INTRO: Say goodbye to the notion that minivans are boxy. The completely redesigned 2012 MAZDA5 will turn your thinking (and more than a few heads) around with its sporty good looks, and the suggestion that, yes, driving the kids to school, soccer and a laundry list of activities could actually be fun.
Smaller than the typical minivan, the MAZDA5 handles more like a car than an oversized SUV and is much easier to maneuver through traffic and into tight parking spots. Available trims include the base Sport, Touring and the top of the line Grand Touring.
PERFORMANCE: All models receive a fuel injected 2.5-liter inline four-cylinder engine sending 157 horsepower and 163 pound-feet of torque to the front wheels through a six-speed manual transmission or available 5-speed automatic with manual shift mode.
FUEL ECONOMY: Here are the EPA estimates for fuel economy:
FEATURES: Roomy, with comfortable seating for six passengers, the MAZDA5 features sliding second-row captain's chairs and a 50/50 split fold-down third row seatback. With the third row folded down, the 44.4 cubic feet of cargo space is more than enough for luggage or sports equipment. The low cargo floor permits easy load-in through the rear liftgate. Sliding rear doors provide easy access to the rear seats. The second row features a foldout table with dual cup holders. Storage cubbies abound throughout the cabin.
Standard in all models are power mirrors, windows and door locks and a six speaker sound system with CD and MP3 compatibility. Bluetooth hands-free phone and audio capability is standard in the upper trims. An in dash 6-disc CD changer and a power sliding moonroof with sunshade are available.
SAFETY: Standard safety features include advanced front and front side-impact air bags with passenger-weight and driver's seat-position sensors. All three rows are protected with side-impact air curtains. Additional standard safety equipment includes anti-lock brakes, dynamic stability control and traction control.
PRICING: Base MSRP for the 2012 MAZDA5 is $19,625. A Grand Touring model starts at $24,025.
WARRANTY: The Mazda5 is backed by a 3-year, 36,000-mile basic warranty and a 5-year, 60,000-mile powertrain warranty. Both warranties are transferable.
CLOSING: Translating the Japanese "Nagare" or "flow" styling into a workable, convenient design for the 2012 MAZDA5 means that families now have a minivan that's sized right for easy, everyday living.