Test drove a Mazda5 last night - quite disappointed

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I test drove a Mazda5 GS auto last night. I've been waiting a while to drive one though my current lease doesn't end until early October I believe. I think the M5 had less than 2k on the clock but I walked away really disappointed for several reasons.

The road noise was awful; we don't have the best roads here but the road noise was LOUD. Now I know I could possibly attribute that to crappy all season tyres but I presume they were the standard ones that are fitted when you buy new.

The suspension was disappointing too. It didn't soak up the bumps as well as I thought it would for a new car. I'm not sure how else to describe it; I was hoping to feel a thump as the shocks absorbed the impact but instead it was quite jarring.

Previous to this, I'd only sat in the GT model in the showroom, which has leather seats. I found this driver's seat quite comfortable. It took me less than 1 minute to find a comfy position. The GS I drove had the standard material seats and for the life of me I couldn't get comfortable. I think I managed to find a half decent position by the time the long test drive was over. I'm probably more picky than most because I have a bad back but I was surprised. I assumed the non-leather and leather seats were identical in every way except for the material.

Are my thoughts on the suspension and road noise typical for the M5? As a comparison I'm currently driving a 2008 Sentra, which I can't wait to get rid of! I'm not trying to troll here; I really do want to get feedback and comments from owners. I know that test models tend to take quite a hammering so maybe it wasn't indicative of a brand new M5? Thanks
 

Robotaz

Lover of 5's
V
2009 Mazda5 GT
The 5 has a stiff suspension so that it can handle better than the average, comparable vehicle. If it is too jarring, you are most likely not a targeted customer if the handling doesn't outweigh the bumps. However, I'm sure you can get all sorts of aftermarket shocks to address that issue if you still want the car, but with a different ride. The road noise is due to those pathetic Toyos that come on it. Those tires are so bad that I have permanently deleted Toyo from my future. No way would I buy their garbage after driving 100 miles on the ones that came on my 5. Worst tires ever made.
 

mazdadude

ZOOOOOOOOOM ZOOOOOOOOOOOM
V
'16.5 Mazda CX-5 Touring
Stodge- You didn't mention what year you drove, but with 2k miles I assume it was a 2009-2010 model.

You concern about the roadnoise is justified. The Mazda5 does have more roadnoise than other cars in it's class. Part of this is due to the lack of interior sound dampening and the usage of lightweight interior materials; whereas the other part can be contributed to the performance oriented tighter chassis and suspension. Both of these are really cost-prohibitive/labor intensive for the vehicle owner to change, and are the compromises needed in order to have an inexpensive, lightweight, and responsive vehicle.

However, there are some easier things that you can do to improve the ride/roadnoise:

The cheapest and easiest, is to check the tire pressure and make sure that it is at the recommended MAZDA5 doorjamb pressure (Not the Tires MAX PRESS listed on the tire). Tire pressures are never checked as often as they should be, and you would be suprised how many cars end up on the dealer lots with the 50+psi that the first tire installer used to seat the bead on the wheel.

Upgrading the tire size from a 205/50/17 to a 215/50/17 will give you some more sidewall height, and improves the roadnoise, as well as reducing the jarring felt. You will find a lot of Mazda5 owners on this forum that have moved to that size. You give up a few % of pep and response but get a smoother and quieter ride in addition to increased speedometer accuracy.

Another thing I noticed about the sound levels inside the car are the differences between the levels when I use the carpeted floor mats vs. the all-weather floor mats. The carpeted floormats appear to absorb sound better then the all-weather ones.

As far as the seating concerns, I was not aware of a structural difference between the leather vs cloth surfaces. More research required there. (detect)
 
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V
2008 Mazda5 Grand Touring
Wouldn't recommend buying one. If it's a car that you want to like but can't then you'll ultimately end up disappointed. Just like I was with my 3G Eclipse GTS.

For me I couldn't help liking the 5 and that's how I knew I wanted one. I liked it's assets so much that I was able to easily overlook it's drawbacks.

