Mazda5 Test Drive - What Did You Think?

PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAMember Posts: 9,372
edited May 2014 in Mazda
Have you taken a test drive in a 5? Post your reviews here.


  • vrmvrm Member Posts: 310
    4. i was disappointed with the cargo space when using the 3rd row. i don't think that we could even fit our evenflo stroller back there if we were going to dinner with the grandparents!

    I agree with you on the cargo volume. If you use the 3rd row, you have room for a couple of duffle bags or grocery bags. No more.

    I test drove a Mazda5 with three healthy adults in the car. A/C was on. The engine noise was quite loud and I could hear and feel the strain on the engine. Ultimately you get what you pay for: I dont expect to get a V6, 200+ HP engine for less than $20K.

    This vehicle has some strengths but it also compromises on a host of issues: engine torque, comfort (no window tint and front passenger arm rest) and safety. It is unclear what crash safety rating this vehicle will earn. It is also unclear if Mazda used the steel/iron bars in the doors. Not using the bars, lowers the door weight and "makes it easy to slide the door with a slight touch" as stated in the Mazda press release/web site.
  • whipped95whipped95 Member Posts: 46
    "4. i was disappointed with the cargo space when using the 3rd row. i don't think that we could even fit our evenflo stroller back there if we were going to dinner with the grandparents!"

    "I agree with you on the cargo volume. If you use the 3rd row, you have room for a couple of duffle bags or grocery bags. No more."

    I'm was also a bit dissapointed at the lack of cargo space with 3rd row up, but after looking at several suvs with 3rd row seating they too were a bit tight on space. Considering the overall size of the vehicle it's to be expected. Alternative is to get the roof rack installed when it becomes available, or a more compact stroller.
  • driverinvadriverinva Member Posts: 14
    I test drove a Mazda5 two weeks ago and really got excited about it. It had a lot of features that I wanted and I thought the flexibility was great. It's the only crossover vehicle that I've seen that still has the sliding doors which I like. I'm leery that my children may ding other people's cars when getting in and out if we switch to a car with conventional doors. (We're currently driving a Villager minivan with sliding doors.) So, I saw the doors as a plus. I've looked at most all the crossovers and have narrowed it down to this car, the Honda Pilot, and the Ford Freestyle. I love the gas mileage on this one!

    My drawbacks with the Mazda5 are the seat material and no air vents for the second or third row seats. I was hoping for leather in my next vehicle, but can understand why Mazda isn't offering it yet in this car and it's not something that I have to have. Can anyone (especially folks who have bought the car) tell me what they thought of the nylon material that Mazda is using in the 5. Our other cars with cloth have a more velour material rather than the polyester. I test drove the car during a week when we were having 90 degree heat. After being in the car only 10 minutes (with the AC running), the backs of my legs were sweating. That hasn't happened before in either of our current cars with the velour cloth. Is that something that happens often with the polyester, or do you think it's because the material is black, thus more heat absorption? I wonder if it will cause the sweating when the temps are in the 70s and 80s because it's polyester or if that was just because it was an extremely hot week. Any insight?

    Also, I'm concerned about not having vents for the back passengers. I don't want them to be hot in the summer heat or on long summer trips. Can anyone tell me what they think of the AC system? Can it circulate air to the back passengers and keep them cool without freezing the front passengers.

    I'd buy this car right away if it weren't for these two concerns. It was a fun, quiet, agile, and versatile car to drive. Also, I was skeptical of the four cylinder, but surprised by it's acceleration. I'm sure that it helps that it has less weight to pull around than some of the other crossovers.

    Thanks for any input. :)
  • frank4carsfrank4cars Member Posts: 98
    I haven't noticed any difference in heat between this material and my old Civic's velour-type cloth. In fact, I see this kind of material as a definite step up. More hip and I would guess, more durable. The A/C issue has been brought up numerous times. The easiest way to take care of your concern is to angle the dash vents upwards to cool the hot air along the headliner. I was driving around in 90 degree heat with 5 adults and nobody complained. If you already like the car and these are your only concerns, I'd say go for it. I've had mine for a month and I still love everything about it.
  • smariasmaria Member Posts: 279
    I've had my Mazda5 for a few weeks now, and I love it! The seat material seems durable and comfortable...I haven't noticed it retaining heat in any unusual fashion.

