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Thread: Mazda5 vs. ??

  1. #1
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    Question Mazda5 vs. ??

    Greetings,

    I'm interested in what I've seen of the upcoming Mazda5 so far, but I'm wondering if it is worth waiting for. Currently my wife and I carpool in a Honda Accord, along with our two boys, who are 5 and 3. This works fairly well, but when we leave work and pick up our kids from daycare we always arrive just as they are closing. Next fall our oldest will be going to kindergarten in a different location, and it's simply not going to be possible to get to both of them in time. If we had separate cars I could get to both of them with plenty of time -- it's waiting for my wife to get from her work to mine to get me that causes most of the delay.

    So we decided we should start looking for a second car, and I started looking a bit, but we just found out last week that we're going to have another child! Three kids puts a different spin on things.

    Now my wife thinks we should not only get a second car, but we should replace the Accord as well. (Things already seem too tight in that at times.) She seems to be leaning toward the Toyota Sienna at the moment, which will work for the all-purpose family vehicle. But I also need a vehicle that can fit three but I really don't want a minivan myself. I'm sort of considering the Scion xB. It has three LATCH connectors in the back, and by the time the new baby arrives the other two will be in boosters and I think I can get them all to fit (need to measure it though), but I wanted to know all my options, and now I've discovered the Mazda5. I had a test drive in the Mazda3 earlier (before we knew we were expecting a third), and that seemed a little cramped for the kids in their car seats in regards to leg room (compared to the xB) but I liked it otherwise.

    Does anyone know when the Mazda5 will be available in the States? Does it make sense to get a Mazda5 as a second vehicle primarily for picking up kids and urban commuting if we get the Sienna? Or should we consider the Mazda5 as a Sienna replacement? Maybe get the xB for I know the Mazda5 is sort of defining new territory, but what other models should I be considering for our situation?

    We have two distinct problems to solve -- needing one full-fledged family vehicle for comfort riding, and a second cheaper vehicle that can still fit three kids for pickups and shorter trips -- and I'm wondering which the Mazda5 would be better suited for.

    Any advice or pointers anyone can give is appreciated!! As you might imagine, I'm a little overwhelmed thinking of the family changes going on!!.

  2. #2
    Thread Killer eting_pro5's Avatar

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    Welcome and congratulations on your upcoming addition.

    You present quite the complex situation. Between the Sienna and Mazda5, you'll get a much smaller van with the Mazda5. At the same time, you'll most likely get a lower price and better fuel economy in the 5 due to a smaller engine and seeing how the 5 is slotted below the Mazda MPV, a competitor of the Sienna.

    I don't believe the 5 arrives here until late summer/early fall.

    If I were you, I'd treat the Mazda5 as a Sienna replacement rather than a second vehicle unless you really think you'll need the minivan room for both vehicles.

    As far as the Scion xB, it's a great value and a neat little car, but it doesn't offer side airbags.

    I'd look into the crash test ratings for all of the vehicles you're considering through the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

    I hope that was somewhat helpful!

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    The "late summer/early fall" is my main concern. We're due in late Aug/early Sept, and that's around the same time my oldest will be in his new school. Ideally I'd like to have all of this figured out by then. The problem is of course that the 5 might not be out yet or just arriving.

    My wife liked the Sienna due to an eight seat configuration it has, allowing three kids in the second row, so that the third row can fold down for carrying things and brought up for additional passengers. I think she would like the Mazda5 if the 6-plus one version was coming to the States for a similar layout. I'd have to convince here that folding down half of the third row would be sufficient and that the smaller size would be worthwhile. Since it's not out yet she hasn't really considered it; she likes to see things up close in person.

    As for the lack of side airbags on the xB is unfortunate, but we don't have that on our Accord either, and my philosophy is to avoid crashes. Heh. But the additional safety is one reason why the 5 looks a little better to me. I just want something that is "big enough" but not "too big," if that makes sense.

    I need to compare the various wagons out there and see if there are any that I like, make a list, go over everything...

