Looking at Mazda5 2nd Gens, what's to know?

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2005 Mazda3
Hi everyone, I've been looking at 2nd Generation Mazda 5's (2012-2015). I've been a long time owner of Mazda's and I have a pretty good idea of the Mazda5... however, I wanted to ask the owners, what I can expect as far as reliability and maintenance goes? Any common problems? Being 2020, is there anything I should look out for or be aware of of a 5-7 year old Mazda 5?

I know that the Mazda5's had suspension and strut issues(would love to hear some guidance on that too). Anything else to look out for? (power door locks/windows, sliding door failures, electrical things, etc.)

The Mazda 5 has the MZR25 which is a scaled up version of the MZR20 (2.0 liter), which I'm assuming is a very reliable motor, since I have experience with the MZR20.

Hoping that the potential purchase of a 2nd Gen Mazda 5 will be a decent investment, get another 7+years out of it, relatively trouble free, I've had my current Mazda for over 15+ years, relatively trouble free.

TIA.
 
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icspots

Paramagic
:
2012 Mazda 5
Welcome. There are several things which came up on the first gen 5 which shouldn’t be issues on a 2nd gen. (Sliding door not latching closed in cold weather, front strut noise, etc). Also the 4 speed ATX wasn’t particular nice or smooth in the 1st gen and is improved in the 2nd gen.

The 2.5 is a scaled up 2.3 which was used in the 1st gen Mazda 3 and 6. It similar to the 2.0, but not the same engine. One big thing with these is they are not fuel efficient. If driving in/around city traffic don’t be surprised with low 20’s mpg.

I’m in the middle of a suspension saga with my 2nd gen in upgrading the rear springs to be a little stronger. I don’t like the way the vehicle performs or sags when loaded down with people and stuff, so I swapped in CX7 lowering springs in the rear. So far I love them.
 
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2015 Mazda 5 Sport
I had a Mazda 5 ( 2010 ) from 2017 until it got totaled this Feb. Then I got a 2015 Mazda 5 with 70k miles on it. Both were fine cars from my limited experience driving them (I drive less than 3k miles year and it will be even less this year with C-19) but I do like the practicality and handling.

The only thing I found the 2nd gen lacking is the relatively dated infotainment system (no backup camera, navigation, and no Bluetooth in sport trim) but $100 Android head unit replacement took care of that.

Now I just need to have the transmission fluid changed and it will be perfect.
 
:
mazda 5
I bought a '12 new, now with 175k km, base model with a manual. When people ask me what I think of it I tell them "it does everything....OK". It's kind of like that cheap multi-tool you keep in your glovebox that gets the job done, but isn't great at any one task. Its largely based on the 3, but heavier, so some of the parts are marginal.
I live in an area where they sand/salt/brine the roads and it eats thru cars like crazy so some of my issues may not apply.
. Issues so far:
-Rust. Tailgate, roof, and passenger door.
-2 rear shock mounts have failed, maybe corrosion related. They are made out of a cheap cast material. I have heard of steel ones being available but haven't looked into it.
-About to install the 3rd set of complete brakes/rotors, Maybe corrosion related.
-1 rear wheel bearing replaced around 160k, another one is needing replacement.
-Intermittent check engine light for the last 70k. Small evap leak. replaced purge valve, didn't fix it. I just live with it now.
-2 sway bar links replaced, 120k and 150k
-Muffler and mid pipe need replacing.
-Rear tire wear on the inside edge is a problem for some people.
-If you have bigger than size 7 feet you may not like the manual. My toes hit the clutch arm when I push the clutch.
-The front undertray is fairly vulnerable to road debris. Mine is broken/cracked in a few places.
-Gas mileage is so-so. I typically get 500km from a tank but have got pretty close to 800km when I drive like a grandma.
-Both front wiper arms have broken at the base where they pivot. Crusty looking so the salt may have corroded them.
-Rear wiper arm is pretty crappy too. Be gentle when changing the blade.
 
Last edited:

icspots

Paramagic
:
2012 Mazda 5
I had a Mazda 5 ( 2010 ) from 2017 until it got totaled this Feb. Then I got a 2015 Mazda 5 with 70k miles on it. Both were fine cars from my limited experience driving them (I drive less than 3k miles year and it will be even less this year with C-19) but I do like the practicality and handling.

The only thing I found the 2nd gen lacking is the relatively dated infotainment system (no backup camera, navigation, and no Bluetooth in sport trim) but $100 Android head unit replacement took care of that.

