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2009 Mazda5 Grand Touring Review

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2009 Mazda5

MORE:Mazda Specs, Prices and Comparisons-Mazda Buyers Guide


By Katrina Ramser
San Francisco Bureau
The Auto Channel

I venture to say creating an economy car would be an extremely difficult task. You're taking away a much-coveted auto quality: space. In return, you've got to do everything you can to replace lost value. Well, the Mazda5 achieves this in more ways than one.

I drove a 2009 Mazda5 with the Grand Touring trim, featuring a 153-horsepower 2.3-liter 4-cylinder engine. This little guy had three rows, mini-van style sliding rear doors, leather seating, a navigation system, a moonroof and rear spoiler – all included for a total price of $25,695.

The Mazda5 is what happens when a car company puts a lot of serious thought into figuring out what a consumer would miss and wouldn't miss when downsizing into an economy auto. Go ahead and laugh at the small size – I did – but once inside the interior features will make you forget you measure just 181.5-inches from bumper to bumper. The excellent visibility, spacious heated leather seating, steering wheel controls, easy-to-use navigation system, moonroof, and three rows (am I repeating myself? It's that impressive) will make you forget what you gave up. In all honesty, this car has too many awesome attributes for me to cover in just one review: Go out and test drive the Mazda5 (and specifically the Grand Touring trim).


Stylish But Comfortable Results: The shape and styling of Mazda5 is what you get when you mix a Scion Xbox with a Honda Fit and a minivan –a trendy, small family car. The Mazda5 has three levels of trim: the Sport, the Touring, and the Grand Touring (since the car is so affordable, I advise you to go ahead and treat yourself to the Grand). The second and third-rows are easy to interchange for cargo purposes. The only feature I'd say the vehicle is missing is power seating, but after a weeklong test drive, I realized (like Mazda must have) it's not a necessity.

Reliability & Safety Factor: I'd like to add the Mazda5 Grand Touring came standard with those bright, xenon headlights, fog lights, rain-sensing windshield wipers and heated outside mirrors. It gets five stars (in it's economy class) for frontal, side and rollover crash, and four stars for rear seat side crash. There are second-row LATCH child-safety-seat anchors and third-row LATCH child-safety-seat upper tethers. Also included are anti-lock braking system and independent front suspension. However, it does not have electronic stability control – a very important safety feature that should come standard on all autos.

Cost Issues: For $25,695 and all that you get, it's one of my top auto deals. It might offer smaller space, but interior mobility is not compromised. I wage you won't miss your large minivan or SUV.

Activity & Performance Ability: A peppy, capable 4-cylinder that will teach you to be brave in traffic (now I understand where the "zoom-zoom-zoom" jingle comes from). However, the steering felt a little skittish and the braking is tender and sensitive. You'll discover road noise, as you do with most cars in this class and with a 4-cylinder. There is no reserve power when climbing hills or accelerating at high speeds. You also have a tight turning radius. Parking is a synch and dream (and this test drive was conducted during the busy holiday shopping season when only difficult parking spots are available!)

The Green Concern: With an average of 24-25-mpg, you're doing better than V6 engines, but not as good as a hybrid.

If you're in the market for a boxy-style economy car – the next big trend – with minivan function, take a serious look at the Mazda5. With three rows, leather seating, moonroof and a great navigation system, you'll feel like the tradeoff for less space was one workable decision.

MORE:Mazda Specs, Prices and Comparisons-Mazda Buyers Guide

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2008 Katrina Ramser