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  1. #1
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    Share your thoughts on Mazda5

    This is slightly more of a car question, than a car seat question, but I am researching the mazda5 for my family of 4, and noticed that several members here have owned them or discussed them.

    Would anyone like to talk me into/out of one, or give me some pros and cons from a car seat perspective that I can't get on the used car sites? I'd be hoping for a 2010 model or later to take advantage of the stability and traction control features. We currently have 2002 civic and 2002 corolla.

    For consideration, I have a 4.5 yo in Frontier 85 and 2.33 yo RF in BLVD65 for their main seats. My oldest can buckle himself into his seat with no problems, just needs help to unbuckle. I would like the option of installing the FN in the 3rd row to allow us to transport a grandparent as needed in the 2nd row. I read the 3rd row is essentially only usable by children/teens or small adults, and not sure how that is defined. The mazda5 does have rear tethers I believe, but not latch.

    And last question for now, is there any "trunk" space left when the 3rd row is in place? For a stroller, or kids' bikes?

    thanks!

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  3. #2
    CPS Technician amyd's Avatar
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    I my 5. I have a 2010. The Frontier installs nicely in the third row. Anything pretty much will install in the second row. When the third row is up you wouldn't have space for bikes. There are several strollers that fit though, including the Peg Perego Pliko P3, Baby Jogger City Mini & Micro (both single and double) and one of the small Combi strollers.
    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

  4. #3
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    Re: Share your thoughts on Mazda5

    Thanks Amy!

    I have a graco style single stroller, and a sit n stand double. Mainly used for convenience on trips to museums or the zoo to hold stuff or anyone cranky from walking too far. But those sound like they're too large with the 3 rd row.

    Do you always use the 2nd and 3rd row with your three children? Is it easy for the child (or parent) to access the 3rd row to unbuckle?

  5. #4
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    Re: Share your thoughts on Mazda5

    I was the OP on that other thread that asked about safety results for the Mazda 5. Based on the older test results for the 5 and Mazda's generally good results on more stringent tests recently, I don't have major concerns about the safety of the vehicle -- but it's still frustrating that neither of the two big testing regimes (NHTSA and IIHS) have done much recent testing, given that this is obviously a family car.

    I have driven a Mazda 5 as a rental car and have ridden in a friend's 5 a few times for short trips. The 3rd row is indeed best for kids and small adults, but having said that, I am 6'2" and I fit OK in the 3rd row for a short, in-town trip (10 minutes). It would not have been comfortable for a longer road trip.

    My daughter occasionally rides in the 3rd row of our friends' Mazda 5 using a backless booster and everything seems OK in terms of belt geometry and head restraints. Beyond that, I can't comment on the specifics of carseat installation in the different seats. However, one thing I recall is that the second row seats are supposed to be in their rearmost setting if they have carseats, which means less room for the 3rd row.

    In terms of trunk space, one friend who has a 5 says that she can get very, very little in the trunk with the 3rd row in place -- just some groceries, no stroller. By contrast, Wendy Thomas who posts on this site frequently has (if I recall correctly) said that she can get her stroller and some other stuff in the trunk with the 3rd row in place.

    But kids' bikes? I would think absolutely no way, again from my limited experience. I recently took my daughter's bike to the shop and *barely* got it into an otherwise-empty Subaru Outback, which has a cavernous cargo area. With the 3rd row stowed away, then most likely yes for smaller kids' bikes.

    The main thing I don't like about the Mazda 5 is the gas mileage. Even though it's smaller than a regular minivan, the 21-22 city/28 hwy mpg is disappointing -- especially for us, where it would be our only car and would be used for daily commuting. I've also heard that they are not great in the snow, although a good set of winter tires would take care of that. If you regularly transport 2 kids plus a grandparent and want some flexibility without going in for a big minivan, it's one of the only options out there, and definitely one of the most affordable. Three different sets of friends have the 5 and they all like it.

  6. #5
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    Re: Share your thoughts on Mazda5

    Thanks for all your advice Cantabdad!

    I don't know how crash test results compare as far as a 2010 mazda5 to a 2002 civic/corolla. There are no special safety features we currently have other than a trunk between 2nd row passengers and any rear-ending accidents that may occur. Do you have any opinions about a child riding in the 3rd row, and the proximity to the back end of the car in the event of a rear-end collision?

    I'm about 5'7" and average weight, so it sounds like I might fit, except for the leg room if you think the 2nd row seats must be pushed all the way back. When you compare leg room, is it in relation to a mini-van or a compact sedan style vehicle? With the RF BLVD, the passenger has minimal leg room, but the 2 yo is plenty comfortable. The driver has slightly more room because the FN is FF and only receives occasionally kicking. The space between the lower driver seat and the backseat is just enough to fit a graco pack n play in its travel bag. It helps my son to climb in, and is ready for any overnight trips. Would the rear space be similar to that in the mazda5?

