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  1. #1
    Carseat Crazy
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    Question Mazda5 or what else ?

    We need a car to fit 4 kids and 2 adults. Would love an Odyssey or Sienna but way out of our price range and I don't want to get a car older than 2006. Maybe in 2-3 yrs we could get our dream mini-van.

    We need something on the cheaper side around $12,000. I am leaning towards the Mazda but haven't sat or drove one. My question is how long would my tall boys fit in it. My idea was to put my two oldest in the 3rd row. My oldest will be 7yrs in June. He rides in a Britax Parkway and a Graco Turbo booster right now. He is 55 pounds and I don't remember height but all my kids are in the 97% for height. 2nd child is 4yrs and will be 5yrs in September. Right now he is in a Radian but won't last for long b/c the crotch strap is getting too tight (and I have the longer strap). He is 40 lbs. Don't know what seat I will switch him to? But that's another post.

    My 3rd child is in a Radian and will be 2yrs old in July. Surprise baby #4 will be here in Sept. and will be our last.

    For those who have Mazda5's do you think we could last for 2-3 yrs before we could afford a mini van that we want?

    What other small car options are out there? Someone mentioned the Kia Rondo but I have to say I REALLY Don't want to lean/crawl over seats to buckle kids or make sure they are buckled right. That's why I think the Mazda is great with the sliding doors.

    Enlighten me and share your thoughts and stories. Thanks!

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  3. #2
    CPS Technician luckyclov's Avatar
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    Re: Mazda5 or what else ?

    I had an '08 Mazda5 when we were a family of 4. Now, we're a family of 5 and I drive a fullsize minivan. That should tell you a little bit.

    BUT, we spend a LOT of time in our primary vehicle, which the 5 was. We also do most of our traveling in the car since my DD doesn't do well flying. So we needed space. When the 3rd row of the 5 is in use, the cargo space is...almost nothing. I could fit a Chicco Capri umbrella stroller in there and that was about it. When the 3rd row is folded flat, there is LOTS of space.

    I loved the 5. LOVED. It has been my favorite vehicle so far, ever. And I go through a lot of cars. The 2nd row captain's chairs both have a full set of LATCH. There are 2 top tethers in each seat of the 3rd row, but no lower anchors. We had a lot of trouble with highback boosters in the 3rd row due to the seatbelt being so far forward. Mazda corrected this issue, I believe, in 2009. You could, though, put your boostered kids in the captain's chairs and your do your installs (if compatible) in the 3rd row. If they're both RF'ing, you could easily load through the hatch. I'm not sure how the RN will install RF in the 3rd row, due to the legroom, though.

    If you don't need a lot of cargo space, you can definitely make the 5 work. I know people have been able to fit BJCM doubles in the back, if they remove the wheels first.

    Hope that helped a little!
    CPST & Mom to:
    Keep (11 yrs old, 57", 80 lbs), in an Olli, Ozzi & BB
    Sass (10 yrs old, 54", 76 lbs), in Santa Fe, Monterey & Olli
    Zilla (4 yrs old, 38", 36 lbs), FF in a PS, RXT & FR85
    Rollin' in a 2014 Ody, 2012 F-150 SuperCrew & Luigi, a peppy little 2012 Fiat 500

  4. #3
    CPS Technician skipspin's Avatar
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    Re: Mazda5 or what else ?

    I have a Mazda5 with three kids, but usually have two kids in the back with an empty front captians chair.

    It's not a stuff-hauling mobile with al the seats in use, but it does work wonderfully for the people. I usually keep a Maclaren in the back and can stack groceries on top of it for normal shopping trips. I'll put a few things behind the seat of my RFer too. When I'm by myself with the kids (most errands done while DH is at work) I can put light soft stuff in the front seat too.

    My 7.5 year old (about the size of yours) sits in the third row in a Nautilus as a booster and it works great back there. She has plenty of room. My 2 yr old is RFing back there in his Combi CCO 90% of the time. He loves it and it's so easy to put him in the back hatch. My 4 yr old is in the drivers side middle in a FFing RN. It fits RFing there too. My DD can ride in a backless in the center row as well, but the shoulderbelt doesn't fit her well in a backless in the 3rd row. I've had a RA RFing and FFing in the back and the Safeguard GO works great in both rows.

    What doesn't work? A Radian won't work FFing in the back at all. It installs RFing, but it's pretty much out of the question in you have someone in the center row.

    As far as cargo room, I can pop the wheels of my P&Ts e3 double and put it in the back as long as I put it in the one way it works. ;-) I've had my SIL's umbrella stroller on the floor behind the front seats at the same time when we were going to the zoo together with her one kiddo Rfing in the middle row.

    My DH has a big truck, so we have the advantage of using that if we need to go to the hardware store, make a big Costco trip, etc. However, with the seats folded I could get all but the lumber, etc in the 5 if I left some or all of the kids home.

