The FREE Complete Bay Area Auto Enthusiast Guide

This one defies any category. However, it has been termed a “microvan” for being smaller and cheaper than regular minivans. Sharing its basic design with the compact Mazda3, the midsize Mazda5 continues as is in the 2015 model year. Its base Sport, mid-level Touring and up-level Grand Touring share a common power train: 2.5-liter DOHC inline-4 cylinder developing 157 horsepower at 6000 rpm and 163 pounds-feet of torque at 4000 rpm. Only one piece of bad news for stick-shift enthusiasts: the 6-speed manual gear box has been axed. The 5-speed automatic is the only transmission available.
It is rightly for flexible and practical purposes that the six-passenger Mazda5 has an edge over its rivals. Take the minivan-like, rear-sliding doors for easy entry and exit to the cabin. The second-row seat reclines and slides fore and aft so children so slip into the 50/50 third-row seat, which when flat, nets you 44.4 cubic feet of cargo space. Storage areas are ample such as hidden trays under the second-row seats and cargo hold, flip-and-fold-out tray table, glove box, front center console and coin holder. Leather on the seats, shifter knob and tilt/telescopic steering wheel, auto climate control, power windows, door locks and moon roof, remote keyless entry and a trip computer are a few of the standard conveniences.
Launched as a 2006 model, the nimble Mazda5 flaunts plentiful cargo and passenger capability, decent fuel mileage and affordable price. The result is a remarkably valuable package. And if it is dubbed a “microvan,” so be it!

Wheelbase: 108.3 inches
Length: 180.5 inches
Suspension: MacPherson strut front, E-type multilink rear
Fuel capacity: 15.9 gallons 
City: 21 mpg
Highway: 28 mpg
Base price: $24,770
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