    As for the A/C, I was also concerned about no rear vents, but I've found that the air actually circulates pretty well from the front to the back in my Mazda5, so there's not really a need for extra vents in the back. The car does take a while to cool down in 90+ weather though (the black interior doesn't help). I felt like the A/C worked great in 70-80-85-degree weather, but it feels slightly weak when the outside temps get up over 90 with high humidity (the way it's been here in NJ for the past week). This is only noticable on shorter trips...on longer trips, once the Mazda5 has cooled down, my Mazda5's A/C has been able to make 2nd row passengers too cold even in 90+ outside weather.

    If these are your only 2 concerns, I think you'll be happy with a Mazda5 :D
  • bobw3bobw3 Member Posts: 2,989
    I was looking at the Mazda5 but I ended up going for the Freestyle. For me it was a matter of space, since for a month over the summer we did a lot of road trips and the 5 just didn't have enough space inside. My mother-in-law liked the row 3 bench for herself, my wife was in the 2nd row passenger side with the front pass seat flat, baby seat in the middle of the 2nd row bench, and brother-in-law to the left of baby seat. Plus luggage behind row 3. Pretty good setup for 10+ hour/day drives. In the Freestyle the rear A/C ducts were a must, but as long as you don't have the same space issue as me, I'd say go for the mazda5.
  • bobw3bobw3 Member Posts: 2,989
    one more thing...if you haven't already done it, then fill up the car during a test drive with everyone and the stuff you'd normally carry to give you a more accurate indication of the space.
  • driverinvadriverinva Member Posts: 14
    Thanks for the tip on angling the vents upward. I'll try it tomorrow as I'm going on another test drive tomorrow with my children. I want to see how the car does with more passengers. You mentioned that you drove with 5 adults in the car. Was there a noticeable reduction in acceleration and passing power when carrying that many passengers? I'm wondering how the car will do with four people and vacation luggage on trips through the Virginia/Pennsylvania mountains. Will I miss the small 170-hp V6 of my current minivan or will the Mazda 5 be able to do the same job without straining? :confuse:
  • driverinvadriverinva Member Posts: 14
    Thanks for the feedback. It sounds like you were feeling the same heat that we were!
  • smariasmaria Member Posts: 279
    Will I miss the small 170-hp V6 of my current minivan or will the Mazda 5 be able to do the same job without straining?

    A quick Villager/Mazda5 comparison:

    Mercury Villager: 170-hp, 4050 pounds: 0.042-hp per pound
    Mazda5: 157-hp, 3389 pounds (for the AT): 0.046-hp per pound

    So, the Mazda5 has more hp-per-pound. If we fill each of them up with 1000 pounds of people/stuff:

    Villager: 0.034-hp per pound
    Mazda5: 0.036-hp per pound

    The Mazda5 still wins. Horespower isn't the whole story (torque and other things are important too), but the Mazda5 has more HP per pound than the Villager, so you shouldn't miss your Villager's 170-hp. My guess is the Mazda5 will feel more powerful! The best way to find out for sure is to do a test drive.
  • frank4carsfrank4cars Member Posts: 98
    The power seems more than adequate. The light weight of the vehicle compared to most other minivans on the market (600-1200 lbs.) means you will have a better power to weight ratio in the MZ5 with it's 157 hp 4-cylinder. It's not a sports car, but it still felt plenty quick for my driving needs. I'll put it this way, there was never a time when I was slapping the dashboard, urging it to go faster. I'll have to see how it feels going through the mountains on the way to Las Vegas next month to see how it really compares to our Passat wagon and old Civic.
  • driverinvadriverinva Member Posts: 14
    I took the Mazda5 for another test drive yesterday and took more people and some boxes of stuff to load in the back. The car still drove great and the extra load didn't seem to affect the acceleration at all. That was positive.