Now I just need to have the transmission fluid changed and it will be perfect.
Very true. I picked up my ‘12 model in ‘14 with right around 20k miles on it. It was in immaculate condition. By comparison I’ve trashed it, but three kids and driving in and out of DC nearly daily for over a year.....

I swapped in an aftermarket pioneer unit shortly after buying it. I didn’t install the backup camera at the time, and actually just put one in last fall. Sadly that pioneer unit finally crapped out right as the pandemic hit, so for the moment I just threw the OE head unit back in since it’s barely being driven at all right now. Technology has always been something Mazda lags behind other manufacturers, and the 5 is a great demonstration of that.

I bought a '12 new, now with 175k km, base model with a manual. When people ask me what I think of it I tell them "it does everything....OK". It's kind of like that cheap multi-tool you keep in your glovebox that gets the job done, but isn't great at any one task. Its largely based on the 3, but heavier, so some of the parts are marginal.
This. So much this. The 5 is like the ultimate compromise car, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. If you have slightly older kids the back seats are perfect for them. If you have a baby you get an easy sliding door for getting them in out (plus sliding doors are objectively nice). If you routinely need a large cargo area but not six seats it’s perfect. But, you can’t carry both things and people well together. With the back seats up you have a tiny cargo area behind them. We solved that with a roof rack and a huge cargo container for our occasional road trips.

I live in an area where they sand/salt/brine the roads and it eats thru cars like crazy so some of my issues may not apply.
. Issues so far:
-Rust. Tailgate, roof, and passenger door.
-2 rear shock mounts have failed, maybe corrosion related. They are made out of a cheap cast material. I have heard of steel ones being available but haven't looked into it.
-About to install the 3rd set of complete brakes/rotors, Maybe corrosion related.
-1 rear wheel bearing replaced around 160k, another one is needing replacement.
-Intermittent check engine light for the last 70k. Small evap leak. replaced purge valve, didn't fix it. I just live with it now.
-2 sway bar links replaced, 120k and 150k
-Muffler and mid pipe need replacing.
-Rear tire wear on the inside edge is a problem for some people.
-If you have bigger than size 7 feet you may not like the manual. My toes hit the clutch arm when I push the clutch.
-The front undertray is fairly vulnerable to road debris. Mine is broken/cracked in a few places.
-Gas mileage is so-so. I typically get 500km from a tank but have got pretty close to 800km when I drive like a grandma.
I’ll add on to that. I’ve also had some of these issues, not all exclusive to the 5.
-replaced leaking exhaust
-replaced rear shocks (when swapping springs) and replaced shock mounts. Mine hadn’t failed, but I knew they were a common thing to crap out. Shocks were pretty much toast at just under 100k miles, and I have recently ordered new struts for the front for the same reason.
-Only On my second set of brakes
-front under tray is fragile plastic, and is meant more as a splash shield and for aerodynamics than real protection. Like many cars the nuts/bolts which hold it on tend to strip out or rust together and sometimes it can be a pain to get off if the hardware is in poor condtion.
-the rear tire wear is a known Mazda thing because they have built in negative camber. Make sure to rotate every 5k miles, and assuming you have tires which are asymmetrical and can roll either direction swap in a cross pattern (fronts to back, backs cross to fronts) to help even out the tire wear. I had to do this on my 3 as well. Flattening out the camber would require aftermarket parts because the stock aren’t adjustable.
-about to replace the right side motor mount to see if it eliminates some at idle (in gear) vibration.


I just did a swap on my ATX fluid (three drain and fills, plus an extra liter spilled out on the ground because I’m easily distracted and didn’t disconnect the hose). Old fluid was nasty, black, and burned. New fluid in and it shifts much nicer and lost some vibration it had.
 