    We have an 08 we got used. My DH used to be a mechanic so we found one with engine issues for cheap that DH fixed, but there were a lot of them in the 12k range when we were looking.

    ETA: If you decide it's too small there are a lot of Dodge Caravan/Grand Caravans out there in your price range. Not as good on gas, and getting 3 in the back won't happen with car seats, but there is more room- especially in the Garnd Caravan.
    Last edited by skipspin; 03-07-2011 at 10:09 PM.


    9 yr old in a pink zebra NBB and 5-stepping
    6 yr DS1 old in a Harmony
    4 yr old DS2 in a Nautilus and Radian
    18 mo DS3 rfing in a MyRide65

  5. #4
    Moderator - CPSTI Emeritus Defrost's Avatar
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    Re: Mazda5 or what else ?

    I have four kids & a Mazda 5. As others have said, it hauls either stuff or people, but not both. When I pick up all four kids at school, three of them put their backpacks in the rear-glove-box (aka backity-back aka "cargo area") and the last one goes between the 2nd-row seats.

    My oldest boys didn't start complaining about the 3rd row fit until they hit puberty. Thomas is over 6' tall, though, and Sam's 5'4" but all leg.

    I'd say you really need to take it for a good long test drive with all four kids before deciding. I love it and don't mind the crowding, but it does feel crowded when it's fully loaded. (Not as crowded as 3-across the back seat of dh's Golf, though.) Just not the same amount of "head space" as my friend's Town & Country or my other friend's Sedona.
    Debbie, CPST-I
    driving my '07 Mazda5 with
    Thomas (18) * Sam (17) * Patrick (15) * Macha (13)
    Safely secured with seat belts - everyone, every ride!

  6. #5
    Senior Community Member Dillipop's Avatar
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    Re: Mazda5 or what else ?

    Do either of you that already own the 5 have the roof rack? We are seriously considering it for the mileage and extra seating, but we do take a long trip a couple times a year. If we got the roof rack and the hard box, would it work for long trips? Once ds starts kindergarten next year, 99% of the time, it'll just me and dd in the car, so most of the time space won't be an issue.


    CCO 4/15

  7. #6
    CPS Technician amyd's Avatar
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    Re: Mazda5 or what else ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dillipop View Post
    Do either of you that already own the 5 have the roof rack? We are seriously considering it for the mileage and extra seating, but we do take a long trip a couple times a year. If we got the roof rack and the hard box, would it work for long trips? Once ds starts kindergarten next year, 99% of the time, it'll just me and dd in the car, so most of the time space won't be an issue.
    I got a roof rack installed on mine when I bought it. I haven't picked up a box yet, but will definitely need one for vacation this summer, even with just 2 kids. We do a long trip (New Brunswick, Canada to NJ/PA...takes a couple days to drive) and we anticipate the box will be sufficient. We're light packers, though, and we don't take any baby gear (stroller, PnP, etc) along.
    Amy~ Canadian tech instructor (CRST-I), Mama to Peter (4.20.08), riding in a Diono Monterey and a Clek Ozzi; Jasper (4.25.11), riding in a Britax Frontier CT and a Graco Nautilus; and Ruby, riding in a Clek Foonf; wife to my CRST hubby, Chris

  8. #7
    Carseat Crazy
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    Re: Mazda5 or what else ?

    We have a roof rack and cargo box. We use it for roadtrips of more than 3 days on the road and full-family camping trips. It's great, but seriously impedes our gas mileage.

    OP, I'm not sure you'd love it. DH and I bought it when we were in the market for our "dream minivan," like a Toyota Sienna/Honda Odyssey. We thought we wanted a full size minivan, and it was only a happy accident that we decided the try the 5 and fell in love with it- fell in love with it, not settled for it because we couldn't get something else. I think if you buy it while wanting something bigger/better, you'll just be unhappy with it for the next 2-3 years. We could have bought a Dodge minivan for the same price, but loved the 5.

    One thing I love about the 5 is the small size. If you have any hesitancy about the size, don't get it, because you'll just be unhappy- there's no getting around what a small van it is.

  9. #8
    Senior Community Member jessi f's Avatar
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    Re: Mazda5 or what else ?

    I've been a Mazda 5 owner for all of about 24 hours and I love it. I honestly think it would be a little too small for your family though. Doable but tight.

    Have you considered the Kia Sedona? It would be in about the same price range as the 5. We considered it but with only 2 kids a full sized van was overkill for us. Just make sure you look at models from 2006 or later bc they redid some things and added side curtain airbags standard after that year From what I've read about it it seems like a really safe family friendly van.
    mommy to J ~ 7 and M ~ 4 riding in our '09 Mazda5

  10. #9
    CPS Technician amyd's Avatar
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    Re: Mazda5 or what else ?

