Sensible and sensitive Mazda5

We are still enamored with this clever mini-minivan. Its keys are quick to disappear come the weekend.

We are still enamored with this clever mini-minivan. Its keys are quick to disappear come the weekend.

Our average fuel consumption went down from 9.4 L/100 km to 9.2, mostly because of more highway driving. We found the tall body-shape sensitive to cross winds, and a bit too much road noise entering the cabin from the wheel wells.

That said, the ‘5’ is proving to be a very good traveler, particularly with its supportive seats, which remain comfortable over a long haul. Another appreciated feature for long distance work is the large fuel tank. It allows for 600 km of autonomy when cruising the highway at 120 km/h.

The ‘5’ came to us fitted with quality winter tires. Mazda has since replaced them with a set of original-equipment Toyo Proxes A016 tires. Here is the first chink in the Mazda5’s armor: We find the Toyos to be less than adequate. They are slippery in the wet, not that impressive on the dry, and tend to transmit more noise inside the cabin than even the winter tires did. With this rubber, torque steer and oversteer are almost unavoidable in the wet. Upping the pressures to the proper 34-psi setting helped (the dealer set them at 31), but not definitively. Myself and other staffer were surprised — we’ve all had very good experiences with replacement Toyo Proxes tires.

This is the only real flaw we can find to this vehicle. Luckily, it is one any owner can fix quickly, by simply replacing the OEM tires.

There are, of course, other small niggles, like the rear wiper that can’t be lifted enough off the rear glass when cleaning it at the gas station, or the HVAC switches that you hit when shifting (they are too close to the shifter), but the overall feeling is very positive.

Decent fuel consumption, good driving position, lots of headroom, nice shifter and gearbox combo, practical body style and seating arrangement, are just some of the assets of that make this decent-sized family hauler a great choice for many people.

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