2014 Mazda5

The 2014 Mazda5 is a compact multi-activity vehicle for families on the go. It has the convenience of a minivan without a boxy or bulky shape. So if your small family works hard and plays hard, the Mazda5 with all of its functionality is worth a look. Designers used a pair of sweeping shoulder lines and a spacious cabin with lots of storage room to help the Mazda5 live up to its billing as “elegant resourcefulness.”

The Mazda5 doesn’t change much for 2014, but it remains a family-friendly and ergonomically thoughtful vehicle with a fresh design. With an overall length of 180.5 inches, a width of 68.9 inches and sitting on a 108.3-inch wheelbase, it’s also not what you’d call large for a vehicle that boasts three rows of seating. We really liked our test vehicle’s second-row captain’s chairs with a walk-through space in the middle. The vehicle can be configured to accommodate anywhere from two to six passengers, depending on the arrangement of the seats.

If you put six in the Mazda5, though, some of them will have to be little ones. The second row seats slide and recline, and can be folded flat. The 50/50 split third row seats are pretty much for kids only, and can also be folded flat. Fold down the rear-most seats and you have 44.4 cubic feet of cargo space.

Offered in three trim levels, the Mazda5 is powered by a single engine: a strong 2.5-liter Inline 4-cylinder that develops 157 horsepower at 6,000 rpm. The engine sends 163-lb.-ft of torque to the drive wheels. Transmission choices include a 6-speed manual (on Sport models only), but most buyers will choose the smooth 5-speed automatic with a manual shifting mode.

Trim levels include the entry-level Sport, Touring and Grand Touring. Standard wheels are 16-inch aluminum alloys with all-season tires. The base Sport trim comes well-equipped, including power door locks and windows and mirrors, a tilt and telescoping steering wheel with controls, air conditioning, an AM/FM/CD/MP3-compatible audio system with six speakers, as well as auxiliary and USB ports. The Touring trim adds 17-inch wheels, a rear lift gate spoiler, fog lamps, Bluetooth phone and audio, a leather steering wheel and rear backup camera. The Grand Touring trim brings more goodies, including a power moon roof, heated seats, HID headlights, heated mirrors, rain-sensing wipers, Sirius Satellite Radio and an anti-theft system.

Our test Mazda5 was the Grand Touring model with the 5-speed automatic. We wouldn’t call the Mazda5 fast, but the 2.5-liter engine is plenty for tooling around town or stepping out onto the interstate for a trip east to the beach. It’s comfortable on the road, and it’ll get you up to 28 highway miles per gallon of fuel.

Inside the cabin, the Mazda5 is utilitarian with a splash of style. Dash controls and gauges are intuitively arranged, with a multi-information center at the top and the shifter at the bottom of the center stack. There are lots of cubbies and storage spaces, including a big glove box and storage under the second row seat cushions.

Not only is the Mazda5 family friendly, it’s friendly to family budgets as well. Our decked out 2014 Mazda5 Grand Touring model had a sticker price of $25,540, which included freight.

The vehicle has not yet been crash tested, but comes with six airbags including full-length side curtains, anti-lock brakes, all the required traction and stability control systems and a certified roadside assistance program.

2014 Mazda5

Grand Touring

Engine:

2.5-liter Inline 4-cylinder

Horsepower/Torque:

157 / 163 lb.-ft.

Transmission:

5-speed automatic

Price:

$25,540

EPA mileage rating:

22 mpg city / 28 mpg highway