    The outside temp was 85 and sunny (rather than 95 and hot like last week), but the AC still didn't seem adequate for the middle seats even though I had it on full speed 70% of the time. (I turned it off the other 30% to see how the wind noise and road noise were.) I tilted them upward as mentioned on this board. My daughter complained that she was still too hot and I didn't think the air ever felt cold, just cool.

    The dealer said that Mazda has sent notice that the coolant that is put in the cars in Japan is not as good as it should be. And if the dealer drains the original coolant and puts in new coolant that improves the AC a lot. Has anyone else heard this? Have any purchasers had their dealer do this or know if their dealer putting in new coolant to improve their AC?
  • bobw3bobw3 Member Posts: 2,989
    Sounds like a line to me. If that's the case, then have the dealer just put the new coolant into the AC lines and see. It should be easy enough. But I think that AC coolant is the same for every car. When you get an AC recharged, it doesn't matter what vehicle you have. There's the old freeon and the new stuff, but each car doesn't have a different type of AC coolant. Plus if the only way to get cool air in the back like some have posted is to put the fan setting on 3, do you really want to drive all the time with the fan noise? And if your daughters were warm in the middle seats, what about the rear?
  • bfyerxabfyerxa Member Posts: 78
    Went and test drove a GT 5spd today. My wife had already drove one a couple of weeks ago. She shocked me by saying how much she loved it given that she is a staunch Honda person. Interestingly, the demo had the windows tinted, and I live in Ottawa! (granted, it has been hot here as well). The sales guy (who was quite good) pointed out the tinting and said how the web chatter was all over the A/C. He acknowledged the issue and said it's basically a "greenhouse" effect issue - too much window for too little AC.

    Anyhow, I liked the thing. We our coming out of an 02 CR-V lease (5spd), and the power was just like I expected given the weight and power numbers between the 2 vehicles. Gearing ratios were virutally identical between the Mazda and CR-V. The 5spd was OK, but I would imagine the auto would be too gutless for me. Otherwise, it drove well - handling, braking, etc. I was amazed at the space in the rear. I sat in the 3rd row and as long as the seat in front was moved up a bit, I could survive back there for an hour or so (I'm 5-10).

    Given the price ($6k CDN less than the '05 CR-V we would be getting otherwise), I believe we will be buying/leasing one within a few weeks. I've got to give Mazda credit; getting my wife out of a Honda is nothing short of miraculous!
  • momstoymomstoy Member Posts: 30
    Just went out for dinner tonight with 5 adults and 1 child. The two adults in the 3rd row said they fit just fine - my brother who is 5'11" and my neice who is 5'5" - the middle row was then occupied by my 7 year old in a car seat and my sister-in-law (5'10") I had thought that legroom would have been more of an issue since they sat with the 3 tallest people in the car all sitting in a row one behind the other. My husband (6'0") was driving. But those in the back were all exclaiming surprise at not being cramped.

    Also, much to my surprise - they said that they could feel the A/C just fine.(I angle the middle vents straight up and close the side vents completely)

    Another thing that I knew about, but was surprised with in reality was the way that the seating is configured so that you can see everyone from the front seats. I was sitting in the passenger seat and turned to say something to my brother in the 3rd row and I could actually see all 4 passengers and hold a single conversation with ease.
  • smariasmaria Member Posts: 279
    Also, much to my surprise - they said that they could feel the A/C just fine.(I angle the middle vents straight up and close the side vents completely)

    I had the same experience this weekend while driving some friends around in 85+ degree weather (one friend in the passenger seat and 2 in the 2nd row). Because of all of the AC discussion that's gone on in these forums, I was worried that the AC might not be reaching the 2nd row. So I asked my friends if they were cool enough. They replied that they were fine, and that they could feel the AC breeze both on their faces and on their feet/legs!

