After skipping the 2011 model year, the Mazda MAZDA5 is back with a new look for 2012 to spice up the minivan market. The new MAZDA5 will be offered in three trim levels (Sport, Touring and Grand Touring), and it will go on sale next month with a starting MSRP of $19,990 including destination charges. With the cancellation of the Kia Rondo, the MAZDA5 is essentially in a class by itself for now, but other automakers are looking to join the MPV market including Ford with its upcoming C-Max.
Standing as the base model, the MAZDA5 Sport will have a price about $5,000 lower than the next-lowest minivan on the market, the Toyota Sienna. In this trim level, the MAZDA5 doesn't offer any option packages, but it does come standard with plenty of equipment including a three-row, six-passenger seating configuration, 16-inch alloy wheels and cruise control. Moving up to the next trim level, the MAZDA5 Touring will start at $21,990 and will give the minivan a sportier look with 17-inch wheels, side sill extensions, liftgate spoiler and fog lights. Other added equipment for this model includes Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity and audio streaming and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift lever, while the optional ($1,140) Moonroof and Audio Package adds a power moonroof, six-disc, in-dash CD changer and satellite radio.
Finally, the top-of-the-line MAZDA5 Grand Touring starts at $24,670 and adds about every option available such as high-intensity discharge (HID) automatic on/off headlights, rain-sensing wipers, leather seats with heated front seats and a security alarm system. The same equipment available on the Touring trim level's Moonroof and Audio Package is standard on the Grand Touring. All 2012 MAZDA5 models use a 2.5-liter inline-four that produces 157 horsepower and 163lb-ft of torque. Sport models will be offered with a six-speed manual transmission, while the Touring and Grand Touring use a five-speed automatic. Standard safety features include six airbags, anti-lock brakes, stability control, traction control and tire pressure-monitoring system.
The pricing of the 2012 MAZDA5 won't be the only thing that helps this compact minivan stand out, either, as the all-new styling gives it a stylish, unique look with the iconic and recognizable Mazda Nagare design language. This new design features the controversial 'smiley'? front end design as seen on the current Mazda Mazda3 which actually doesn't look too bad on the new van. From there, the wide front fender arches mimic sportier Mazda cars such as the Mazda RX-8, but the wavy side body creases really help make the design stand out.
Mazda's all-new compact minivan should be available at Mazda dealerships starting early next year.
Photos by Andy Giraud of Andy Giraud Photography.