Road noise was one thing I noticed immediately. But shortly thereafter I noticed the thing turned in like a BMW and handled far, far better than anything comparable to it.

I thought of driving through the twisty canyon roads on the way out to the mountains and remembered the same experience in my parent's minivan and my brother's Corolla. I was sold.

If you care nothing for Fun-To-Drive factor then a Kia Rondo might be better for you. Otherwise I'd find a low-mileage leather interior 5 for sale. Get rid of the Toyos and make some mountain road-trips.
 
Thanks for the positive responses. :)

I didn't get the chance to really put the handling to the test. Rush hour on the edge of a city isn't the best place for that! I did notice that the handling and steering were decent though. Direct and easy steering.

I thought the GS (not sure what the equivalent model is in the US) had 16" tyres and the GT had 17"? I'm pretty sure they're 205/55R16. I think they're the same as my Sentra.

I can't bring myself to even try a Rondo; it's a hideous vehicle and I'm not a fan of Kia's seats anyway. The M5 I drove was supposed to be a 2010, so I'm fairly sure it wasn't a 2009.

The Mazda salesman said there were no structural differences between the leather and non-leather seats. And I think I'm inclined to believe him. I wonder if the extra perceived (psychological?) comfort comes from the leather.
 

thaxman

Mazda5 the Anti-Van
Maybe the GS you drove had upgraded 17" wheels. I can't imagine 16" wheels being jarring at all, at least not any more than the 195/60/15s on my Accord. I bet we have better roads here in ice-free AZ, but I don't find the 17s any more harsh than any other modern car.
 
V
2006 Mazda5 GS 5MT
The Canadian GS trim level is the only package in North America that features 16" (205/55R16) in North America. Outside of NA you can get all the way down to 15" due to the relaxed safety restrictions on brake caliper/disc size.
If the 2010 still has the Toyo Proxes A05 tires on it I'd blame a significant amount of road noise on those. I've seen some 2010 Mz3's with Bridgestone 205/55R16 tires though so Mazda Canada may have changed for 2010. My winter tires are quieter than the Toyo's for comparison.
I find the ride of my 5 GS pretty comfortable, and that's coming from someone whose last car was a soft 4-door sedan. Side-side (eg: going over a speed bump on an angle) can be pretty jarring though, although this is somewhat expected in such a "tall" vehicle.
I'd recommend testing another 5, maybe at another dealership, just to get a second opinion. If that's not feasible go back to the same dealership and do a test drive in a GT with leather. You'll get the experience the seats you're interested first hand and if the ride is decent with the 17's on the GT, maybe you got a test drive in a lemon.
 
I'm definitely going for another test drive; probably at another dealership just in case. Hopefully it'll be a better ride. Who knows. Thanks again.
 
V
2008 Mazda5 Grand Touring
I wonder if the extra perceived (psychological?) comfort comes from the leather.
I have leather in my '08 GT and find the seats quite agreeable. I think surface material CAN actually make a difference to overall comfort when it comes to automotive furniture. I find that the lack of friction I experience with the leather makes them more comfortable. Not to mention temperature moderation.

I'm definitely going for another test drive; probably at another dealership just in case. Hopefully it'll be a better ride. Who knows. Thanks again.
That's a great idea. I noticed within my first days of ownership that the car reacted quite dramatically to various degrees of pavement quality (which of course goes without saying). I guess what I mean is, maybe you'll find yourself not so stunned by road noise at a different location. I'm now running Potenza G019 Grid tires on the stock 17" rims and the road noise has been drastically reduced. A lot of dudes in here are running Dunlop Sport Signature, as well as various other brands. EVERYONE reports a marked decrease in noise with their new tires.

The trouble with considering that on a new car is what will you do with the stock tires? I mean there is probably 40k miles worth of tread on them to start (depending on how you drive). It's obviously the best value to run them out but that means a couple of seasons worth of enduring their horrid noise, comfort level, and wet performance. This is why I was recommending low-mileage used, but to each...

Some guys in here have added sound dampening materials but that's a costly venture if you can DIY.