    I was very surprised by the "on their feet" comment. Our Mazda salesman told us that the AC comes out from below the 2nd row seats (no recognizable "vents", but the AC comes out through the tracks that the 2nd row seats are mounted on)...this might be what my friends could feel. Either way, everyone was happy :D
  • momstoymomstoy Member Posts: 30
    While reaching under the front seats for a little matchbox car that was evading me - I could see what looked like AC vents under the seats. Perhaps they actually work!
  • bobw3bobw3 Member Posts: 2,989
    Since heat rises and cold air goes down, it's hard to see how vents under the front seats would do much good in cooling the back. Might be better to leave the setting to the front panels and angle them up to allow the air to reach the back as was suggested by others.
  • driverinvadriverinva Member Posts: 14
    Thanks for all the input regarding the seat cloth and air vents. I want to give you some updates. A few weeks ago, I took my husband (and children) to test drive the Mazda5. Again it was a hot (90 degree) day, and I thought I'd try opening all the windows and the sunroof and running the air while my husband looked over the car. This would allow some of the hot air that was in the car to be blown out before we got in, shut all the windows, and drove off. I also sat in the second seat while my husband and the dealer sat in front. I thought that I'd see for myself if it was too hot back there as my daughter had said that it was in a previous test drive. I was pleasantly surprised. As others have posted, I was able to feel the cool air both from the dash vents and the floor vents. I found it to be a comfortable ride in the back seat. I've also found the seat cloth to be very comfortable, too. No more sweating like with the first test drive. I think that in the previous test drives, we got in the car too quickly without letting the car air out for a bit before taking it on the road. Since the cars are kept in the hot August sun, with all the windows rolled up, and it being in the low to mid 90s, getting in it with the windows rolled up and AC on and driving off for the test drive was essentially like getting into an oven and driving!! That's why it seemed like the AC wasn't adequate. But in reality it is adequate, enough so that we decided to buy the Mazda5! (I'll post more on that in another post.) My husband test drove three cars during our car shopping phase and with the Mazda5 he actually looked like he was having fun!
  • smariasmaria Member Posts: 279
    But in reality it is adequate, enough so that we decided to buy the Mazda5!

    Congrats! I hope you like your Mazda5 as much as my wife and I like ours :)

    It'd be great if you could post about your buying experience (like what options/color you got, what other cars you test drove, etc.) on the Mazda5's "Prices Paid and Buying Experience" forum.
  • car007car007 Member Posts: 7
    We test drove the mazda5 today. The colors in internet and real colors are so different. Before buying make sure you have seen the actual color. In our current car, we have three seats in the second row. so my 1 1/2 year old son can climb up the seats by himself by just climbing to the regular seat first and then climb to the child seat. In M5 since it is captain seats he cannot clim up himself up to the child seat. Also when he sits in the child seat, it looks as if he is really higher than the driver seat. How is the experience with small child with car seat for others who are using M5? In some way this is good because my son has direct view through the front, instead of those driver seats hiding them. But it looks different for us to see. Also there are only two seats in second row, so it is quite different than the large three seats in second row in our current car. With three seats my wife can sit near my son if needed, but now she has to sit away from my son. This is something which we have to get used to, I guess. During test drive, there were four people in the car and I felt the suspension is not very smooth, felt little harder. May be it is tuned for 6 people. The ride was quiet though. Overall experience, very good looking car, but very different than passenger cars.
  • bobw3bobw3 Member Posts: 2,989
    The lack of 3 in the second row turns me off on the Mazda 5. I'd rather see a 60/40 split 2nd row. You can always fold-tip the 2nd row for access anyway. You don't need to slide between the two 2nd row seats. Plus I like the idea of putting the infant seat in the middle of the second row (like we did on our Corolla). Just gives more seating options than only two in the 2nd row.
  • nissmazlovernissmazlover Member Posts: 162
    Well, I personally LOVE the fabric/material in the 5. I think it's comfortable, looks modern and is very durable. I don't know if you got to notice it when you test drove the car, but the fabric on the seats is actually easily removable and can be washed (check out the zipper behind the front seats - my wife was very excited when we found this and she is a cleaning freak). I also haven't noticed me sweating behind my legs when driving this car at all, and I have had it since July here in NYC where the summers get ridiculously hot and humid. So, I think the seat fabric is great!

