2008 Mazda 5 Grand Touring AT (709)

Overview:

This week we’re looking at the 2008 Mazda 5 Grand Touring AT. And for those of you who have driven Mazda’s you likely have an interest in what Mazda is doing. There isn’t a cult following per se, but it is certain that people do come back to what has worked for them. Me, I’ve always liked the product even though it doesn’t have the “Toyota” name that is marketed well.

If you’re new to Mazda you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the overall quality and workmanship of the vehicles they produce. And although this is not my favorite look it is not ugly either. Ok a little homely. Just goes to show you what computers will do. I think we’ve over done Computer Aided Designs and left out the human touches. Chrysler is the most innovative of all the car makers today and mixes the CAD systems with real people to come up with cars like the PT Cruiser, Plymouth Prowler, Dodge Challenger, Charger and the 300. Bravo Chrysler and I hope you keep it up.

General Info:

Parts – US/Canadian 0%, Japan 95%,

Assembly – Hiroshima, Japan

Class:  – Minivans

Cars: – CX-7, CX-9, Mazda 3, 5 & 6, Mazdaspeed3 & 6, MX-5 Miata, RX-8, Tribute, Tribute Hybrid & Truck.

Handling & Performance:

I don’t know how they managed to do it, but I felt very annoyed with the touchy accelerator and brake pedals. Otherwise the 153 hp engine is very good and the gear ratios work well at all speeds. It was comfortable and easy to drive.

Styling:

Minivans are super convenient for entry and exit because of the sliding side doors, especially for those tight parking places. This however is a compact so all has been scaled down. I can’t say I’m thrilled with the look but they appear to have concentrated on function over form.

Fit and Finish:

Mazda good. Not spectacular but they are consistently good with obvious care that has always been a Japanese trait. I’m biased, I have to tell you, because I have experienced the exceptional work ethic of the Japanese when our Naval air Squadrons sea planes were refurbished in Japan. I was a crewmember and we’d take the planes to Japan from our base in the Philippines where we spent some time getting to know the people. Conclusion: People don’t start wars – power hungry politicians do it for profit.

Cost:

In the hunt but the competition is fierce and capable.

Features and Conveniences:

Standard stuff is very good and I’ve always found Japanese electronics to be user friendly and the exact opposite for German cars that have a need somehow to over complicate things. Again, although Nav and Satellite radio are options, I recommend buying them separately as aftermarket additions if you’re interested in saving money. In this case it will surely save about $2,000. In addition portable is just that – you can use them in any car. That even goes for Bluetooth devices that are “Really” cheap.

Consumer Recommendation:

Resource – www.safercar.gov

I have not tested the Honda Fit at this writing but all the competition is formidable. There are too few not to drive them all. Then I’m sure fuel economy will tip the scales for you as they will increasingly for most of us as gas prices rise. Me, I like the PT Cruiser for SUV type styling and the convenience of the Mazda 5 as a small family minivan.

Recognized Competition:

Mazda 5 $18-23,000, Ford Focus Wagon $17-18,000, Chrysler PT Cruiser $15-23,000, Mazda 3 $14-20,000, Honda Fit $14-16,000, Kia Spectra5 $15,995, Kia Rondo $16-20,000.

2009 – Toyota Matrix $16-22,000, Pontiac Vibe $15-19,000, Scion xB $15,750, Chevrolet HHR $ n/a.

Good News:

Convenient design with especially easy entrance and exit, fun to drive, comfy and spacious for the smaller size minivan.

Bad News:

Touchy accelerator and brakes.

Standard Equipment:

2.3 liter 153 hp inline 4 cylinder engine, 5-speed automatic transmission, 17” Aluminum Alloy wheels, auto headlights, halogen fog lights, rain sensing wipers, 6 passenger seating, leather trimmed seats with heated front, fold flat 2nd row seats with under seat storage and fold out table, climate control, front and rear 12 V outlets, tire pressure monitoring, 4-wheel disc brakes, front and rear stabilizer bars, variable assist power steering, rear wiper washer, power heated mirrors, power windows and locks, audio with 6 disc CD changer, leather steering wheel with audio controls & leather shift knob, tilt and telescopic column, cruise control, power moon roof, Bluetooth hands free phone system, front and side airbags, rear side air curtain air bags, LATCH rear child safety anchors, anti-theft engine immobilizer.

Options: navigation system, SIRIUS satellite radio Total $2,430.

Gas Stats:

$4.59/ Gal avg. July 4, ‘08

www.fueleconomy.gov

for more information.

21 City and 27 Highway MPG

www.safercar.gov or  888-327-4236

Pricing:

MSRP $22,365 – with options $24,845.

Your comments are welcomed. My e-mail is joe@autolove.com
Copyright © 2014 – An Automotive Love Affair.

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