5k: 3-Rows 5-speeds: 2006 Mazda Mazda5

The 2nd generation Mazda5 is a mini-minivan build on Ford’s global C1 platform, sharing parts with the Mazda3, European Focus and Volvo S40/C30/V50/C70.  The Mazda5 combines 3-row minvan practicality with Mazda’s celebrated version of zoom-zoom.  It may not carve corners like a Miata, but it is available with a 5-speed gearbox and won’t lean like the average mini-barge.  Find this 2006 Mazda Mazda5 offered for $7,998 in Burnsville, MN via craigslist. Tip from Geraldine.

The Mazda5 (is it a Mazda Mazda5 or just a Mazda5?  Who named this car? Cher?) won’t send any shivers up your spine with glee…but…for a 3 row car, it is about as fun as you can get without venturing into the insane (VW Bus, Military transport) or expensive gas gobblers (Ford Flex EcoBoost).

The Mazda5 is powered by the same 2.3 liter MZR inline-4 that powers the Mazda3 and is available with three pedals.  The MZR is rated at 157 horsepower and 148 ft-lbs of torque – more than enough to push the 3300 lb mini mini-van around.  The part where the brilliance of the Mazda5 falls apart is the seating.  Three rows of two seats means you only have room for six.  You can seat six in any bench seat equipped sedan…so why put up with mini-van styling if  you can’t seat 7 or 8 people?  The problem is that the center row collapse-able jump seat that is standard on the JDM Mazda5 (aka Premacy) does not meet some US crash tests, so it was junked.  Add that seat in and now you’ve got a 7 passenger car that make sense.

See a better way to haul the family around while getting your zoom-zoom on?  tips@dailyturismo.com