numbers for the Mazda3, upon which the Mazda5 is based:

Mazda3 (06-12):
9,181 total for sale
240 with 100,000+ miles (2.61%)
61 with 125,000+ miles (0.66%)
17 with 150,000 + miles (0.19%)
1 with 200,000 + miles (0.01%)

(And now you know why my wife says I'm obsessing a little too much over this decision...)

To summarize: A significantly lower percentage of Mazda5s (and Mazda3s) on the market have mileages of over 100,000, 125,000, or 150,000 than the other minivans. Nearly 10% of Odysseys on the market have at least 100,000 miles; less than 4% of available Mazda5s have run that far.

So here's my question: What does this data say about the longevity of the Mazda5? Here are several possible explanations for the data:
1) Mazda5 owners are either rental companies which always resell at low mileages, or else highly-satisfied customers who are not yet selling their vehicles. They like them so much they plan to run them into the ground. Or perhaps we'll see a glut of 200,000 mile vehicles for sale in 5 years.
2) Mazda5 vans are surviving well, but a high percentage of their owners have growing families, and are selling them early in order to "move up" to full-sized minivans.
3) While the full-sized minivans are routinely used for long trips, the smaller Mazda5 is more often used for shorter commutes. Thus the average mileage driven per year is lower. (I didn't crunch that data...)
4) Mazda5s are showing wear faster than the other vans, causing their owners to ditch them while they have fewer miles than what the other vans can commonly survive.

I think explanations 1 and 2 are too weak to explain the data. Explanation 3 is appealing and worthy of further examination, but doesn't explain why owners are selling their low-mileage vehicles. And I'm worried that explanation 4 is all too likely.

What do you think? How much does the data suggest explanation 4? Are there other explanatory factors I'm missing?

Comments

  • bobw3bobw3 Posts: 2,997
    I'd say that in general minivan owners drive more miles per year than small car owns (with the Mazda 5 being in the small car category). This might be because Minivans are used by all the soccer-moms for running around their kids after their daily work commutes, and then used for the long road trips. You might want to compare minivan miles driven to all other vehicles. You might find that full size minivans get the most miles driven as compared to any other vehicle type.

    Also, I'd look less at miles driven than with reliability and quality stats. Just because a vehicle is driven many miles doesn't mean that the owner isn't pouring money into that vehicle on repairs.
  • bobw3, your comments all make sense to me. Thanks for the insights! The fewer-miles-driven-per-year hypothesis (for Mazda vs. full-sized minivans) deserves further research.

    What we still don't know is how many Mazda5s will make it to the 150,000 or 200,000 mile mark. How many owners will find them surviving sufficiently to be worth the dollars to keep then running that long? If they are driven fewer miles on average than other minivans, then I probably won't have a real-world answer to that question for another 4-5 years. Meanwhile, the reliability stats are the best solution, and they will only reflect short-term maintenance/repair needs and educated guesses about long-term realities.

    I think I'm right in concluding that the Mazda5 is still more of a gamble long-term than, say, an Odyssey. What do you all think?
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 17,671
    With zero data to go on, I still disagree. I think the mazda is a less complex vehicle with lighter-duty hardware that would, ultimately, be cheaper to maitain and repair.

    We traded from a mazda5 to a Town & Country. It definitely wasn't my choice. Anyway, I had absolutely no fear of the mazda in terms of reliability and my ability to repair it. Parts are plentiful and easy to obtain, thanks to its ties to the mazda3. And its a pretty easy vehicle to work on. The T&C, on the other hand, is a lumbering, imposing, complicated beast of a thing. I would feel the same about any full-sized van built in recent years.

    Is any of this scientific? Nope, not in the least. Just my perceptions.

    '13 Stang GT; '15 Fit; '98 Volvo S70; '14 Town&Country

  • bobw3bobw3 Posts: 2,997
    You have to look at initial cost too. If you buy a Mazda5 for $20k and an Odyssey for $30K, you're already $10K ahead with the Mazda5. Plus the gas cost. If you average 20MPG with the Odyssey and 25MPG with the Mazda5, over 100,000 miles at $4/gal it will cost you $4,000 more to drive the Odyssey, so now you're at $14,000 greater cost with the Odyssey.

    According to the Edmunds Used Car Appraiser, a 2006 Mazda 5 Touring with 100,000 miles has about a $6,000 trade-in value and a 2006 Odyssey EX-L with 100,000 miles has a trade-in value of $10,500, so the difference is $4,500. If you subtract that off the $14,000 additional cost of the Odyssey, you're still ahead with the Mazda5 by $9,500.

