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Thread: Considering a 2012-2015 Mazda5, any advice from owners?

  1. #1
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    Honda Fit

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    Considering a 2012-2015 Mazda5, any advice from owners?

    Hey guys, new member here and maybe future owner. I thought I'd see if there are any 2012-2015 Mazda5 owners that can chime in with their experiences. I'm looking to change out my trusty 08 Honda Fit with something that provides a little more room for the 2 kids with the capability to add the occasional family/friend passenger or storage going forward, and this car seems to be the one nice fit out there in terms of expanded seating without being too large, too poor on mileage, or too expensive for a fairly new'ish vehicle. Most of my research hasn't revealed any obvious flaws or weaknesses with them, just a fairly reliable vehicle that's a little more fun to drive than the typical large minivan. Is there anything I should be on the lookout for or wary of when inspecting used options? I know used cars generally come with hidden issues, and I'm not expecting it to be problem free, but my Fit has been so trouble free that frequent repairs would make me regret moving on from it. I know the previous generation had suspension and rust issues, and tore up tires fast, and I've read of some issues on this model with that, but not nearly as widespread, at least not yet. I can usually find about 5-10 or so in the 50-70k mile range near me at all times, and that's probably the mileage range we'd be looking at. Any help or advice is greatly appreciated. Thanks.

  2. #2
    ZOOOOOOOOOM ZOOOOOOOOOOOM mazdadude's Avatar

    '16.5 Mazda CX-5 Touring AWD, '05 PRIUS

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    Quote Originally Posted by vnaald View Post
    Hey guys, new member here and maybe future owner. I thought I'd see if there are any 2012-2015 Mazda5 owners that can chime in with their experiences. I'm looking to change out my trusty 08 Honda Fit with something that provides a little more room for the 2 kids with the capability to add the occasional family/friend passenger or storage going forward, and this car seems to be the one nice fit out there in terms of expanded seating without being too large, too poor on mileage, or too expensive for a fairly new'ish vehicle. Most of my research hasn't revealed any obvious flaws or weaknesses with them, just a fairly reliable vehicle that's a little more fun to drive than the typical large minivan. Is there anything I should be on the lookout for or wary of when inspecting used options? I know used cars generally come with hidden issues, and I'm not expecting it to be problem free, but my Fit has been so trouble free that frequent repairs would make me regret moving on from it. I know the previous generation had suspension and rust issues, and tore up tires fast, and I've read of some issues on this model with that, but not nearly as widespread, at least not yet. I can usually find about 5-10 or so in the 50-70k mile range near me at all times, and that's probably the mileage range we'd be looking at. Any help or advice is greatly appreciated. Thanks.
    Yes, sounds like the Mazda5 would be a perfect "fit" for you.

    Tire, suspension, and transmission issues were all tended to when the 2012 came out. My only fault with them is the mopey looking rear body.


    Please do not be afraid to travel to a non mag chloride/salted area, you will get a much nicer vehicle for the same price.
    I bought a Chicagoland car once... NEVER AGAIN!
    Mazda's I have owned over the years. (boom07)
    80' Mazda GLC SPORT MT - sold
    81' Mazda 626 DX MT - sold
    81' Mazda 626 LX AT - sold
    82' Mazda 626 DX MT - sold
    82' Mazda 626 LX AT - sold
    85' Mazda 626 LX MT - sold
    87' Mazda 626 GT Turbo MT - sold
    85' Mazda RX-7 GSL-SE MT- sold
    87' Mazda RX-7 Turbo 2 MT - sold
    91' Mazda Protege LX MT - sold
    92' Mazda MX-5 Miata MT - sold
    93' Mazda MX-3 GS-V6 Special Edition MT - sold
    00' Mazda 626 LX-V6 MT - sold
    02.5' Mazda Protege5 MT - sold
    92' Mazda MX-5 Miata MT - sold
    06' Mazda 5 Touring AT - sold
    13' Mazda CX-5 Touring AT - sold
    14' Mazda 3i Grand Touring MT - sold
    15' Mazda CX-5 Touring AWD AT - sold
    03' Mazda Protege5 AT - sold
    16.5' Mazda CX-5 Touring AWD AT - current
    09' Mazda Mazdaspeed3 GT - current

  3. #3
    2012 CR Mazda5 Touring 90210's Avatar

    2012 Mazda5 Touring

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    It won't have Honda fit build quality.

    I bought my 2012 new. I have 107K miles on it. Search my posts, I have literally wrote out everything that went wrong, costs $, and mileage, etc. At 150K, I will be selling mine, probably another 24 months, and go back to a Honda/toyota family product. I am a long term sports car owner, I bought my Mazda5 due to the fun factor. After living with it 7 years, the poor build quality, loud noise, etc etc, even though I paid 19.5$K new, I should have paid 10K more, forgone the "fun" and bought something realiable, quality product from a Tier 1 manfuctuer.

    Lastly, it doesn*t have the mpg benefit either.