  4. #4
    Registered Member RODSCALIP5's Avatar

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    I personally think the Mazda5 will be perfect for your family. It is a smaller mini-van that will have good handling, lots of room and good looking. The 6-seats that it comes standard with is awesome. I would get a 5 over the XB, my understanding is that the base 5 will be priced at 15K+. Can anyone confirm this??

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    Welcome Kaian and Congrats on the growing family!

    We need to get our resident Mazda5 expert on the horn...Wongpres!

  6. #6
    Registered Member wongpres's Avatar

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    Ok, here's my opinion.

    First off, the Mazda5 will be at US dealerships by June, so it will be available before the baby arrives.

    In my opinion, the Mazda5 would be very appropriate in this case. Mazda5 is very flexible in terms of seat arrangements and that works out well in this case. With the new baby, the family-size becomes 5, so Mazda5's 6-seat capability is good in that you can carry one other person in addition to the family. Further, if you go on any family trips, you can take out one seat (to make it a 5-seater), and that'll give you a good amount of luggage capability. The Mazda5 cargo area is small in size with all 6-seats, but the vehicle is very flexible and the 5-seater config I suggested demonstrates one of numerous configurations.

    However, the Mazda5 is no doubt smaller and has less power-to-weight than a Sienna. So if passenger carrying capability + cargo space is required at the same time, then the larger Sienna would be more appropriate. Also, I'm sure the Sienna will beat a Mazda5 in straight-line acceleration, but the Mazda5 will corner better (it really drives like a car).

  7. #7
    Registered Member soulnette's Avatar

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    "Félicitation" for your new kids. And yes indeed tree kids change your way of looking at cars.

    I totally agree with Wongpres. If I may, I'll give you my personal experience on the subject.

    If you carry often sport gear like camping, skiing, canoeing, thing that takes lot of spaces in a car, go for the Sienna. But if it's not the case, the 5 will satisfy you.

    I have tree kids, 8½, 10 and 11½, I'm riding an old 95 Nissan Quest, bought in 96, I'm holding it because for the seat configuration. When I'm caring my stuff, the kids are right behind me and the cargo in the back where it should be. Today my wife went back to work, after 11 years at home, she got herself a new car with the new job, and I'm looking for a new one for myself (hey, after 9 years…). The Mazda5 look interesting, I can hop 6 passengers in a small but efficient package. I will need a Tulle box for the cross-country skis and I'm on the way to buy a small trailer to carry one canoe, a kayak and all the camping gears… These items were fitting in or on my Quest (one canoe). The Quest is a "small" van compare to the Sienna, and I never felt short of space! The new vans are getting BIGGER for simply nothing.

    Your dilemma is seat configuration that will accommodate your way of living; with tree kids you will need a Tulle box on top of your 5 if you go camping on the weekend! But for the rest of the week, you will have a nice efficient and fun to drive car with space for 6 that cost less than a Sienna and ride cheaper on gas too!

    Good lock!
    p.s. I'm not totally decided yet!

    p.p.s. Hey Wongpres, any new on the job opening?
    Last edited by soulnette; 01-21-2005 at 01:46 PM.

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    Thanks wongpress, knowing that it should arrive in June is very helpful. Do you know if there has been confirmed information on pricing, or is it all speculation right now?

    I think that if we only needed one car, the Mazda5 would be perfect, as it seems to be the perfect union of the minivan my wife wants and the smaller wagon I prefer. To completely understand my preferences, it might help to say that if I were still single and sans kids, I'd be looking at a Mini Cooper. I really prefer smaller cars and cars with more distinctive looks. That's another reason I had the Scion xB high on my list before we learned of the new baby coming, as it is pretty small, distinctive, enough room for kids in the back, affordable, etc. If we only needed one car, I could probably talk my wife into this as a compromise, as she knows I don't like driving larger minivan or SUVs.