:
2005 Mazda3
I bought a '12 new, now with 175k km, base model with a manual. When people ask me what I think of it I tell them "it does everything....OK". It's kind of like that cheap multi-tool you keep in your glovebox that gets the job done, but isn't great at any one task. Its largely based on the 3, but heavier, so some of the parts are marginal.
I live in an area where they sand/salt/brine the roads and it eats thru cars like crazy so some of my issues may not apply.
. Issues so far:
-Rust. Tailgate, roof, and passenger door.
-2 rear shock mounts have failed, maybe corrosion related. They are made out of a cheap cast material. I have heard of steel ones being available but haven't looked into it.
-About to install the 3rd set of complete brakes/rotors, Maybe corrosion related.
-1 rear wheel bearing replaced around 160k, another one is needing replacement.
-Intermittent check engine light for the last 70k. Small evap leak. replaced purge valve, didn't fix it. I just live with it now.
-2 sway bar links replaced, 120k and 150k
-Muffler and mid pipe need replacing.
-Rear tire wear on the inside edge is a problem for some people.
-If you have bigger than size 7 feet you may not like the manual. My toes hit the clutch arm when I push the clutch.
-The front undertray is fairly vulnerable to road debris. Mine is broken/cracked in a few places.
-Gas mileage is so-so. I typically get 500km from a tank but have got pretty close to 800km when I drive like a grandma.
Thanks for the detailed report on what was done. It's a bummer to know that the 2nd Gen Mazda 5 is having rusting issues too. I'm definitely going with an automatic for this vehicle, I have a manual mazda 3 already, it's fun to drive but in the city I'm kicking myself. Yeah, I'm looking at the Mazda5 for the same reasons, based on the 3 (though they should've given it a more robust suspension set up), fun to drive for it's "class", great utility and space, reliable drive train, and right now it's relatively inexpensive/a bargain.
 
:
2005 Mazda3
Welcome. There are several things which came up on the first gen 5 which shouldn’t be issues on a 2nd gen. (Sliding door not latching closed in cold weather, front strut noise, etc). Also the 4 speed ATX wasn’t particular nice or smooth in the 1st gen and is improved in the 2nd gen.

The 2.5 is a scaled up 2.3 which was used in the 1st gen Mazda 3 and 6. It similar to the 2.0, but not the same engine. One big thing with these is they are not fuel efficient. If driving in/around city traffic don’t be surprised with low 20’s mpg.

I’m in the middle of a suspension saga with my 2nd gen in upgrading the rear springs to be a little stronger. I don’t like the way the vehicle performs or sags when loaded down with people and stuff, so I swapped in CX7 lowering springs in the rear. So far I love them.

Thanks for the welcome.

The 1st generation Mazda 5 used a Ford sourced 4 speed automatic and the MZR23. Both the transmission and the engine are well known to have problems later in life. The MZR23 was a "Franken motor", the displacement bore was increased, some parts were specific, while other parts were shared with the 2.0..a sort of "mix and match" which showed to be a flawed setup(some parts were sufficient for the higher displacement, others were not, bent actuators were common later), Mazda discontinued the motor shortly.

Which is why I'm not looking at 1st gens, even though I think they look better than the 2nd generations.

The MZR25 was developed as a response to replace the 2.3 liter. Not a single engine part is shared on the top end and lower end of the motor between the 2.5 and the 2.0(unlike the 2.0 and 2.3) this time around, it was a CAD scale up based from the 2.0 from the ground up(meaning no parts are interchangeable from the top end and bottom end..). The tuning isn't the same, nor are the specs the same (rev points), but from the engineering papers I saw, the base starting point was making a scaled up version of the reliable 2.0. I worked for Mazda years ago and had this presented to me, there used to be automobile articles out there that explained this as well during the debut for the 2.5 liter and the need for it as well but it's been so many years it'd take a while to dig up. You might see erraneous statements from articles like, "the 2.5 is an updated version of the 2.3", but that's misstated , the 2.5 update replaces the 2.3 is more accurate. Just wanted to shed some light on it and why I trust that the 2.5 Liter will be more reliable than the 2.3 liter.

And yes, you're right, it's not very efficient, especially when compared to competitors. I considered the Mazda5 2nd gen because it still seems to be a sort of "well rounded" vehicle for my needs, between the robust drivetrain and the interior cargo space.

The 2nd Gen Mazda 5 uses a 5 speed Aisin transmission(Aisin is also the automatic transmission manufacturer for Toyota, in my opinion one of the best transmission manufacturers in the world, at different times, for different models, Aisin has been contracted to make transmissions for other makers as well..). Anything Aisin makes, I trust it to be thoroughly tested, robust, and reliable-all things properly maintained.
--

That's awesome, had no idea that the CX7 springs could fit in the 2nd Gen Mazda5, sounds like a great setup. It's something I didn't know about, thanks for sharing that, and for everything in your reply.
 
