2015 Mazda 5

What's new for 2015? For 2015, the Mazda 5 sees just a minor equipment shuffling and the deletion of the six-speed manual transmission.

Given the considerably large size of nearly every "minivan" currently offered, the vehicular term is rather laughable. An exception to this oxymoron is the 2015 Mazda 5, a relatively small van that offers the easy maneuverability and good gas mileage its petite size suggests.

Although it seats a maximum of six versus seven or even eight that you get from a regular minivan, the Mazda 5 otherwise offers most of the perks of minivan ownership. Its lightweight sliding rear doors, for example, provide easy entry and exit and eliminate the chance of your kids whacking adjacent cars while they hop in and out of the 5 while parked in crowded parking lots. There are also plenty of handy storage cubbies as well as something you wouldn't expect in a minivan: a fun-to-drive demeanor that comes by way of the Mazda's sporty suspension and steering tuning.

Exterior Highlights
Three-row, six-passenger compact minivan available in Sport, Touring and GrandTouring trim levels

The 2015 Mazda 5 is a three-row, six-passenger compact minivan available in Sport, Touring and Grand Touring trim levels.

The Sport comes standard with 16-inch alloy wheels, full power accessories, keyless entry, cruise control, automatic climate control (with rear vents and fan controls), a height-adjustable driver seat, 50/50-split rear folding seats, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player, USB port and an auxiliary audio jack.

The 5 Touring adds 17-inch alloy wheels, foglights, a rear spoiler, rear parking sensors, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter, a trip computer and Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity.

The 5 Grand Touring comes with a sunroof, automatic xenon headlights, heated mirrors, automatic wipers, driver lumbar adjustment, heated front seats, leather upholstery and satellite radio.

The Mazda 5 also offers a few stand-alone options including remote ignition, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and a rear-seat DVD entertainment system.

Second-row chairs slide and recline, sleek and modern dashboard, comfortable front seats, sliding door openings with easy access to third row

The Mazda 5 is obviously smaller than what typically passes for a minivan today, but it still packs plenty of interior versatility. Comfortable second-row captain's chairs slide and recline, while the passenger-side seat features a nifty fold-out center table/storage net that can snap into place between the seats, then be stowed away later to create a walk-through to the third row.

Up front, the dash layout looks sleek, simple and modern, with the exception of an abundance of audio control buttons. But controls are easy to reach and use, which helps the 5 feel much more like a regular car from behind the wheel. The front seats provide respectable comfort, but longer-legged adults will definitely wish for more rearward seat travel.

Aided by wide sliding door openings, the Mazda 5's third row offers easier access than just about any three-row crossover. The 50/50-split-folding seats are best suited to kids, however, because of a lack of adult-suitable legroom and headroom. The second row is quite roomy by comparison.

Though the Mazda 5 may truly represent a "mini" van, it doesn't lack cargo volume. Folding the third-row seats down yields 44.4 cubic feet of space. Dropping the second row as well increases capacity significantly.

Every Mazda 5 comes with standard stability and traction control, antilock disc brakes, front side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags. Rear parking sensors are optional, but items like a rearview camera, blind-spot warning system and forward collision warning system -- all common safety features on larger minivans -- are not available.

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