    However, we do need two vehicles. On the edmunds web site, I found this comment on their Mazda5 forum: "The vehicle will bomb if the market is allowed to think it is a minivan("why would I want a tiny minivan when I could get a Caravan for only $X more???"). Instead, they need to somehow present it as tall-bodied compact sport wagon." I think that fairly describes my dilemma in thinking of the Mazda5 and our situation. My wife likes the Sienna a lot and doesn't mind it's size or handling. The Mazda5 would have to be significantly cheaper or I'm afraid she'll just continue to want the Sienna.

    If I think of the Mazda5 as a "larger Mazda3" then it makes more sense for the vehicle I want, but that's hard for me to think of it that way, it looks like a minivan. And when I think of it as a minivan it feels like overkill to have that and the Sienna, and it makes more sense to have a 5-seat wagon instead.

    I appreciate all those commenting in this thread. I hope my situation might be useful as a sort of "test case" of the Mazda5's acceptance. It seems to me that there may be many families in our situation, having kids and the need for two vehicles.

  9. #9
    Registered Member wongpres's Avatar

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    kaian, the only pricing info I know for a fact is that Mazda5 pricing starts well within Mazda3 pricing (i.e. a fully loaded Mazda3 costs a few thousand more than the Mazda5 starting price).

    soulnette, I'll PM you.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by wongpres
    kaian, the only pricing info I know for a fact is that Mazda5 pricing starts well within Mazda3 pricing (i.e. a fully loaded Mazda3 costs a few thousand more than the Mazda5 starting price).
    I'll have to figure out exactly what those numbers are, but sounds encouraging. I have a hard limit for my car of 25k, but I really want to get something under my soft limit of 20k.

    I've talked to my wife, and she's set on the Sienna. She's planning to do the work to get it in a few weeks. Her main reasoning for not waiting for the Mazda5 to look at that is seating. She really, really likes the 2-3-3 arrangement of the Sienna, for two reasons -- get all the kids in one row in order to push down the third row for times when additional cargo room is needed, and the fact the middle center seat can move up a bit. Quote "for longer trips the baby will need to be in the center, period."

    She did like the Mazda5 from what she saw of it though, and said she might want to trade the Sienna for one of those (if I don't get one) in a few years when baby seats aren't an issue. But for now she's set. Sigh.

    So that's one choice down, one to go. My current list for my "smaller car that still needs to pick all the kids up at times" includes the following: Scion xB, Chrysler PT Cruiser, Toyota Matrix, Ford Focus ZX5 or ZXW, and the Mazda6 i 5-door (possibly a little too expensive) and I may look at the Mazda3 5-door again (the backseats didn't seem to have enough room was my main complaint). After I look at those I'll have a smaller list and decide if I want to wait to look at the Mazda5, or just get one of the above.
    Last edited by Kaian; 01-22-2005 at 10:01 PM.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kaian
    My current list for my "smaller car that still needs to pick all the kids up at times" includes the following: Scion xB, Chrysler PT Cruiser, Toyota Matrix, Ford Focus ZX5 or ZXW, and the Mazda6 i 5-door (possibly a little too expensive) and I may look at the Mazda3 5-door again (the backseats didn't seem to have enough room was my main complaint). After I look at those I'll have a smaller list and decide if I want to wait to look at the Mazda5, or just get one of the above.
    Following up on my earlier comments, I've eliminated the Focus vehicles (just not for me) and the PT Cruiser (mostly due to bad comparative MPG). I looked again at the Mazda3 and Mazda6, and the 6 is too expensive for me as I thought. I'm keeping the 3 on my list as sort of a base for learning about the 5 by comparison, but I'm pretty much convinced if I buy a Mazda it will have to be the Mazda5.

    So my list now is Mazda3, Mazda5, Toyota Matrix, and Scion xB for research purposes, but I suspect it'll come down to the Mazda5 vs. the Scion xB as those are the two I like the most so far. I've looked at a lot of other models too, but no others have caught my serious attention.

