"Designed for Life Unexpected"
Since meeting my husband I feel like I've been through 1,001 vehicles. When we met I had a Hyundai Accent, and he had a Toyota Camry. Then he traded that in for another Toyota truck of some sort, and I got a Jeep Wrangler. After finding out I was expecting my first child the Wrangler went bye-bye and I ended up with a Pontiac Vibe. Then we were gifted an old mini-van and my Vibe went away so we could save some moola. We drove that mommy-van all the way from Maine to DC when we moved, and it decided to erm... pass away, leaving me without a family vehicle. Thankfully we live right near the metro, and have a truck and a moped (my husband decided he wanted a new toy), and we can rent a vehicle every now and again when we all need to get somewhere. We are looking around for a new car, however my family wanted to go camping ASAP since we've had gorgeous weather, and we really didn't want to have to shell out a couple hundred dollars just to get to a campsite.
I was very blessed because an opportunity to test out a car for Mazda came knocking at my door. The only problem, was figuring out which would work best for our family. "Umm... I have three kids, and two with car seats, so if possible could you please let me try a car that will fit everyone?" They came back and said, "How about the 2013 Mazda5 Grand Touring? It has third row seating." PERFECT!
I've test driven so many vehicles. (I'm one of those people who even if I think I know I'm not going to purchase the car, still might take it out to see if a test drive might change my mind.) About 4 years ago I test drove a Mazda5. I wasn't impressed. The suspension felt like I was driving a little race car, and the interior and controls just felt cheap. It was kind of like driving a matchbox car. Needless to say, this past experience had me a little worried about not liking the 2013 Mazda5. But, I figured that it has been several years, and car manufacturers are known for improving issues and hopefully not creating new ones. Who knew? Maybe I'd find my next family vehicle.
"With sporty performance, pure athletic style and a roomy interior, the Mazda5 defies category labels while delivering on versatility. The 6-passenger seating is easily accessible by two sliding rear doors, while the 2.5L DOHC engine delivers impressive power without compromising fuel efficiency. Because calling it a minivan doesn't mean it has to drive like one." ~Mazda
When the Mazda5 was dropped off, I was given a quick rundown of all of the features. Have to be honest, it all kind of in went in one ear and out the other because there were SO MANY FEATURES. See all of those buttons and knobs on the console? Yeah, I had this car a week and still didn't need to use them all.
The Mazda5 is Bluetooth and Audio Connectivity capable. Which means you can connect your phone and answer calls or listen to music through the car's 6 speaker audio system while remaining hands free. Just push the button on your steering wheel and you're good to go. I could definitely see my husband using this if we had the car longer. He already connect our house phone to our cell phones. The Mazda5 also has a USB input port so you can easily connect your MP3 player (or charge a cell phone). I can't forget to mention the available Sirius Satellite Radio with 120+ radio stations too. I think my husband picked up on all of the gadgetry faster than I did. I was more concerned about comfort, and safety.
The Mazda5 pretty much has it all when it comes to comfort. Something my husband always looks for is the cruise control feature. The Mazda5 has the controls right on the steering wheel making it super simple to use. MY favorite luxury was the power controlled moon roof. I've always wanted a vehicle with one. Something about cars make me feel a little claustrophobic, but having a little window in the roof definitely improve my personal comfort levels. The seats are cushy and ergonomically correct. Along with the leather trimmed upholstery, the front seats are also heated. Obviously didn't need to use that feature since the week I had it our weather was in the 70's, but it's a nice feature I've never had in any of my other vehicles.
The seats I think were my favorite feature. The middle row seats quickly fold down with just a single pull of a lever, and they also adjust forward and backward too. The third row also has a lot of space due to the fact that it only seats two, but the seats, while separate, also sit flush with each other. Now, that's not to say the second row isn't huge either. My son's car seat is MASSIVE and there was plenty of space for it and room for his feet. Both second and third row seats fold down FLAT. My Vibe did that, and I've always thought it was the best idea ever. Another neat little feature having to do with the seats is that the second row has a little bit of storage space underneath the cushions. The seat on the right side of the vehicle also houses a little try for food and drinks under the cushion.
Now, because I travel around with three kids, safety is definitely important. The Mazda5 has rear back-up sensors which will beep if you're getting too close to something. Not that I've ever backed into anything, but... I've come close a few times and not necessarily realized how close. Halogen headlights come standard, but you can also upgrade to Xenon High-Intensity Discharge headlights. Either way, the road is illuminated at night really well. No problems seeing ahead into the distance, or down the nose of the car. The Mazda5 also boasts 4-wheel disc breaks, Electronic Breakforce Distribution, Dynamic Stability Control, Traction Control, tire pressure monitoring system, six standard airbags, and fast inflating air-curtains. Thankfully none of these were needed. But, ya gotta admit it's nice to know they're there!
Earlier I mentioned that the last Mazda5 I drove I really had an issue with the suspension and interior. This car did a complete 180º since the older model. The suspension was SO smooth. My opinion of Mazda's quality definitely improved with the 2013 Mazda5. The interior I felt was much better quality too. It didn't FEEL as plastic and cheap as the one I tried before. In fact, it felt rather luxurious.
There was only ONE thing that I was a little disappointed with. I was really hoping that this car would fit all 5 of us, the dog, and our camping gear, but the trunk space just wasn't large enough. Even with one of the third row seats folded down. It easily fit 3 people and the dog, and probably could have handled 4 people and the dog, but that entire third row needed to be folded down to get everything else in. It's not a big deal if you don't need to carry that much stuff with so many people, but we are a large family and enjoy taking trips together, even if it's just for a weekend of camping. I still absolutely LOVE this car, and would definitely recommend it if you're looking for a mini-van/crossover. It's perfect for a family car, running errands, and even taking long trips in if you don't have tents, sleeping bags, bedding, food, etc. to pack. There was nothing in the 2013 Mazda5 Grand Touring that I didn't want, and everything that I could EVER want.
*I was provided a car for a week from STI & Mazda in order to facilitate this review. All opinions are 100% mine. See Disclosure Policy.