As the weight of children ballooned all over North America, and especially in the U.S.A., minivans ballooned as well. Coincidence? Me thinks not.
Mazda has fought back with the 5, a true minivan, the kind of vehicle that almost always held a V6 in its nose in front of a wheelbase ten inches longer than Mazda believes is necessary. These smaller versions are the vehicles Europeans scoop up in droves. Sometimes, folks, Europe gets it right. Ever hear of the Iraq war?
Frustratingly, we're so accustomed to toting three rows worth of humans and their stuff that the thought of a more fuel-efficient Mazda 5 with room for three rows of people or two rows of people and their stuff is 'just plain ridiculous'. Want to save money? Buy the Mazda, enjoy its handling, steering, manual gearbox, and ride quality. Want to spend more money? Buy a maxivan and enjoy its airy feel, elbow room, cupholder fiesta, and DVD player mutation. Want to save even more money? Drive the Mazda 5 like you own it rather than like you stole it and watch highway mileage approach 30 miles per gallon.
There's no time like the present. No really. There is no time like the present for saving money without sacrificing quality, reliability, or any rows of seating. Mazda's 5 makes the sacrificing joyous.
Engines: 153 horsepower and 148 lb-ft of torque from a 2.3L inline-four cylinder
City Mileage: 21-22 miles per gallon
Base USD Price: $18,665
Cargo Capacity: 97.7 cubic feet behind front row
Towing Capability: Not recommended by Mazda NA. Mazda UK offers 5s with towing up to 3,000 pounds.