Why would anybody be interested in a minivan these days? Well, some folks are avid 19 Kids and Counting-watchers, others aspire to start their own football team. If you’ve shied away from minivans because of their longstanding “soccer-mom-in-the-burbs” image, but you kinda need one, take a look-see at the 2013 Mazda5, a mini minivan that has some unexpected badass-ness.
First of all, the Mazda5 is smaller and noticeably less girthy than your run-of-the-mill mommy mobile. Its exterior design is sleek, neat, and fairly athletic, with contemporary lines, an aggressive-looking grille, and a low ground clearance.
Inside the vehicle, Mazda keeps it simple — not quite all the way Amish, but simple enough. There are hard plastics and a small informational display with graphics that might make you reach for those Ralph Lauren specs. The dash do-dads, however, are sensibly placed, comfortable to the touch, and a whiz to operate — so much so that even someone requiring a recipe for ice can figure them out.
There are three trims in the Mazda5 line: Sport, Touring, and Grand Touring (our test vehicle). A six-speed manual is standard on the Sport, while a five-speed automatic is optional on the Sport and standard on everything else. The vehicle’s standards include full power accessories, keyless entry, cruise control, automatic climate control (with rear vents and fan controls), a height-adjustable driver seat, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, and a six-speaker sound system with CD player, USB port, and an auxiliary audio jack. If you want to get fancier and your Vuitton wallet can stand it, you can always step up a trim or add options such as remote ignition, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a rear-seat entertainment system, and a Garmin portable navigation system.
Interior space in the Mazda5 is welcoming in the front and second row. Talls and pleasingly plumps won’t have to consider cutting off a limb, or rethinking their Jenny Craig options in order to fit comfortably. The mini minivan technically seats six passengers, but the third row might be best suited for Lilliputians. However, since the sliding doors are nice and wide, and the operation of the seats so easy-breezy, folks attempting to settle into the third row won’t jumpstart their sciatica getting there. The seating in the Mazda5’s front and back is also comfy and truly incapable of causing body stress on road trips.
Visibility is spectacular in the Mazda5, with minimal blind spots. In the words of la diva, Barbra Streisand, “On a clear day, you can see forevah!”, and in the Mazda5 you can see the road evah-so-clearly.
Cargo-wise, the Mazda5 is not lacking: fold its third row down, and you’ll get 44.4 cubic feet. Drop-kick the second, and you wind up with a whopping 97.7 cubes, which is enough space for you to max out your Amex Black card when antiquing.
Here is where the mini minivan Mazda5 shows out: the driving dynamics. Mazda has built quite a solid rep for fun driving, and it doesn’t fall short with its mini minivan. The Mazda5 is agile — so much so, you’d swear you were driving a car. Urbanites will love the maneuverability of the Mazda5 with its precise steering, tight turning circle, and compact space requirements when parking. The Mazda5’s acceleration is responsive and peppy enough (2.5 liter four-cylinder, 157 horses ), so you can blow by quite a few blue-haired Betties.
As far as safety, the Mazda5 has got you covered with stability/traction control, airbags front and side, and antilock brakes.
The 2013 Mazda5 packs quite a lot in its little body. And even if it’s just you and your poochie Coco and you need the extra cargo space to transport your “stuff”, the Mazda5 offers solid engineering, great value, and a behind-the-wheel fun factor that you’ll come to love. Zoom, zoom, indeed!
Prices start at $19,940.