Mazda5 2009 - A Small Minivan, Sports Hatch or Space Car, You be the Judge!
Image via Wikipedia
I saw the Mazda5 for the first time at the 2006 L.A. Auto Show. Parents with kids were crawling all over the thing. Nonetheless, I thought it was a neat looking car with great dog car potential.
But is it really a minivan? FuelEconomy.gov seems to think so; they named Mazda5 the most fuel-efficient minivan, probably classified as such because this small vehicle actually manages to fit in 3 rows of seats. Mazda, probably in an attempt to dodge the minivan image problem, refers to it as a sport hatch, multi-activity vehicle or, in Europe, a space car. Consumer Reports categorizes it under
"Wagons and Hatchbacks." Okay, so this little guy has a bit of an identify problem.
At any rate, three rows of seats might impress soccer moms, but they don't impress dog owners. We're more interested in the dogs per vehicle stats since we're just going fold down those darn seats anyway. Once you do that in the Mazda5, and the second and third row seat will fold down into the floor, you have a car that looks less like a minivan, and more like, oh, say a Toyota Matrix. Am I right about that? Let's compare the stats.
When trying to fit crates into a car, the most critical measurement is the width between the wheel arches. The Mazda5 measures in at 40.5", the 2008 Matrix at 38.75 and the 2009 Matrix at 40.5. So in any of these vehicles, you won't be fitting two SUV crates side by side, BUT, there is enough room for a 36" long crate (with a side door) to fit long-ways.
As you might guess in a vehicle that can accommodate 3 rows of seats, the Mazda5 is longer, based on the measurement from the back of the front seat to the back door. The Mazda5 offers about 10 or 15 extra inches in length, which is nothing to sneeze at.
If you're considering a riser in the cargo area, the height of the cargo space is quite comparable in both vehicles, though the new 2009 Matrix loses by about 2.5".
What about cargo space? Guess what. Matrix, 53 cubic feet, Mazda5 44 cubic feet.
While the Mazda5 does give you a little more length for your money, it comes at a cost. As you might have guessed, its quite respectable mpg (21/27 (city/highway), lags behind the Matrix's 28/33 mpg.
So there you have it. Compared to a Matrix, it's quite long, though similar in width and height. Compared to a "real" minivan, it's small all over...in a good way.
I wanted to show you all of the various seat configurations offered in the Mazda5, and felt sure that their web site would illustrate its seating/cargo flexibility....but I would be wrong. They're so fixated on the fact that it has 3 rows of seats. I couldn't find any pictures without those 3 rows up. But you can see by the picture we took that the seats do fold flat, though they don't make the lovely solid flat cargo area you can get in some cars. Maybe that's a good thing...there's more nooks and crannies into which you can stuff extra jackets, towels, kibble, etc.
Base MSRP : Starts at $18,665
Mileage estimates: 21/27 (City/Highway/Combined) Automatic
Married with Children? The frugal and frisky Mazda5 'space wagon' has a place for everything, including four kid. Dan Neil, L.A. Times, May 17, 2006. (Editor's note: why is it always about the kids??)Some room, less zoom in Mazda5, March 16, 2008, Chicago Tribune.
|Depth from back door to front seats (2nd/3rd row folded) = maximum depth range (D1)||64.5-74"|
|Depth from back door to second row seats (D2)||32.25-41.75|
|Dept from back door to third row seats (D3)||8"|
|Height from cargo floor to ceiling behind front seats (H1)||33.25"|
|Height from cargo floor to ceiling behind 2nd row seats (H2)||36"|
|Height from cargo floor to ceiling at entry of vehicle (H3)||33.75"|
|Height of wheel arches (H4)||11.5"|
|Height from ground to top of bumper (not pictured)||26"|
|Width of cargo area at ceiling (W1)||32"|
|Width of cargo area maximum (approx. at 2nd row seats (W2)||52.5"|
|Width of cargo area between wheel arches
(cargo "table" holders encroach into space)
|Illustrated dimensions 1 (W1, W2, W3, D2, D3)
Illustrated dimensions 2 (H1, H2, H3, H4, H5, D1)
|Rear windows do not open|
|Rear windows at second row seats open.
|Electrical outlet in rear||yes|
|Electrical outlet in front||yes|
|Location of spare tire|| interior (see comment on this blog for description of how one owner relocated the spare tire to the bottom of the vehicle.)|
|Tailgate Lifts up||yes|
|Roof Rack Capacity|| 100 lbs.|
|Rear Seats||All rear seats fold flat.|
|Towing|| no towing capacity|
|Cargo Volume (cu. Ft.)|
|2nd and 3rd row seats down||44.4 cubic feet|
|2nd-row seats up||unknown|