Though minivans have been suburban punch lines for years, the Mazda5 is the rare exception to that rule. Sure, the Mazda5 features everything people love about minivans, including convenient sliding rear doors and second-row captain’s chairs, but it also features performance that’s actually sporty and a compact size that make it an excellent commuter as well as a family hauler. The compact size means that the Mazda5 gives up some interior space – it only seats six and most minivans seat at least seven – but it also gives the Mazda5 excellent fuel economy. The EPA says the Mazda5 should get 21 m.p.g. in the city and 28 on the highway. That’s the best fuel economy in the class.
The Mazda5 also has one of the lowest starting prices in the class at $19,345. Inside, reviewers say the Mazda5’s tidy dimensions mean some sacrifices when it comes to cargo and passenger space, but given that the Mazda5’s small size helps make it easier to drive on crowded urban streets and gives it great fuel economy, they say the compromise is worth it.
– Jamie Page Deaton is managing editor of U.S. News Best Cars, whose car rankings and reviews were viewed by more than 20 million consumers last year. It is part of U.S. News & World Report.