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2011 Mazda 5 Preview

2011 Mazda 5 Preview

By Jeff Youngs, December 31, 2010
2011 Mazda 5Critical Knowledge:
  • All-new third-generation model
  • Full adaptation of Mazda's "Nagare" design language
  • Dual sliding rear doors
  • Four-cylinder gasoline powerplant
  • On sale in Europe this fall
Introduction
The Mazda 5 is the smallest multi-purpose vehicle (MPV) in Mazda's lineup, slotting below the CX-7 in size. While the Mazda 5 didn't debut in the U.S. market until the 2006 model year, the compact 5-door has been on sale in other markets since 1999 as the Mazda Premacy and the Ford Ixion. Overseas, it is configured with seating for up to 7 passengers, but in the States, the Mazda 5 offers flexible 6-passenger seating.

The 2010 Mazda 5 is offered with a standard 2.3-liter 4-cylinder engine sending power to the front wheels. Three different trim levels (Sport, Touring and Grand Touring) offered consumers high levels of equipment in a compact package. Although the styling wasn't exactly earth-shattering, the Mazda 5's utility and value, coupled with high fuel efficiency and good crash test scores, made it a popular option for families with active lifestyles.

A completely redesigned Mazda 5 arrives for 2011. The all-new third-generation model still offers the same traditional 5-door compact MPV package, but the exterior has been completely updated with Mazda's "Nagare Flow" design theme-complete with wave-like character lines running down each side, a "smiling" front fascia, deep chin spoiler, and aggressive front fenders. The look is unique, and it is also more aerodynamic, says the automaker. Now, it is immediately recognizable as a member of the Mazda family.

Design
Mazda has had success with its Mazda 5 model. As a result, much of the prior model's DNA is carried forward. It still offers the same family-friendly attributes, including dual sliding rear doors, easy step-in access, comfortable seats, and easy-to-use instruments, says Mazda.

Hardware
While the European Mazda 5 models will be fitted with small-displacement gasoline and diesel engines, the North American market will likely get the 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine currently found under the hood of the Mazda 3. Rated at 167 horsepower and 168 lb.-ft. of torque, the engine is mated to a 6-speed manual or 5-speed automatic transmission. All models are front-wheel drive.

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