    As far as the A/C goes, I have seen the issue brought up here a few times, with many saying that the A/C didn't work so well for them, but have often wondered if these people were used to living in IGLOOS up in the artic or something! I find the A/C to be GREAT! It cools quickly and many times we have had to lower the temp, the fan or turn it completely off since the cabin got very cold - including for my mother and children sitting in the back. So, no, I have not had an issue with the A/C at all and feel it works great for all - even the ones in the back. Just make sure to point the vents upward so as to cool the risen hot air.

    I whole-heartedly recommend this car to you! I absolutely LOVE mine - and more than any other car!
  • charlotte7charlotte7 Member Posts: 144
    The AC issue is not a joke. I test drove a 5 in July in 100+ degree heat and the AC was almost unbearable. It did not even really cool the front seats.

    I test drove another one again a week ago in December in 70 degree weather and I could still tell that the AC wasn't what I would call chilly. I have an ancient Mazda MX-6 with a leak in the coolant line, and it is about as cold with this problem as the Mazda5 is brand new. I am really disappointed in this, because in every other respect the 5 is a PERFECT car for me and I would have bought one on the spot. I had talked myself into believing that the AC issue we saw in July was a figment of my imagination, but it was not.

    I live in Texas and we absolutely have to have arctic air conditioning here. It was 108 in *October*. Would you want to drive around in that without decent AC?

    I have a good friend who has a Mazda3 and it's AC is perfectly fine. It also has the round shaped AC vents like the Mazda6 does, and I think those provide better airflow. I had an old Tercel with vents shaped like that and it had the best AC of any car I've driven.
  • nissmazlovernissmazlover Member Posts: 162
    Well, all I can speak of is from my own personal experience. I have actually OWNED the car since July, test drove it in the middle of NYC summer heat, BOUGHT it and have taken it on VARIOUS SUMMER long ROAD trips and the A/C was always up to the task. Like I said, many times I even had to lower it since the cabin got too cold. Mind you, I LOOOVE A/C - the colder the better.

    All I am saying is that, with MY personal experience, the a/c is not a problem and I couldn't understand others who have had a problem, again, because of my experience with my Mazda5. I wasn't downplaying anyone's problems, just speaking from my perspective.

    Now, please relax, charlotte7, I wasn't making a "joke" out of your seemingly very serious and traumatic experience with the Mazda5's air condition system.
  • charlotte7charlotte7 Member Posts: 144
    It would only have been traumatic if I'd already spent $18K on the car. Seeing as how I didn't, I'm fine.

    I live in Central Texas. I suspect NYC is a bit cooler than it is down here, too.
  • tehmanntehmann Member Posts: 3
    charlotte7 is right. My wife and I test drove a Mazda5 in Ft. Worth, Texas on a HOT summer day this past August. The AC was a joke. The salesman kept saying "It'll cool down in a minute". I sat in the back (middle) seat and it NEVER cooled down. I'm sure it would be a little better with window tint but I was really disappointed in the Mazda5 AC. Hopefully Mazda will boost the AC system in next year's model.
  • riproyriproy Member Posts: 57
    I test drove a manual M5 GT yesterday and noticed that the RPMs are quite high at cruising speed. At 100 km/h or just over 60 mph the RPMs were hovering around 3000 RPM. Does anyone else find this odd? Our automatic Nissan Axxess revs at less than 2500 RPM at the same speed.
  • wa98stratwa98strat Member Posts: 66
    Yes, It's different Though not too odd. My old Sidekick used to be the same. The engine was running 3000-3200 rpm at highway speeds.
  • kivokivo Member Posts: 64
    I've been reading a lot of opinions on the M5 A/C. It seems that there is a big difference of opinion. I'm interested in purchasing a 2007 and this is a very important issue to me. I did take a test drive last fall when the weather was still warm and the A/C seemed OK. I really don't care about the back seats very much since they will be rarely occupied. I hope the A/C has been looked at by Mazda. It's the only thing that concerns me.
  • riproyriproy Member Posts: 57
    We did a long trip on the weekend in 32C (90F) weather with 5 occupants in the vehicle. We have tinted our windows (7 panels). The A/C worked fine for us. Everyone was comfortable.

