2012 Mazda5 - The Only True MINIvan? - Review and Roadtest By Larry Nutson - VIDEO ENHANCED
2012 Mazda5 - Is this today's only true minivan?
By Larry Nutson
The Auto Channel
The question is: Is this today’s only true minivan? A number of auto analysts and writers are questioning what has happened to the minivan segment. Is it a case of age related size and weight gain?
In 1984 when the-then Chrysler Corporation introduced the Plymouth and Dodge minivans they were about 176 inches long. Shop around today and you’ll find a two foot length increase has taken place with popular so-called minivans now being about 200 inches long. Not very urban and big city driving friendly. Granted many minivans reside in the suburbs. However big city maneuvering also comes in to play for that occasional family or group city outing.
In the three-model range, below the Touring is the Sport model priced at $19,195 and the only model available with the 6-speed manual transmission. At the top is the Grand Touring model at $23,875. The shipping and processing charge for all adds $795. All very affordable.
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All the talk today is rear vision cameras, and I believe they are very necessary on many of the larger SUVs and minivans of today to enable safe backing-maneuvers. A rear vision camera is not necessary on the Mazda5. The exterior is so compact and with excellent visibility out of all the windows, particularly to the rear, maneuvering and parallel parking is safe and easy. Besides the city-friendly length of the Mazda5, the 36.7 foot turning radius is a big-city help.
The 2012 Mazda5 will also offer Mazda’s Brake Override System. This system always prioritizes the brake pedal over the accelerator pedal should both be engaged simultaneously, allowing the vehicle to be brought to a stop.
The Mazda5 Sport, available with either the manual or automatic transmission, is equipped with 16-inch alloy wheels with 205/55/R16 all-season tires, power mirrors, air conditioning, power windows and door locks, AM/FM/CD/MP3 stereo with six speakers, audio auxiliary jack, tilt and telescoping steering wheel, remote keyless entry system, one-touch up/down driver’s window, 50/50 split fold-down third row seats and steering wheel-mounted audio and cruise controls.
The top-of-the line Grand Touring model adds a power moonroof, xenon high-intensity discharge (HID) headlights, automatic on/off headlights, heated door mirrors, rain-sensing windshield wipers, anti-theft alarm system, driver’s seat lumbar support adjustment, heated front seats, in-dash 6-disc CD changer, leather-trimmed seats and Sirius® satellite radio.
The Touring model has an optional Moonroof and Audio Package which includes a power moonroof, in-dash 6-disc CD changer and Sirius® satellite radio.
The Mazda5 has a 36-month/36,000 mile bumper to bumper warranty, a 60-month/60,000 mile powertrain warranty and 24-hour roadside assistance. Mazda has about 900 dealers throughout North America.
By the way, before the Chrysler minivan back in 1979, Volkswagen had a good thing. But for today, the Mazda5 is “the” minivan.
© Larry Nutson