:
2005 Mazda3
I’ll add on to that. I’ve also had some of these issues, not all exclusive to the 5.
-replaced leaking exhaust
-replaced rear shocks (when swapping springs) and replaced shock mounts. Mine hadn’t failed, but I knew they were a common thing to crap out. Shocks were pretty much toast at just under 100k miles, and I have recently ordered new struts for the front for the same reason.
-Only On my second set of brakes
-front under tray is fragile plastic, and is meant more as a splash shield and for aerodynamics than real protection. Like many cars the nuts/bolts which hold it on tend to strip out or rust together and sometimes it can be a pain to get off if the hardware is in poor condtion.
-the rear tire wear is a known Mazda thing because they have built in negative camber. Make sure to rotate every 5k miles, and assuming you have tires which are asymmetrical and can roll either direction swap in a cross pattern (fronts to back, backs cross to fronts) to help even out the tire wear. I had to do this on my 3 as well. Flattening out the camber would require aftermarket parts because the stock aren’t adjustable.
-about to replace the right side motor mount to see if it eliminates some at idle (in gear) vibration.


I just did a swap on my ATX fluid (three drain and fills, plus an extra liter spilled out on the ground because I’m easily distracted and didn’t disconnect the hose). Old fluid was nasty, black, and burned. New fluid in and it shifts much nicer and lost some vibration it had.
Totally agree with all your points regarding the Mazda5, it's a nice setup... handles/rides similar to a car but has more cargo space/utility compared to a station wagon.

Thanks for all that information too. Many of the things that I am seeing is similar to problems I see on the Mazda3's(being based off eachother).

However, I'm surprised nobody mentioned Motor mounts? On the 3, those fluid filled motor mounts would bust anywhere from 50k-80k miles.
 
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2010 Mazda 5 Sport
Yeah, motor mounts wear out. The one in my car has hit 100k miles...so maybe they don't go as early.

As for rust...Nothing beats a southern car. It's worth the plane ticket IMHO.
 
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2005 Mazda3
Yeah, motor mounts wear out. The one in my car has hit 100k miles...so maybe they don't go as early.

As for rust...Nothing beats a southern car. It's worth the plane ticket IMHO.
Thanks for the feedback, yeah, some of the motor mounts last longer, some people on the forums even had them go out earlier.

That's an option too. I usually don't consider going too far, but if the undercarriage is that beat up on a 5-8 year old Mazda 5 in my area, it might be something I'd consider... and then I'd be sure to give it a good undercoating since I live in the Mid-Atlantic where we salt the roads like crazy.
 

icspots

Paramagic
:
2012 Mazda 5
And here I thought it was only my kids doing distance learning right now. Thanks for the info on the engines!

I’m waiting on a motor mount for the passenger side mount, so I definitely mentioned it. I’m currently having vibration at idle in gear, but not in neutral. Changing my super dirty fluid helped a little bit, but didn’t eliminate it. Torque test showed a lot of motor movement, so I went ahead and ordered one. The only mount I’ve replaced previously was in my ‘05 Mz3, and it was failed. Oil was spilled all over the engine bay wall, and the mount was split in two when I removed it. This one isn’t obviously failed like that one was, so I’m hoping the swap fixes it. If not then I’ll move on to the other mounts.

for the springs there’s another thread in this section talking about those. Basically a Canadian member pointed out he installed the CX7 AWD rear springs. The OE springs raised the back end about 2”, and he installed a spacer in the front struts to even the ride heigh. I didn’t really want a raise so I ordered H&R progressive lowering springs for the CX7 which claimed a 1.3” drop from stock. End result is a slightly firmer ride with better support, but not uncomfortable. When the shocks finally settled it looks like about 1” rise from stock given the car is lighter than the CX7. It definitely turns better, and feels more like my old 3 did. The struts are really worn, so that’s hard to truly compare right now until those get replaced. I’m waffling on putting the CX7 front lowering springs in when I replace the struts. I never had a problem with the front suspension on the 5, it was the rear end that couldn’t keep up.
 
:
2005 Mazda3
And here I thought it was only my kids doing distance learning right now. Thanks for the info on the engines!