    As others have mentioned - there is a lot of cabin space to cool and only the front vents to do it. It will not cool as fast as a car with smaller cabin space. We tinted our windows partially to keep it cooler and it does help. Some have made comments regarding A/C that didn't get cold at all - this is not our experience.
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAMember Posts: 9,372
    Beat the heat (going to need to do that here in the East!) tonight and stop in for a bit of car chat!

    The Mazda Club Chat is on tonight. The chat room opens at 8:45PM ET Hope to see YOU there! Check out the schedule
  • mazdalvrmazdalvr Member Posts: 16
    I have two little ones and we have no issues with the seating arrangements. It would be nice if they threw in an arm rest for the passenger seat but o-well. Its nice how much easier it is to get the kids in the seats. I had a suzuki Forenza and we were cramped. As far as the suspension just remember Mazda tends to lean more towards performance and a tight ride. I am sure if you moved up to a 55 series tire you would have a smoother ride but I like the Toyo's that came with the car and when I am going around corners and turns in the road I am glad the ride is a little hard. :shades:
  • minisubminisub Member Posts: 8
    I just had my Mazda 5 tinted this week (darkest I can find, only in the rear, front passenger windows are not tinted due to California law.) and took for a long test drive. The A/C worked much better compare before. After 10 minutes at full blast I had to turn A/C down a bit. The outside temperatue was 103 according to the car thermometer. I think A/C issue can be resolved in 2 steps:

    1. get your Mazada 5 tinted, choose darkest tint. Cost me $200 USD, but with life time warranty from 3M.

    2. when you have passenger in the back crank up your A/C and point your vents toward them.

    Mazada 5 is a great car for the money. From my personal experience A/C is not an issue. I guess you can bargain w/ the dealer to get them to throw in the tint for free. :)
  • mazdalvrmazdalvr Member Posts: 16
    I noticed the same thing I was waiting for the trans to shift again but it didnt that is a little concerning. How long can this motor run like this? I am wondering if some extra horse power would resolve this issue?
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAMember Posts: 9,372
  • vicenacvicenac Member Posts: 229
    No posts here since 06....
    I test drove a 5 in 05 and 07 and have been disapointed both time with lack of power, noise and interior. I've been waiting for a redesign and I got excited by the new interior and the new 5 speed AT.
    I test drove a Touring in July 09. I was impressed. The new AT does wonders! The car flew with 3 adults and a kid (my wife was driving). When I drove I noticed that even though I floored it in the second gear, there was not much response. So mainly mannered driving only!
    The noise (engine) was much better then expected, though I was successfull in making it scream.
    I played with manual shifting and saw that it was pretty slow to react. I also saw that it indicates the speed (gear) selected in the dashboard. Unfortunately, it shows a big "0" when shifted back in D. Now that I think about it, maybe it shows "D" and not "0", but I would like it better like in CX-7, which shows the gear number all the time.
    Otherwise I am delighted with the interior.
    Overall I can say it's a small car - no way around it. But if you know this going in, you'll survive. The steering (sourced from Ford Escort/Focus) is fantastic. The brakes could be better, when compared with the CX-7, at least. They stop the car allright, but the pedal requires a little more effort then I'd like, which makes it more dificult to modulate properly.
    I'm getting one.
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