2014 Mazda5 GT Review

Highs and lows

  • Drives like a car
  • Good visibility
  • Sliding doors come in handy
  • Fuel consumption is higher than expected
  • Lack of technologies and gadgets

The six-seat Mazda5 is perfect for a family... of four

Is the 2014 Mazda5 a minivan that pretends to be a car or the other way around? That's like trying to answer the age-old question: Which came first, the chicken or the egg?

One thing's for sure, though: The versatile and dependable Mazda5 offers the benefits of both without the stigma and the fuel penalty that define minivans.

2014 Mazda5 GT

What is the Mazda5?

A cross between a car and a minivan, the Mazda5 first appeared on the North American market in 2006. It can haul six people while burning significantly less fuel than the Odyssey or Sienna. Oh, and the drive is much more fun, too!

Depending on how you look at it, the Mazda5 is also the only vehicle in its class with sliding-door access to the second row, which comes in quite handy for young families.

2014 Mazda5 GT Price and Specs

While the base GS model starts at a low price of $21,995, my upscale GT tester came in at nearly $28,000 including the Luxury Package (power sunroof, leather seats, driver's side lumbar support, second-row folding table).

Under the hood of the 2014 Mazda5, in any trim, is a 2.5L inline 4-cylinder engine that puts out 157 horsepower through a 6-speed manual transmission. A 5-speed automatic with Sport (manual) mode is optional.

Driving the 2014 Mazda5 GT

On the road, the Mazda5 drives much smaller than it actually is. Visibility is good, the seats are comfortable, and the telescopic steering wheel allows the driver to find a proper position. The centre controls are within easy reach, and while the layout is rather bland and dated, the user-friendliness of it all is terrific.

At the end of the week, the computer in my Mazda5 indicated a fuel consumption average of 11.2L/100km. Granted, most of my commutes were pretty short and took place in urban surroundings, but I expected something in the 10.5L range since Mazda advertises ratings of 9.5L and 6.7L/100km (city and highway, respectively). It's still a lot better than what I ever got from my old Grand Caravan!

2014 Mazda5 GT 3/4 view

A cross between a car and a minivan, the Mazda5 first appeared on the North American market in 2006. (Photo: Philippe Champoux)

Inside and Out of the 2014 Mazda5 GT

Far from spectacular, the Mazda5's edgy styling helps separate it from traditional minivans. The sporty front end resembles Mazda cars from the pre-KODO era, while the profile is a cross between a van and a wagon.

The comfortable interior of my GT tester featured heated leather seats and a trip computer. My kids in the back also appreciated having their own climate controls to play with.

On the other hand, the Mazda5 has no navigation system, no centre display, no back-up camera, and no push-button start -- even in top trim. In this day and age where automakers battle each other to see which one will fit the most gadgets and technologies into their cars, the Mazda5 looks like a poor man's Kia Rondo or Chevrolet Orlando. Both of these competitors are similarly priced and offer all of the above (either standard or optional). Plus, they can accommodate up to seven people whereas the Mazda5 only seats six.

If you can do without these tech features, it won't matter when the time comes to choose your next family ride. The Mazda5 is outstanding for a party of four. With five or more individuals, things could get complicated. You see, the third row is fairly tight; actually, I would only recommend it for emergency situations or small children. As for cargo room, you get a mere 112 litres when all six seats are up, versus 426 litres when you fold the third-row seats.

2014 Mazda5 GT rear seats

The third row is fairly tight; actually, I would only recommend it for emergency situations or small children. (Photo: Philippe Champoux)

Comparing the 2014 Mazda5 GT

While the Mazda5 could be described as a lone wolf, it does have competition in the form of the Kia Rondo, Dodge Journey and Chevrolet Orlando. Technology may not be its forte, but the Mazda5 will definitely please those after a wagon-style minivan that drives like a car.