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    Keep the Accord

    Hey dude. You need to keep the Accord. The Scion is an economical car but its slow and the back seat won't be much better. You can go to www.msnautos.com and compare cars on that site. It shows all the dimensions inside and out and other good things to know. I don't know the year of your Accord but if it's running good you should keep it. Did you ever think of the Mazda MPV instead of the Sienna. It looks kind of cool for a minivan and it is very easy to drive. The Mazda5 will probably be a good car also. Maybe you shouild hold off until the Mazda5 comes out this summer for its 2006 model year intro. I hope I helped you out.





    Quote Originally Posted by Kaian
    I'll have to figure out exactly what those numbers are, but sounds encouraging. I have a hard limit for my car of 25k, but I really want to get something under my soft limit of 20k.

    I've talked to my wife, and she's set on the Sienna. She's planning to do the work to get it in a few weeks. Her main reasoning for not waiting for the Mazda5 to look at that is seating. She really, really likes the 2-3-3 arrangement of the Sienna, for two reasons -- get all the kids in one row in order to push down the third row for times when additional cargo room is needed, and the fact the middle center seat can move up a bit. Quote "for longer trips the baby will need to be in the center, period."

    She did like the Mazda5 from what she saw of it though, and said she might want to trade the Sienna for one of those (if I don't get one) in a few years when baby seats aren't an issue. But for now she's set. Sigh.

    So that's one choice down, one to go. My current list for my "smaller car that still needs to pick all the kids up at times" includes the following: Scion xB, Chrysler PT Cruiser, Toyota Matrix, Ford Focus ZX5 or ZXW, and the Mazda6 i 5-door (possibly a little too expensive) and I may look at the Mazda3 5-door again (the backseats didn't seem to have enough room was my main complaint). After I look at those I'll have a smaller list and decide if I want to wait to look at the Mazda5, or just get one of the above.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by cws2003
    You need to keep the Accord. The Scion is an economical car but its slow and the back seat won't be much better. Did you ever think of the Mazda MPV instead of the Sienna. Maybe you shouild hold off until the Mazda5 comes out this summer for its 2006 model year intro.

    As I mentioned earlier about the Sienna, my wife just had to have it as she loves the idea of having eight seats in a 2-3-3 configuration. It's the only minivan that does this, other than the Odyssey, and on the Odyssey that second row middle seat can't handle car seats. Personally, I think the Sienna is overkill. While more space is nice, I don't think we need it on a regular basis. Eight seats is also nice, but I also think we don't need that all the time either. She disagrees, and did I mention she's pregnant? Ok.

    I'm currently in the Accord (it's a 1997 model) as the second vehicle but we're about to sell it rather than make it my permanent second vehicle. Thought about keeping it, but decided against it. We'll carpool in the minivan for awhile, and then I expect to get a Mazda5 this summer when they come out.

  14. #14
    TTAC.com junkie starlightmica's Avatar

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    Mazda5 vs. Sienna

    Kaian -

    I have a Sienna LE-8 which does its think quite well with the kid seasts in the 2nd row. It's also $24k for starters, close to $26k (transaction price, not MSRP) with the side airbags and VSC+TRAC package. We really like ours and have come to become reliant upon it. Drawbacks include lousy mileage (16-19mpg city, 23-24mpg hwy), long wheelbase which makes maneuvering a pain. If you put the baby in the center 2nd row seat set all the way forwards, one of the kids will have to go in through the driver's side (non-powered) sliding door. There are other vehicles wide enough to take 3 kid seats and have 3 LATCH connectors, too, but they (Ford Freestyle/Five Hundred, Honda Ridgeline pickup) all cost as least as much as the Sienna.

    I'm looking at eventually getting a Mazda5 class vehicle, although may not be for another year or two depending on when I have to shuttle kids in my daily driver. Figure you save $4k by getting the M5 outright although getting 3 kids in the back would mean someone is always riding in the second row due to the unavailability of PlusOne seating for MY2006.

  15. #15
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    You do know there are such things as Used cars, right? How about a used Mazda 6 wagon or something along that sort? The Sienna's are ok, my friend's family has one, and he thinks it's pretty quick, but it handles like a pig, and front seat legroom is trash.

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