We love it - so far..
It's brand new, so not much. There were a lot of transportation dings that the dealer buffed out, an alignment or tire balance issue that the dealer took care of right away, and when I test drove it, someone had left the lights on and the battery was dead. No big deal.
I love the car so far. The color is stellar greensilver, probably not everyone's cup of tea, but my wife and I really like it. We got a 5 speed, not the auto, and it's plenty peppy. I won't beat a WRX in a drag race, but, well, I'm a compact minivan owner, I probably wouldn't have even tried. (Heh.) I'm easily able to get to 75+ for freeway cruising, and the shifter/clutch combination is really pleasing. It's firm enough to not have that floaty minivan feeling, but it absorbs bumps surprisingly well. I live on a dirt road, admittedly just a short block away from pavement, but that was a factor. I won't be going on safari anyway, it's great for what I need it for. I look forward to seeing how it handles the snow; my last car was also front wheel drive and did just fine as long as you paid reasonable attention to the car and the road, I don't have any reason to believe that I'll have any problems with the Mazda.
The car is very quiet, you can hear enough of the great little engine to enjoy it, but it's not intrusive. Not a Lexus by any means, but it's great. The brakes are fine, and the power steering is perfect for me, it's speed sensative so it's easy and light in a parking lot, but much more live and communicative at freeway speeds.
The car's brand new, but we've already used it for shopping trips, hauling the kid around, etc.. I wouldn't plan on taking 6 adults on a long trip, the rear seat is pretty tight for legroom, but for us, it's either in-a-pinch seating or cargo space. The footwells in the front get narrower at the outside edge of the car, most "cab forward" type designs I've tested had this, though, and I didn't have a problem with it either driving or as a passenger.
The controls are great and very cool and techno looking, and my first impressions of the stereo are that it's fine. Not inspiring, but much better than in my Ford Taurus.
The Mazda5 comes with single zone automatic climate control, it's easy to use and seems to work great; I'll know more after the winter and after a bit of real summer driving, mild fall weather doesn't exactly put it to the test.
The one disappointment so far is that the manual specifically "does not recommend" towing of any sort. I'd like to do some light towing, branches to the dump and stuff like that, and hitches are available. I don't know if I'll do it so early into the warranty, but it's tempting. I'll research on the internet to find out more about the issue, I haven't found anything definitive, but I do know that people are hauling bikes and single motorcycles and things like that already. I didn't buy it to haul a boat or anything, but it's disappointing and makes you wonder what part of the car is so weak that it just can't handle even the slightest load?
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 30th October, 2006