    Just a bit of clarification on the bikes, we just have 2 small balance bikes (no pedals). I don't know what the smallest bike size is (maybe 12in.) but our bikes are smaller than that. I toss them in my trunk to drive to a park because our streets don't have sidewalks.

    It snowed at our house once in the last 24 months, so that's not an issue for the tires

    Grandparent visits occur about 10 times a year, where I could see that being a possibility. Obviously (?) it wouldn't seat 4 adults and 2 car seats. Or it seems the hassle might not be worth it for the 3rd row passenger.

    I agree about the gas mileage, that is disappointing. We probably get in the low 30s for city driving. Overall, I don't think the money we spend in gas would overtake the initial cost of a larger minivan. I maybe put 10k miles per year, and with conservative estimates, I would only end up paying $500 per year more to fuel a mazda5 compared to my civic. So I can't justify spending $5,000 for a bigger vehicle unless I would keep it for 10 yrs, or gas prices skyrocket in the next 5 yrs, KWIM?

    That's a fairly good indicator if you have several friends that own them and like them. I wish I knew someone who did locally.

  7. #6
    CPS Technician amyd's Avatar
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    Re: Share your thoughts on Mazda5

    Quote Originally Posted by AZmamaof2 View Post
    Thanks Amy!

    I have a graco style single stroller, and a sit n stand double. Mainly used for convenience on trips to museums or the zoo to hold stuff or anyone cranky from walking too far. But those sound like they're too large with the 3 rd row.

    Do you always use the 2nd and 3rd row with your three children? Is it easy for the child (or parent) to access the 3rd row to unbuckle?
    Yeah, you'd never get a Graco or a SnS back there, I'm afraid.

    I always use at least one third row seat. Right now, I have a RFing Radian back there for my 2 yo and I load/buckle him through the hatch. Much easier than when I have my 5 yo FFing in the third row and I have to reach over the second row to buckle him.

    About the having the second row all the way back with car seats thing, someone from here called Mazda at some point to ask about that. The clarification given was that it was really just a caution about not moving the seat after a car seat was installed with the seatbelt, as that could cause the installation to become loose. Of course, there was also some discussion about whether one should believe the rep who said this. I've chosen to believe him/her. I have my second row seats up a couple clicks in order to accomodate seats in the third row.

    I find that mine handles great in the snow. I'm in Atlantic Canada so we do have a lot of snow here most winters. I put a good set of snow tires on and mine's a standard, which I think helps when roads are icy. Lots of people have them here...I know 5 or 6 other families with one and everyone loves them.
    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
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    Re: Share your thoughts on Mazda5

    Thanks Amy!

    I'm impressed you can fit a RF radian back there. I couldn't even fit a RF radian in the back of my civic because it would cause the driver's seat or passenger seat to be unusable. It can't be as small as it sounds if that is the case.

  9. #8
    CPS Technician amyd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AZmamaof2 View Post
    Thanks Amy!

    I'm impressed you can fit a RF radian back there. I couldn't even fit a RF radian in the back of my civic because it would cause the driver's seat or passenger seat to be unusable. It can't be as small as it sounds if that is the case.
    You need the angle adjuster for the Radian but it works well. I use the angle adjuster in the Civic too (ours is a 2004).
    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

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  11. #9
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    Re: Share your thoughts on Mazda5

    I bought a 2012 almost a year ago and I've been really, really happy with it. I have two kids and in nice weather I keep them both in the captains chairs but in the winter I move my older son to the third row, flip down once captains chair so I can sit inside and buckle everyone.
    We use it a lot with the grandparents, two kids in the third row and four adults in the front and captains chairs.
    Alison, mama to Ash 12/25/07 & Oliver 6/26/10

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  13. #10
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    Re: Share your thoughts on Mazda5

    We had a 2010 Mazda5 for two years after our twins were born. It was fine with two kids and I really liked that it wasn't a true minivan. We traded up from a Mazda3 so it seemed huge to us when we first got it. Our twins have Radians and they fit fine RF with angle adjusters anywhere in the 5. We could also fit our Baby Jogger double stroller behind the 3rd row with the wheels off or 2 pack n plays.

    Once we had our third child I felt like I was playing tetris if we went on a long trip or went to Costco even with a cargo box on top, but we managed although it was a big pain. We often have grandparents who visit and with 6 people it was tough but doable although we could not all go grocery shopping together without the cargo box on top. I'm not sure you could fit stride bikes in the trunk with the 3rd row up because of the handle bars.