    Only you can decide how much *fun* is worth to you. I bought it for fun too .... was same thought process as you

    This is my 9th and last Mazda.
    Last edited by 90210; 11-17-2018 at 12:02 AM.

  4. #4
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    Honda Fit

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    Thanks guys, I appreciate the insight. 90210, I've read plenty of your posts here, very detailed and thorough, thank you. I'm kind of surprised you're so down on your car, aside from the suspension it seems like it's been solid. Then again it's easy to get down on something you see the flaws in every day, I know I've done that with my own vehicles. I don't expect this car to be of top end quality or completely without repair, somewhat fortunately my Honda is very basic and noisy as it is so the 5 shouldn't be much different. I'm not ignoring the fact that it is still a Mazda and not a Toyota or Honda, but those aren't without their faults either and I'd have to go well over 100k miles to find one in the same year and price range as the 5, and those are usually the outliers as the rest are generally significantly more expensive. Budget isn't the primary deciding factor but it does play a role, and it's really hard to ignore the value on these at the moment compared to where the market is otherwise for new or used 6+ passenger vehicles. Additionally, there's part of me that likes the idea that it's different than the typical Odyssey or Sienna. Nothing against those vehicles, but they've almost become modern day family version of the mid 90s Taurus.

  5. #5
    2012 CR Mazda5 Touring 90210's Avatar

    2012 Mazda5 Touring

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    Everybody*s definition of solid is different

    Door locks dying
    Shocks leaking
    Suspension problems

    At 6 years and 80k miles, these problems aren*t the Japanese normal. Sienna/Oddy (trust me it isn*that I desire those), go 200k before suspension and lock problems

    Anyways we all vote with our wallets

    I put my money where my mouth is. I have lived with it 8 years. 2 more years, and this POS can be someone else*s problem

    Vans depreciate like crazy. I can spend $23-25k and get a fantastic low mile sienna to replace in 2 years


    I am not telling you don*t buy it. Just sharing my experience. A spec Miata friend of mine who had older one convinced me to buy it.

    I am just saying I drive Japanese for quality and reliability. If I wanted a crappy ford, I would have bought one.
    Last edited by 90210; 11-19-2018 at 12:12 PM.

  6. #6
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    Honda Fit

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    I guess growing up on GM vehicles shaped my approach and expectations differently. But I understand and appreciate your viewpoint, thank you.

  7. #7
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    2012 Mazda 5

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    I have a 2012. Purchased it as "rebuilt" with low miles in 2013.
    So far had one issue with a rear door slider wearing out. No other issue, no problems with suspension / noise.
    Car as solid as day one after 135k km / 84k miles.
    Lousy gas millage is my major complaint. I barely get 11L/100 km (21mpg) on a highway... and I drive SLOW. I get similar millage on a GM 3.4V 6....
    Seats are not super comfy but probably best car we ever had outside the gas millage.
    It is not sienna so space or comfort....

  8. #8
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    2012 Mazda5 Sport AT

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    That's...surprisingly low fuel economy. I have hit 32+ before on the highway but usually get about 27 mpg on open highway cruising at 70ish mph. And that's with sticky ultra high performance tires. Swapping back to grand touring tires I expect to improve that number. Winter fuel is less dense so fuel economy will be worse for a while, and when I run with a full passenger and cargo load at 80mph my mpg drops to 24 in the winter. But 21? That's really surprising.

    As for reliability: I had a fuel tank return valve replaced under warranty in the first few months of ownership, lots of paint chips from driving a ton, rear suspension noise that I mostly rectified with new sway bar end links and shocks (I have repeatedly overloaded the max weight capacity of the car so I don't blame the noise on the car but my use of it). I had a sliding door ice over and seal shut and I ripped the door handle off trying to open it (my bad) and I've had some minor accidents (always other people hitting me or a road hazard like a truck tire getting thrown into my front end). Engine and transmission have been reliable. I've kept the oil changed on a regular basis with full synthetic every time and I've had the transmission fluid changed 3 or 4 times now just because I've heard that it's a weak point on all its applications (Mazda and Ford) if you don't maintain it. Interior reliability has been fine. The driver's seat foam deteriorated on the bolster near the door some time ago, but that's probably from how I get in and out. I'll probably find a wrecked 5 and get a new chair, maybe from a GT and get the leather and seat heaters.

    Is it the most reliable thing out there? No, but it's pretty damned reliable.
    Is it the most fuel efficient? No. Most spacious? No. Most fun to drive? No.

    It's a compromise, like all vehicles. For a cheap car that does almost everything you'll ever need, it's worth it. Try and find a Grand Touring. The only reason to get a Sport would be for the manual transmission, which I'd say isn't worth it anyway. The best value is the GT.
    Completed mods: 15% tint all around | Class I trailer hitch | JKS Rear Spoiler | OEM bumper guard | OEM roof rack | Thule 872XT fairing | Hella Supertone Horns



  9. #9
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    Considering a 2012-2015 Mazda5, any advice from owners?