    So even if the Mazda5 repairs are a few thosand more, you're still better off financially with the Mazda5. And if you kept the Mazda 5 even longer, you'll have even more of a savings due to the better MPG of the Mazda 5 and the resale value of the two vehicles will get closer and closer together as the cars get older.
  • davichodavicho Posts: 190
    Agree with bobw3. Couldn't of said it better.
  • bobw3bobw3 Posts: 2,997
    Of course you really need to start with the question of "How big of a vehicle do I need?" Even if the Mazda5 will save money in the long run, if you're going carry 6 people and their luggage on a regular basis, then the pain of trying to do that in a Mazda5 will be a lot as compared to an Odyssey. At some point you'll have to assign a "comfort/convenience" factor to the Odyssey. That being said, if you really only need an Odyssey-sized vehicle once a year for the three week family vacation, you could always rent a van for those trips, but if you did that every year, that would really narrow the long-term price difference.

    I think the bottom line is that if a Mazda5 meets your needs, then buy it. If you need an Odyssey-sized vehicle more than once a year, then buy the Odyssey.
  • gingrichdkgingrichdk Posts: 7
    edited September 2012
    Thanks to all again for your perceptive observations. I agree with much of what you all have said. I calculated that I would save about $400 on gas per year with the Mazda5, compared to other other "big three" vans.

    I would qualify a few things, though. I think that a lot of mechanics would say the Caravan is a comparatively easy vehicle to work on. Larger vehicles are often easier to work on (the battery is easier to access on the Caravan than on the Mazda5, I believe, for a simple example) and there are so many Caravans on the road that the average mechanic has worked on many of them.

    I've also read that larger vehicles, on average, last for more miles than do smaller vehicles. Whether that's due to better wear of larger parts, or to more dedicated upkeep by owners for vehicles that are more expensive to begin with, I don't know. Probably some of both.

    I'm also finding that the actual purchase price of an Odyssey and a Mazda5 with similar mileage (around the 100,000 mark) is closer than the Edmunds trade-in values suggest, reducing the long-term savings of a Mazda5.

    bobw3's last post is the clincher for us. My wife and I went van shopping today, car seats in tow, and agreed the Mazda5 is just too small for us. Three children and two or three 2000 mile trips per year, plus medium-sized ones, would mean a lot of very close company. Renting here from rural southern Iowa is an expensive option. (I just priced it for a recent trip to Virginia, and it would have cost about $500, plus about 5 hours of driving/processing time to get the van to our place before the trip ever started!) With three children, we would need a luggage carrier on such long trips, which would cut into fuel savings and increase inconvenience, especially when visiting family in Canada at Christmas (frozen luggage) and friends in New York City (lack of security for luggage).

    I really wanted to like the Mazda5. It's fun and ingenious! But I'd only recommend it for families of 3 or 4 max.

    So now it's waiting for a good deal on an Odyssey or Sienna, or buying the ubiquitous Caravan, which will really serve our needs much better.

    Again, thanks for your thoughts!
  • godeacsgodeacs Posts: 481
    So you did all this analysis to find out the Mazda5 was too small? I could have told you that up front.... ;) Suggest you look at the Nissan Quest as it rates higher than the Odyssey and Sienna. And...be prepared to spend almost double.... ;) ...and that's just on the purchase!
  • davichodavicho Posts: 190
    Yes I agree with godeacs. If you would have said from the beginning that you had 3 kidos to lug around, we all would have told you to just go directly with a full-sized mini-van.The Mazda5 is good for family of 4 tops with the occasional 1-2 passengers for short trips (no luggage). Definately look at all four options...Chrylser, Honda, Toyota and Nissan. Good luck, let us know what you went with.
  • bobw3bobw3 Posts: 2,997
    edited September 2012
    So if a full-sized minivan is what you need, if it were me I'd buy a 2-3 year old Sienna. Because of the new car depreciation you'll save thousands. I've priced used Odysseys vs used Siennas and it seems that used Odysseys are more expensive, but either way you'll save over brand new.

    If you've been researching the financial so much, I suggest doing a new vs used long term comparison. I would only go with a used Sienna or Odyssey and stay away from anything else. I'd much rather have a 2 year old Odyssey instead of a brand new Caravan even at the same price. And whatever you get, try to find something with the capability of carrying 3 in the second row, so if you really need to load the thing up you'll have a huge cargo area behind the 2nd row with three comfortable passengers in the second row. The Sienna comes with a 2nd row bench that can hold 3 adults just fine.

    I think the main reason the Mazda5 doesn't sell very well, is that if folks really need a minivan because they have 3 or more kids, then the Mazda 5 isn't large enough. But then if they only have two kids, then just about any car with four doors will work. So the only folks needing a Mazda5 type vehicle would be those with two kids, but on occasion need to carry one or two more, which probably isn't a very common scenario.
  • Yup, godeacs and davicho, I can be a little research-crazy at times. :) And I'm a tight-wad, so I really wanted to make a fuel-efficient car work.