    We ended up trading it in for a used Odyssey. The killer for me was when we went camping and I spent what seemed like forever trying to figure out what we could fit in our car and what we had to leave at home. Plus we found a great deal on a used Odyssey. I'm really happy we made the switch. Our Odyssey gets 28MPG on the highway and the most we ever got was 29MPG in the 5. For a family of 4 the 5 is great but if you're planning on taking longer trips with more than 4, I'd go with a minivan. You get so much more space and almost the same MPG. Especially if you plan on keeping your vehicle a long time, the extra space in a minivan might be worth the extra upfront cost.

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  15. #11
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    Re: Share your thoughts on Mazda5

    We heavily considered the 5 as a replacement for our Mazda3 for our family of 5. It would have worked great for our family of 4 (but so did the Mazda3 that we already owned). In the ended up with a Sienna for our 3 kids basically because of the cargo room.

    If you do mostly city driving and drive about 10k per year then at today's gas prices a Mazda5 would probably save you about $500-600 a year (about $50/month) over a larger van.

    Additionally, you'll pay less for tires, less for brakes and less for oil. It is definitely less expensive to operate than the larger vans (and has fewer transmission problems as well).

    If you can't tell, I was really disappointed that the 5 didn't work out for us. Good luck with your research.

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  17. #12
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    Re: Share your thoughts on Mazda5

    I'm gathering from the responses that the mazda5 is a great car for a family of four. If we decide to grow our family in the next year or two, does it seem like too small of a car for 3 using car seats?

    Would it have less space than a civic for 3 in car seats plus gear? (for everyday types of driving such as grocery shopping, and for weekend trips to visit grandparents)

    Does anyone use the 3rd row with one seat occupied and the other half folded down? Or is that too hazardous to the 3rd row passenger?

  18. #13
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    Re: Share your thoughts on Mazda5

    Quote Originally Posted by twolittlebroncos View Post
    We heavily considered the 5 as a replacement for our Mazda3 for our family of 5. It would have worked great for our family of 4 (but so did the Mazda3 that we already owned). In the ended up with a Sienna for our 3 kids basically because of the cargo room.

    If you do mostly city driving and drive about 10k per year then at today's gas prices a Mazda5 would probably save you about $500-600 a year (about $50/month) over a larger van.

    Additionally, you'll pay less for tires, less for brakes and less for oil. It is definitely less expensive to operate than the larger vans (and has fewer transmission problems as well).

    If you can't tell, I was really disappointed that the 5 didn't work out for us. Good luck with your research.
    The gas cost factor isn't so much a bigger for me, as the 5k or 10k that we'd have to shell out initially. Our current cars are both paid off, but probably wouldn't net much trade-in value.

    What year Sienna did you decide on? And what swayed you to the Sienna over the Odyssey?

  19. #14
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    Re: Share your thoughts on Mazda5

    Quote Originally Posted by threeundertwo View Post
    We had a 2010 Mazda5 for two years after our twins were born. It was fine with two kids and I really liked that it wasn't a true minivan. We traded up from a Mazda3 so it seemed huge to us when we first got it. Our twins have Radians and they fit fine RF with angle adjusters anywhere in the 5. We could also fit our Baby Jogger double stroller behind the 3rd row with the wheels off or 2 pack n plays.

    Once we had our third child I felt like I was playing tetris if we went on a long trip or went to Costco even with a cargo box on top, but we managed although it was a big pain. We often have grandparents who visit and with 6 people it was tough but doable although we could not all go grocery shopping together without the cargo box on top. I'm not sure you could fit stride bikes in the trunk with the 3rd row up because of the handle bars.

    We ended up trading it in for a used Odyssey. The killer for me was when we went camping and I spent what seemed like forever trying to figure out what we could fit in our car and what we had to leave at home. Plus we found a great deal on a used Odyssey. I'm really happy we made the switch. Our Odyssey gets 28MPG on the highway and the most we ever got was 29MPG in the 5. For a family of 4 the 5 is great but if you're planning on taking longer trips with more than 4, I'd go with a minivan. You get so much more space and almost the same MPG. Especially if you plan on keeping your vehicle a long time, the extra space in a minivan might be worth the extra upfront cost.
    Sometimes we even now take 2 cars if we all go grocery shopping or to a garden center like Home Depot. It depends on what we have to haul home. But they are only 5-10 min drives so the ease of 2 cars with extra trunk space is worth the small price of gas.

    What helped you decide on the Odyssey over other minivans? And what year did you get?

  20. #15
    CPS Technician amyd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AZmamaof2 View Post
    I'm gathering from the responses that the mazda5 is a great car for a family of four. If we decide to grow our family in the next year or two, does it seem like too small of a car for 3 using car seats?