Another consideration is waiting a couple of months and trying out the completely redesigned model. It will undoubtedly be quieter and it has a nicer interior. The exterior isn't as sporty looking but it will likely still drive with some Mazda zoom zoom.
 

KBrian

Old and slow, unlike my 5
Contributor
V
02' Protege5
Tires IMO contribute the bulk of the noise and ride harshness of the 5. You might convince the dealer to include a new set from the parts dept in the deal, or ask to trade the stockers for a different brand for dealer's cost if they keep the stockers.
 

Robotaz

Lover of 5's
V
2009 Mazda5 GT
^^ Yes. Complain about the tires and tell them that they'll have to at least go half on some decent ones. That's what I'd do if I had it to do over again.
 
Good points all round. I have considered buying a slightly used M5, but those are likely to be ex-demos, or other types that have been hammered and not maintained. I could pick carefully but I'm not the most intelligent car shopper!

Also, according to trader.ca, there is one 2010 M5 GT with 32,141kms, zero 2009s and two 2008s. One of these has less than 400km, so it's probably a demo. Oh and it's white! Ugh! :)

http://www.autotrader.ca/used_cars_Car_details/OTTAWA_Ontario_2008_MAZDA_5_168055.html

Where there any major changes from 2008 -> 2009 and from 2009 -> 2010? I know 2008 saw some good changes with the HVAC and additional arm rests.
 

jimp

05 MZ3 HB/09 MZ5
V
2005 Mazda 3 HB 5 speed
I just bought an 09 w/ 36K, personally, I think the 5 is a fairly quiet vehicle compared to others I have been in. I have not ridden in many vans or mini-vans, but sure, almost any vehicle could utilize more sound deadening material, but to get that last tenth of an mpg they cut corners everywhere they can to lose weight. It all boils down to if you don't like it, don't buy.
 
V
2007 Mazda 5 GT 5MT
Get the underside coated with that spray on asphalt, it seems to help a bit.

The suspension for the Mazda 5 is stiff. On Zero Avenue (the road that rides along the US/Canada border in Vancouver area, they have speed bumps at every intersection and in my old Corolla I could fly over them at 100km/h whereas the Mazda 5 even at low speeds it's quite jarring. The sporty suspension makes for fun drives but also results in less comfort.

Give it another test drive and let us know how it goes! If not, I recommend the Kia Rondo which has a bit more of a refined but far from sporty ride.
 
it all depends on what you're used to, or expecting. I LOVED my M5 on a test drive ( I bought the one I test drove). bumps were dampened MUCH better than on my '96 MPV (and that had 225/75 15 tires!). I loved the quick turn-in, and the very responsive brakes.
now, on long trips, I find myself getting uncomfortable. the seat bottom is really too short, not enough thigh support. but I like that I can get the seat low, and my wife can raise it high the way she likes to drive.
the toyos only bother me on one section of I-78 on my commute; otherwise, I don't find them all that noisy. I've got about 11K on them now, not sure what I'll get next.
 

Robotaz

Lover of 5's
V
2009 Mazda5 GT
"the seat bottom is really too short"

I noticed this too but I forgot to mention it.
yes, it is, but the seat can be modified to tilt back farther by lifting the front a little, which helps with the length problem that you mention. Others who have done it can tell you all about how best to do that if you need to. It's simple.
 
V
2008 Mazda 5 GT Grey Mica
I test drove a Mazda5 GS auto last night. I've been waiting a while to drive one though my current lease doesn't end until early October I believe. I think the M5 had less than 2k on the clock but I walked away really disappointed for several reasons.

The road noise was awful; we don't have the best roads here but the road noise was LOUD. Now I know I could possibly attribute that to crappy all season tyres but I presume they were the standard ones that are fitted when you buy new.
I can tell you that my Mazda is a different vehicle with its Conti winter tires. Half the road noise and noise vibration. I run 16" winter tires. The 17 low-profile tires that the 5 came with create an incredible amount of noise and vibration. Next year I'm hoping to buy better tires to help compensate for the 17" I have to run in the summer as I'm not buying new summer rims.
 

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