    Quote Originally Posted by teekadog View Post
    DH and I bought it when we were in the market for our "dream minivan," like a Toyota Sienna/Honda Odyssey. We thought we wanted a full size minivan, and it was only a happy accident that we decided the try the 5 and fell in love with it- fell in love with it, not settled for it because we couldn't get something else.
    This is EXACTLY how we ended up with our 5. We looked at the Sienna & the Odyssey and honestly, felt like they were too big for us right now. We our 5.
    Amy~ Canadian tech instructor (CRST-I), Mama to Peter (4.20.08), riding in a Diono Monterey and a Clek Ozzi; Jasper (4.25.11), riding in a Britax Frontier CT and a Graco Nautilus; and Ruby, riding in a Clek Foonf; wife to my CRST hubby, Chris

  11. #10
    Carseat Crazy
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    Re: Mazda5 or what else ?

    Thanks for all your comments. We would really like an Honda or Toyota for all the safety and me and Hubby WOULD love a mini van. The size doesn't scare us. We always rent a mini van when we go on vacation once a year.

    I wish I could find a rental place that had a Mazda5 so I could really try it out. The one thing that makes me nervous is the car seats and would I have to buy all new seats to make it work. And the way everyone makes it sound I would have to put my 2 youngest in the back. I really don't want my newborn in the 3rd row.

    As for cramped we are use to it. Our current cars are a Dodge Neon and Grand Am.

    I wonder *if we should just get a Dodge or Chrysler mini van until we can get our dream van. But I cringe at their safety and how reliable they would be for older models?

    Baby isn't here until Sept so I have some time. Its been so cold here and I hate to waste a car salesman time, so when it warms up we will have to test the Mazda5 out. Hubby thinks the 5 would be fine and then we could later get our dream van. That way we would have 2 cars to transport all the kids instead of just one.

    ???What year did they correct the back seat belts on the Mazda5?

  12. #11
    CPS Technician luckyclov's Avatar
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    Re: Mazda5 or what else ?

    I wonder *if we should just get a Dodge or Chrysler mini van until we can get our dream van. But I cringe at their safety and how reliable they would be for older models?
    I have an '09 Dodge Grand Caravan (it's my 2nd, actually...I also had an '05. My Mazda5 was in the middle). While I don't LOOOOOOVE it, it's not unsafe. I would never put my family in an unsafe vehicle. Since Chrysler redesigned their minivans in 2008, they have had identical crash safety ratings as the Siennas and Odys. You still get 3 rows of side curtain airbags in a Chrysler/Dodge. They also have large floor compartments (where seats go in stow n go mode) to store projectiles. There are removeable/adjustable headrests in all seating positions. There's lap/shoulder belts in all seating positions. Installing SOME carseats can be hard work in some of the seating positions, but it's not impossible...and I have yet to meet a convertible carseat that's flat-out incompatibe. I've only had issues with (some) boosters and only in the 3rd row. Radians install like a dream RF in the captain's chairs. That said, 4 kids is probably the max due to the seating in the 3rd row. There's only one set of off-center LATCH in the 3rd row, so if you use it, there's only room for 2. The center seatbelt is kinda funky - but the ParkwaySG fits great there...and that's where my 8-year DS1 rides. I have my RF 1-year old in a Marathon 70 and my FF 6-year old in a Frontier 85 in the captain's chairs. Great installs with both. With my DS1 in the center of the 3rd row, there's room for 1 more carseat/booster on the passenger side. Due to the layout and 60/40 split, when a booster or carseat is in the center, it compromises the outboard spot on the driver's side. A seatbelt-ready child could fit there, though, I think.

    ???What year did they correct the back seat belts on the Mazda5?
    There were never any recalls or reported injuries/incidents (to my knowledge). In the early model years (mine included - '08), the 3rd row seatbelts were set fwd quite a bit. It made it difficult for seatbelt-ready/no back booster kids and some adults to have the shoulder belt rest properly against the chest. It also created some bunching issues with some highback boosters. For installing carseats and other boosters, they were perfectly fine. There was a redesign with them, I think, in '09.
    Last edited by luckyclov; 03-09-2011 at 11:16 AM. Reason: typo city
    CPST & Mom to:
    Keep (11 yrs old, 57", 80 lbs), in an Olli, Ozzi & BB
    Sass (10 yrs old, 54", 76 lbs), in Santa Fe, Monterey & Olli
    Zilla (4 yrs old, 38", 36 lbs), FF in a PS, RXT & FR85
    Rollin' in a 2014 Ody, 2012 F-150 SuperCrew & Luigi, a peppy little 2012 Fiat 500

  13. #12
    Carseat Crazy
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    Re: Mazda5 or what else ?

    Thanks Clov878 that helps a TON!

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