    I haven't considered the Nissan yet, so I should lot at it, too. Thanks for the suggestion!
  • bobw, I wish I could afford something as new as 2-3 years old. Right now I'm driving a '97 Lumina with over 190,000 miles. It looks like a tank. About the only thing that's sound on it is the engine, but I'd keep it if my family wasn't growing. So I'm looking at something circa 2005.

    We test-drove a Sienna yesterday and fell in love with the middle seats. I especially like how the center seat can be mounted further forward, perfect for an infant car seat. That leaves even more shoulder room for adults riding in the middle row side seats. So... if we can find one we can afford. Otherwise a Caravan will meet our needs sufficiently.

    I agree with you about the narrow market for the Mazda5. I'm living proof!
  • bobw3bobw3 Posts: 2,997
    edited September 2012
    If it were me, I'd NEVER buy a used Caravan...they may be easier for mechanics to work on, but that's only because they have much experience working on them. With the Sienna, you'll have much less to work on. I'd pay a few thousand more for a Sienna as compared with an equal Caravan.

    Not very scientific, but something to look at:
    http://www.truedelta.com/Dodge-Grand-Caravan/reliability-73/vs-Sienna-275
  • Interesting data from truedelta. I wish they also posted data on the average $ spent on repairs. Rumor has it that the Toyota has fewer repairs, but often more expensive ones. Thoughts?

    (I'm tempted to fly to Texas or Florida for the best deals on Siennas. I'm seeing 2005 8-seaters with about 120,000 miles there for $7000.)
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 17,671
    I can tell you from having owned and worked on both, the mazda was easier than our T&C.

    The T&C has a small engine compartment opening relative to the engine size, first of all. The cab forward design buries a good part of the engine under the windshield. Not to mention, being taller, you aren't looking down into the engine compartment like in the mazda.

    As for working on the inside, due to the higher luxury of the T&C, it is just more complicated to take apart and route new electronics, for example.

    Like I said, most of it is perception. Its not like comparing working on an old pickup truck to a new MINI. It is comparing working on a decontented 4-cyl compact car to a V6 luxury ride packaged to give the most space possible inside while keeping the outside dimensions as small as reasonable.

    A couple of more examples I have and will have to deal with: there is no trans dipstick on our T&C, which makes for a big PITA when changing fluid. To change the spark plugs is nothing short of a miraculous feat. To get the front ones requires removing the intake manifold and to get the back ones requires working completely by feel with nothing to guide you and no room to move around in.

    '13 Stang GT; '15 Fit; '98 Volvo S70; '14 Town&Country

  • jpfjpf Posts: 496
    Another option is the Chevrolet Uplander / Pontiac Montana. I bought a 2007 model last year with 55k miles for under $12.5k (tax and licence included). For 2007 and 2008, these vans came with GM's 3900 V6. This is an OHV engine (i.e. no timing belt to worry about changing) and it has 240HP. This is plenty enough HP for a family and it's rated to tow 3500 lbs. The most reliable versions are the ones without the power sliding doors and without the stability control. I've got over 80k miles now and it does not burn any oil. The LT trim is best because you get a nice leather trim on the seats and the middle row seats get armrests. Good luck.
  • Thanks, all, for your help. I failed to mention it here when it happened, but around the start of October I flew to Dallas and bought a Toyota Sienna. A friend there test-drove it for me first, so I was quite confident. Thus far we're very happy. Only repairs have been new lift cylinders for the rear gate (off-brand solution via Amazon for about $20 and 10 minutes of my own labor) and 2 new tires, which I saw coming when I bought it. We're getting somewhere around 24 mpg (still tracking that). My wife is happy, which counts for a lot. :)
  • gsqdgsqd Posts: 2
    I know this thread is a coulple of months old, but as I read through it, all the decisions were based on how many miles when sold but the year of the vehicle was not taken into consideration.

    Mazda5's did not enter the US market until 2006, doing the math, the oldest Mazda5 with average miles would only be 78k total. Thoes that would be over 100kmi would have to be driven about 17kmi/year and that would be a 2006. So most likely, you will be pretty hard pressed to find a Mazda5 with over 125kmi and 150kmi would most likely not exist due to time factor, not reliability. So I hope this sheds some light why there is a much lower percentage of Mazda5's out there with more that 100kmi.
  • davichodavicho Posts: 190
    edited December 2012
    120K miles on my 2006 MZ5 Touring M/T. Not a single drop of oil consumption and still running strong. 5W20 Pennzoil Platinum Super Synthetic running through its veins and good old Motorcraft cartridge filter. Both replaced every 5K miles on the clock! Clutch, A/C compressor, and master cylinder have been the only components replaced besides normal wear and tear items.
  • gsqdgsqd Posts: 2
    I need to ask, have you been running synthetic oil since the beginning, or did you switch later, if so how many miles did it have when you switched to synthetic oil, thanks.
  • davichodavicho Posts: 190
    I bought mine used with 96K miles, so I am not sure of what the previous owner used. However, I switched to synthetic the week I got it.
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