Reviews

2013 Mazda 5 Walk Around

Design of the 2013 Mazda5 is based on the Nagare, or flow in nature, design language, the first Mazda to be designed using this philosophy. Its hallmark is an upside-down pentagon grille up front and a flowing design up over the front fenders and down the sides.

The Mazda5 has integrated halogen headlamps at the front corners, creating a line that goes up over the front fenders like other Mazdas, and then all the way to the rear of the car through the centerline of the body.

The lower body is sculpted with an upswept line starting just behind the front tires and extending up and over the rear wheel wells. With the five-point lower grille and the five-point rear window glass, this couldn't be anything but a Mazda, mimicking as it does the Mazda 3, Mazda 6, RX-8, CX-7, and CX-9 in its front and rear layouts. This car looks like it's smiling at you.

With these styling cues, the Mazda 5 has a bolder and sportier look than the slab-sided approach usually reserved for minivan bodies. The body has been shaped with sculpted sheet metal and a severely laid-back windshield, with a rear roof spoiler on the Grand Touring version.

The design is not only attractive, but helps to achieve a remarkably low coefficient of drag for a minivan, 0.30, which helps with wind noise and maximize fuel efficiency.

Interior

The Mazda5 interior is very versatile and can be configured for two, three, four, five, or six occupants in some 16 different configurations. The second-row captain's chairs flop forward and slide for access to the 50/50 folding third-row bench seat, and there is hidden storage under each chair, not to mention a standard fold-out tray table and cupholder setup that fits between the two captain's chairs when needed.

The instrument panel contains the usual two round gauges with lights and indicators in between the deeply tunneled clusters and is designed together with a second large, horizontal binnacle in the center of the instrument panel to house the time, temperature, fuel economy, sound system and climate control readouts, with the CD slot below, a very pleasingly laid-out sound system control center, and a three-dial HVAC control panel at the bottom (automatic climate control front and rear air-conditioning with pollen filtration is standard equipment). The shifter, whether manual or automatic, resides in the bottom center of the instrument panel.

The three-spoke steering wheel has a thick rim and a thickly padded hub with convenient switches for the sound system on the left, cruise control system on the right, and telephone on the lower left. The thick steering wheel is pleasant to hold onto, and the Mazda 5 is made more comfortable with a combination of a tilt/telescope steering column and adjustable seat height. Taken together, the Mazda 5's interior components add up to a very livable, easy-to-use whole with good quality plastics, a minimum of brightwork, plenty of storage, and high functionality.

As for storage, the rated cargo capacity of the Mazda 5 is 5.6 cubic feet behind the flipping and folding third-row bench seat, with 27.5 cubic feet with the second seat folded flat and 55.4 cubic feet with both rows of seats folded flat.

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