    It's the best small van out there. It's really the only small passenger van as well. It's Shorter than a Corolla. The other problem is the 2+2+2 seating. It doesn't comfortably sit more than 4 adults. The two rear seats are for small children, like 10 and under. Width isn't terrible but legroom is horrible for adults or older children. Also 6 people in the car and it's very sluggish. Engine is a bit underpowered.

    Fun to drive? For a van sure. But there are plenty of better sporty cars that seat 5. Unless you really need the 6th seat or the sliding doors then there are better options out there. My 12 year old gti is still a lot not fun to drive than my Mazda 5. But obviously the gti isn't a van.

    Sliding doors are convenient in tight parking spots for sure. I have been able to squeeze into really tight spots that a sedan even the same size would have trouble due to opening the rear doors.

    Reliability isn't terrible but don't expect Toyota/Honda reliability.

    Paint is also very thin and chips easily, particularly an issue for those who have rust concerns.
    Using Tapatalk

  10. #10
    Booga Booga? phunky.buddha's Avatar

    2009 Mazda5 Sport

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    Only thing you can buy in the USA in the same model years with sliding doors and a stick. Shared component with the MZ3 of the same generation makes parts swapping and upgrading easy. The suspension and brake problems that are common to the platform are relatively easy to remedy if you're good with working on cars.

    Air conditioning is a nightmare- every shared platform FoMoCo product (3, 5, Focus, S40/V40) has the same issues. Just a bad design on the system itself. Tint the hell out of your windows- that'll help. High weight for what the car is. Low gas mileage for what the car is. Still the most fun you'll have in a 6 seater though, especially when you dump half the hardware for stuff from a Mazdaspeed 3.

  11. #11
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    2012 Mazda 5 Touring

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    I just bought a used 2012 Mazda 5 myself. I was obsessed with the 5 idea of being a micro van and good fit for our small family and occasional in laws visits, and Financially I am ok with the decision since my other option was putting the Mazda 5 full price as a down payment for an SUV/MiniVan + additional finance.

    However after driving it for a month (mainly in city driving) I can definitely feel now the poor interior, almost no option for the touring trim except Bluetooth, poor quality of the seat cushions, crackling sounds from the doors on turns (googling it's a common issue). And the one I got is relatively a young car (only 55k miles), The MPG is NOT that great either (19 city), maybe it was great 5 or 6 years ago. But now SUVs has 25+ MPG. Maybe It would have been a hit run if Mazda have decided to use the newer Mazda 3 engines with 30 MPG for the Mazda 5 rather than discontinuing the whole line.

    The conclusion for me is, I love the size of Mazda 5 but nothing else about the car. it's mainly financial decision that I took and I will be living with it for sometime.

    If you still planning to get it. Try to get 2013+ model Touring or GrandTouring. Or the sport trim and replace the stereo with bluetooth enabled one and backup camera. And try to get it cheap!
    Last edited by ramy_m; 01-04-2019 at 10:04 PM.

  12. #12
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    Honda Fit

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    Hey guys, OP circling back here. We ended up buying a 2015 Sport with 45k miles just after Thanksgiving, and thus far are very happy with it. We tried for a Touring or Grand Touring, but the added amenities of leather seats, bluetooth, etc just didn't feel worth the price premium that places were asking, and many weren't budging much on price; no surprise most are still for sale. For us it wasn't about the extras it was about the car itself. It's certainly not the most sophisticated of vehicles, very simple but that's all we were really after as we've never had a car that's had all the bells and whistles thus didn't need to change that now. The more simple the vehicle the less things to go wrong IMO. As my daily driver I'm actually liking it quite a bit. It's surprisingly adequate if not peppy at city speeds and nicely maneuverable, not nearly as tank like as other options felt. We've only used the 3rd row a few times when the in-laws were in town, but it worked out just as planned. We're still learning the quirks of the vehicle, like the gas gauge being over 50% past 200 miles only to dive after that, and the cruise control that needs to be turned on every time you start the car, but nothing we can't look past. For a value buy vehicle to haul the kids around a bit as a transition before they're older it seems to be a great buy so far. Thanks to everybody that chimed in, I appreciate the guidance and insight.
    Last edited by vnaald; 01-08-2019 at 06:35 PM.

  13. #13
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    Mazda5 Sport

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    I bought a 2012 Sport with MT in 2016 - coming up on 3 years.
    My experience has been unremarkable. I've replaced the rear brakes and the serpentine belt.
    I think the wind noise is a bit high, but nothing I can't live with.
    I get 28 mph pretty regularly.
    I enjoy shifting my own gears again, but the clutch/gas pedals are a little quirky. I still have abrupt takeoffs sometimes, after driving this car over 40k miles and 3 years.
    It does everything OK, but nothing well. It's not especially fast, roomy, glamorous, or have the most passenger room. It tows a small utility trailer for me, but I know it's back there all the time. The sliding doors, though dorky, are pretty handy in tight spaces.
    Good luck with your new steed, OP.

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