    Would it have less space than a civic for 3 in car seats plus gear? (for everyday types of driving such as grocery shopping, and for weekend trips to visit grandparents)

    Does anyone use the 3rd row with one seat occupied and the other half folded down? Or is that too hazardous to the 3rd row passenger?
    I had to put all three children in our Civic last week and it was a nightmare. Nothing like the space in the 5. Now, the Civic would give you way more cargo space, but passenger space doesn't even compare. Plus they can't touch each other in the 5! LOL

    I use the third row with only one side up. I try not to put anything heavy loose back there and I tuck as much as possible behind the RFing seats or behind the third row seat that's in use. At most, it's a couple grocery bags. I don't do major shopping with all the children with me generally.
    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

  21. #16
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    Re: Share your thoughts on Mazda5

    Thanks Amy!

    So in your civic, what 3 seats do you end up using? I would imagine the leg room is terrible in a civic vs mazda5 face-off, so the benefit sounds like mainly in cargo space. I figure if I really needed some cargo space, I would do as I do now, and load groceries into the passenger's seat and floor.

    Would you put a stroller in the side space in the 3rd row, or is it again too narrow or too risky?

    And quoting from another thread I saw you posted on:
    "The only seat incompatibilities I'm aware of are FFing Radian and True Fit won't install properly in the third row. I've also had issues with some boosters in the third row (Parkway SG and Monterey). Anything will install in the captain's chairs.

    Trunk space is pretty minimal with all 4 seats in use. I only have 3 kids so rarely use my 4th seat. I can get a Peg P3 stroller or a Baby Jogger City Mini Double behind my third row but neither leave much room for anything else."


    What seat would you move a child into after he's done with the FN85? I plan to use it in harness mode for a while longer still, he's not yet 5. When do boys outgrow the FN85? By height first or weight? Is it probably the last seat he'll need before one of those small backless boosters since it has its own booster mode?

    Also, no-go on the radian in the rear seat? Would 2 FN fit side by side if the need arises?

    Does your eldest ride 2nd row since his seats don't fit 3rd row?

  22. #17
    CPS Technician amyd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AZmamaof2 View Post
    Thanks Amy!

    So in your civic, what 3 seats do you end up using? I would imagine the leg room is terrible in a civic vs mazda5 face-off, so the benefit sounds like mainly in cargo space. I figure if I really needed some cargo space, I would do as I do now, and load groceries into the passenger's seat and floor.

    Would you put a stroller in the side space in the 3rd row, or is it again too narrow or too risky?

    And quoting from another thread I saw you posted on:
    "The only seat incompatibilities I'm aware of are FFing Radian and True Fit won't install properly in the third row. I've also had issues with some boosters in the third row (Parkway SG and Monterey). Anything will install in the captain's chairs.

    Trunk space is pretty minimal with all 4 seats in use. I only have 3 kids so rarely use my 4th seat. I can get a Peg P3 stroller or a Baby Jogger City Mini Double behind my third row but neither leave much room for anything else."

    What seat would you move a child into after he's done with the FN85? I plan to use it in harness mode for a while longer still, he's not yet 5. When do boys outgrow the FN85? By height first or weight? Is it probably the last seat he'll need before one of those small backless boosters since it has its own booster mode?

    Also, no-go on the radian in the rear seat? Would 2 FN fit side by side if the need arises?

    Does your eldest ride 2nd row since his seats don't fit 3rd row?
    In the Civic, I ended up using a Harmony Literider backless booster, RFing Graco My Ride and RFing Radian.

    I have put a stroller in the folded down side of the 5, but tied it down as best I could. It's not ideal, but works in a pinch.

    I'd think most kids could be harnessed in the Frontier 85 until 6 or 7. My tall 5 yo still has another slot to go on the Nautilus and the Frontier 85 is about 2" taller, I believe. I'm sure there are some highback boosters that work in the third row. We are just starting to booster and the Parkway and Monterey are the only ones I've tried. He uses the Parkway in the Civic usually. In the 5, he is usually harnessed in his Nautilus, sometimes in the second row and sometimes in the third. I can't decide if I like a FFing seat or RFing seat better back there. Right now the Nautilus is in the second row and the RFing Radian in the third.
    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

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  24. #18
    CPS Technician amyd's Avatar
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    Oops, missed a couple questions. No, the Radian doesn't install well FFing in the third row. The bottom of the seat pulls forward quite a lot. Same with the True Fit. You could definitely get two Frontiers in the third row. There's lots of space.
    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

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  26. #19
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    Re: Share your thoughts on Mazda5

    I'm glad to hear I can use the harness until 6 or 7. I'm not ready to booster train, and that would be even more unnerving in the 3rd row of the mazda5 out of my sight a bit more.

    Do you [un]buckle the 3rd row RF from the hatch?

  27. #20
    CPS Technician amyd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AZmamaof2 View Post
    Do you [un]buckle the 3rd row RF from the hatch?
    Yes, I do.
    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

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