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Review (2/2)

MAZDA5: Seating for Six and Savings at the Pump

Source: Mazda | Published: Tue Aug 24, 2010

(continued from the previous page)

Step one was to make the cabin as spacious and comfortable as possible. Three features contribute to the MAZDA5's roomy interior: a low profile fuel tank, a compact multi-link rear suspension, and a stepped floor. The latter permits excellent legroom for all - especially those sitting in rows two and three. Even in the back row, legroom is a generous 30.7 inches. In the second row, legroom is a comfortable 35.2 inches.

The ingeniously flexible interior takes convenience and versatility to a whole new level. The second row has captain's chairs for big-car levels of comfort. They slide and recline and can be folded flat without removing their headrests. They feature a one-touch lever that automatically tips the seatback forward and slides the cushion to its front-most position to allow access to the third row.

The third row seats are split 50:50. They can be tipped forward individually and folded flat to create a flat load area, ideal for carrying mountain bikes or bulky sports equipment. With the rear-most seats folded flat, carrying capacity is an enormous 44.4 cubic feet.

Interior storage space includes many ingenious compartments, including a vast glovebox and half-liter bottle holders in each front door pocket.

The MAZDA5 features 'theater-style' seating. The stepped floor referred to earlier means that each subsequent row is mounted a little higher than the one before it to improve visibility for all. The driver, too, benefits from excellent visibility, improving primary safety as well as making driving more enjoyable. Additionally, three-point seat belts and head restraints are offered for all six seats.

Safety is led by advanced front air bags that use sensors to measure seat occupants' weight, severity of the impact and distance from seat to dash, before deploying. Side airbags also are standard, as are curtain airbags that run the full length of the cabin to protect occupants in all three rows of seats. LATCH-style rear child safety seat anchors and tethers are fitted to the second row seats.

Economical 153-hp Engine

MAZDA5 is powered by a 2.3-liter, four-cylinder engine, good for 153 horsepower at 6,500 rpm and 148 lb-ft of torque at 4,500 rpm. Similar to the MZR-series engine in the MAZDA3 , MAZDA6, MX-5, and Tribute, the engine has 16-valves, double overhead camshafts and utilizes an aluminum block and head for light weight, which in turn improves handling by minimizing weight over the front axle. Lightweight pistons help improve smoothness, throttle response and the engine's ability to rev, while variable induction mixes good low-end torque with strong high-revving power. The power goes to the road through a short-shift, fast-moving, five-speed manual gearbox.

A sophisticated five-speed electronically controlled automatic gearbox is utilized, resulting in a fuel economy of 21 mpg city/ 27 mpg highway. Manual transmission models achieve fuel economy of 22 mpg city/ 28 mpg highway.

The suspension is fully independent, as on the best sportscars. Anti-roll bars are fitted front and rear for flat handling, minimal body roll and great driver feedback. The stiff body is mated to a suspension specially designed to resist body roll. It also provides a fine balance between precise road feedback for maximum driving fun, and the cushioned stability needed for a comfortable ride with up to six people on board.

The MacPherson strut front suspension and rear multi-link system give superior road holding and also cope superbly with the broad range in weights of passengers and luggage that will be possible in the six-seat MAZDA5.

The advanced Electro-Hydraulic Power-Assisted Steering (EHPAS) also helps the car's dynamic qualities and ease of driving (not to mention the fun of driving!). The hydraulic steering pump is driven electrically, rather than by the engine. Mazda engineers have chosen this set-up over pure hydraulic power steering because it uses less energy and is more fuel efficient.

Steering is by a precise and responsive rack-and-pinion setup. Its variable ratio electro-hydraulic power assistance provides low-speed steering ease and great high-speed feedback.

Large disc brakes are fitted front and rear; the front discs are ventilated for extra cooling and better stopping power in tough conditions, such as repeated braking on long downhill sections of road. An Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) prevents lock-up and aids in maintaining steering control even when braking heavily.

Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD) and Emergency Brake Assist (EBA) further enhance braking performance when you're in a hurry to stop fast. EBD ensures correct balance between front and rear braking in an emergency, irrespective of the vehicle's load, while EBA gives added boost to the braking power in an emergency stop. Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) is standard on all models.