I’m waiting on a motor mount for the passenger side mount, so I definitely mentioned it. I’m currently having vibration at idle in gear, but not in neutral. Changing my super dirty fluid helped a little bit, but didn’t eliminate it. Torque test showed a lot of motor movement, so I went ahead and ordered one. The only mount I’ve replaced previously was in my ‘05 Mz3, and it was failed. Oil was spilled all over the engine bay wall, and the mount was split in two when I removed it. This one isn’t obviously failed like that one was, so I’m hoping the swap fixes it. If not then I’ll move on to the other mounts.

for the springs there’s another thread in this section talking about those. Basically a Canadian member pointed out he installed the CX7 AWD rear springs. The OE springs raised the back end about 2”, and he installed a spacer in the front struts to even the ride heigh. I didn’t really want a raise so I ordered H&R progressive lowering springs for the CX7 which claimed a 1.3” drop from stock. End result is a slightly firmer ride with better support, but not uncomfortable. When the shocks finally settled it looks like about 1” rise from stock given the car is lighter than the CX7. It definitely turns better, and feels more like my old 3 did. The struts are really worn, so that’s hard to truly compare right now until those get replaced. I’m waffling on putting the CX7 front lowering springs in when I replace the struts. I never had a problem with the front suspension on the 5, it was the rear end that couldn’t keep up.

I'm learning a lot myself, so thank you too, it's why I appreciate forum boards so much, info/knowledge swaps!

One of the "joys" of getting to replace worn out parts for me is getting to "upgrade" them. On my Mazda3, when my motor mounts started to leak, I went with solid polyurethane pucks/racing grade street mounts that are overbuilt. Some might say that they're too harsh and stiff, but mine seemed about as stiff as stock when it was knew (at least how I remember it).

When I replaced my motor cooling hoses/plumbing(they were fine, but at the 10 year mark I thought I'd replace it anyways while I did a complete coolant flush), I went with silicone racing hoses(impervious to weathering, rotting, severe heat, etc.), figured once I'm under there, mind as well put in overbuilt/better quality parts.

Best of all... those upgraded parts didn't cost anymore than the stock oem parts, in most cases they were even cheaper, since my 3 was so old those parts were overstock anyways.

When the time comes to replace my exhaust, and if I deem it worthy, I'd consider replacing it with a stainless steel one...though the car is in great shape, and the drivetrain shows no signs of quitting.. I do have some bad body rust...and being a unibody car, it'd be a lot of work to get that up to shape... lots of cutting, welding, sanding, and repainting... so I may call it quits for my mazda3 one day...though I'm confident that the drivetrain could last another 10 years/100k miles or more easily.


Hearing your suspension setup on your Mazda 5 gets me excited... cargo space that surpasses an SUV, while it drives like a Mazda3("sporty" compact car). Sure the gas mileage might not be awesome, but the way I figure it, I'm still getting more "utility"/cargo space than an SUV while getting better mileage than a SUV.. may not be AWD, but it'll do in 90% of the driving situations for me.


By the way, how's the acceleration on the Mazda5? I'm not expecting it to be fast, but I'd assume it'd be adequate.
 

icspots

Paramagic
:
2012 Mazda 5
Hearing your suspension setup on your Mazda 5 gets me excited... cargo space that surpasses an SUV, while it drives like a Mazda3("sporty" compact car). Sure the gas mileage might not be awesome, but the way I figure it, I'm still getting more "utility"/cargo space than an SUV while getting better mileage than a SUV.. may not be AWD, but it'll do in 90% of the driving situations for me.
Let’s not fool ourselves here, the 3 drove way more fun than the 5 ever has. This improvement just gave me some wistful memories of driving the 3. The progressive springs definitely gave it a tighter feel around corners with less slop and body roll (at least my perception). That was sort of a side effect of putting on the stiffer/heavier springs with a progressive rate. If decreasing body roll was the goal then other mods would’ve come first, but my goal was better weight handling and got the side effect. I won’t really know how it will do until I replace the struts because they’re super mushy around corners. I did just do a quick comparison of the CX7 front springs to my new struts and strut mounts. Yeah, they’re not going to work. The mounts need the top coil to have a tighter curve with a ~4.5” diameter. These for the CX7 have a continuous inner diameter, so the entire bearing assembly of the mount actually fits inside the spring. At least that makes my decisions easier.

By the way, how's the acceleration on the Mazda5? I'm not expecting it to be fast, but I'd assume it'd be adequate.
Nothing terribly impressive. As previously discussed the motor is similar in size/power to the one in the 3. The tuning is a different, and the car is a solid 500lbs heavier. It’s nothing I’d be showing off, but I don’t have any problems driving in DC traffic and merging in and out of traffic. My 5-speed 2.3 definitely had more oompf, but those were still only..... 165 HP? Shifting and power band are way improved in the 2nd gen from the 1st gen.
 

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