Attractive 17-inch alloy wheels, similar to those used on Mazda sports cars, are standard.

The MAZDA5 is also a light vehicle. At just 3,422 lbs., the MAZDA5's light weight contributes to its high performance, responsive handling and exceptional gas mileage.

Sliding Doors

Superbly practical manual-sliding rear side doors can be operated with one finger. They hug the sides of the vehicle when open, and create a wide opening for easy entry and exit to the rear seats - even for the third row of passengers. Rear door openings are 27.5 inches wide and 42.6 inches high, providing far superior access compared with conventional hinged doors. The sliding rear doors also make parking in tight spaces easier because the doors require little side clearance when open.

Furthermore, the tailgate is easy to use. Its two-stage opening mechanism has its first stop at a height most can easily reach. The second fully open stop is three inches higher to accommodate taller people. A low sill height makes for easy loading.

Such large side openings, and the large tailgate, could have compromised structural rigidity - a key quality on any car designed to satisfy sporty drivers. Mazda has avoided this problem by developing an immensely strong all-steel unibody construction. Unibody construction is typical on sedans and sportscars - but not on SUVs, nor some minivans. The stiff bodyshell has enormous benefits for the vehicle's handling, crash safety, refinement and noise, vibration and harshness (NVH). It contributes to the vehicle's quietness, which reduces driver and passenger fatigue. The precision engineering of the vehicle is obvious from the quality and feel of the hardware, such as the door handles. This is a car that speaks quality, wherever you look or touch.

While carrying capacity and ease-of-use may be impressive, the MAZDA5 also is built very much around the driver. Electroluminescent gauges face the driver. Visibility is excellent, and controls are all within easy reach of the driver. They envelop you, providing a cockpit-feel more than a mere cabin. The center console is raised to position the controls, including the manual or automatic shift lever, as close as possible to the driver, to improve visibility and operation.

Like a premium import, the MAZDA5 uses superior trim and fabrics. More refined, metallic finishers are used in the interior. The fabric is soft and the black or sand upholstery muted and tasteful. Comfort is further enhanced by the superb ride quality, a result of the fully independent coil-spring suspension and generous cushioning of all six seats.

Well Equipped

All models get 17-inch alloy wheels, body-color power remote door mirrors and rear wiper with washer. Standard interior fittings include automatic air conditioning with pollen filter and second row cool air vents with fan speed controls, electroluminescent gauges, power door locks and windows, second row under-seat storage, a second-row foldout table with cargo storage and dual cupholders, and remote keyless entry. TPMS and cruise control also are standard, and the controls are steering wheel-mounted for superior ergonomics. Also standard are steering wheel-mounted supplemental audio controls, which regulate the standard AM/FM/CD stereo with audio auxiliary input connection and six speakers.

The Touring model adds a leather-wrapped steering wheel, an in-dash six-disc CD changer, a tilt-and-slide electric moonroof, fog lamps, LED taillights, a rear liftgate spoiler and side sill extensions.

The top-range Grand Touring models give MAZDA5 owners a little more style and sophistication with heated leather-trimmed seats, security alarm, Bluetooth hands-free phone system, auto on/off headlights, heated door mirrors and rain-sensing wipers and Xenon/High-Intensity Discharge (HID) headlights with manual leveling. Optional for the Grand Touring model is a voice-command DVD satellite navigation system.

Key accessories include an overhead DVD Rear Seat Entertainment System, In-Dash 6-Disc CD changer, Sirius satellite radio with 6-month subscription, Compass Auto-dimming mirror with Homelink, interior cargo cover, cargo net, all-weather floor mats and a moonroof wind deflector.

All 2010 Mazdas come with a roadside assistance program. With a call to a toll-free number, owners can access roadside assistance 24 hours a day, 365 days a year throughout the United States and Canada. In addition, a comprehensive three-year/36,000-mile warranty covers every part on the vehicle except those subject to normal wear. Also, all 2010 models receive a five-year/60,000 mile powertrain warranty and a five-year/unlimited-mileage corrosion warranty.

Mazda MAZDA5: Photo Gallery, Review (1/2) and Specifications

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