Toyota Sienna Forum - siennachat.com banner

1 - 8 of 8 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
16 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
We own both :) My wife and I bought a 2012 Mazda5 Sport because, at the time, we were feeling we needed something to haul two people most of the time, 4 people some of the time, and 6 in the rare pinch.

The Mazda5 is a three row small station wagon with a slightly higher roof and sliding doors. It is NOT a minivan and it suffers from all of the limitations of NOT being a minivan. The seats don't disappear but rather fold flat for a mostly flat floor but not a lot of room.

The Mazda5 drives like a sports sedan. The 4cyl engine has plenty of power to move it along and even with an automatic transmission (the 2012 was available with a 6 speed) it hustles quite well. The front and rear A/C are more than adequate.

And yet, sitting beside my 5 is a 2004 Sienna, bought used because of limitations of the 5 itself. We bought the Sienna because three people plus a full softball kit, two lawn chairs, one cooler, and a few other odds and ends and the next thing you know, your 5 is packed.

Then we found other things with the Sienna that just flat killed the 5 for family hauling duty. There is a LOT more storage room, with all of the bins and compartments. The seats are enormous. And the van isolates from the outside world. The ride is Lexus smooth. The hauling room, which was the reason we bought it, is even more than we imagined. The last softball game we went to we took everything we normally would take plus my father in law, a mobility scooter, and a ramp for said mobility scooter, and that's with the middle row seats still being used.

Furthermore, the power doors and hatch on our Sienna are not available on the 5 in the USA. So that makes it even more convenient.

So that's it, right? Don't consider a 5, just get the Sienna? Not so fast. The Sienna suffers from all of the drawbacks of large vehicles, namely, it's large. The real world MPG is a few ticks behind the 5 though, admittedly, non Skyactive mazda's don't do all that well on gas. The same isolation that makes the Sienna an Interstate cruiser makes it feel like it's rolling on four flat tires compared to the 5. The 5 doesn't just "handle well for a small van" but rather it's a sports sedan in the truest sense, with razor sharp reflexes, strong brakes, and just an enormous amount of fun for true drivers. The Sienna will have none of this.

So the bottom line? The Mazda5 is not a minivan as the seats cannot be removed but it is a very practical "high roof" six passenger vehicle with sliding doors. And yes, the Mazda5 can haul adults in the third row. Yes, you have to scoot the middle row and maybe even the front row up but we found this helps the cause in the Sienna as well. The 5 is a practical interstate cruiser, a completely acceptable way to go. It has front and rear A/C and comfortable seats.

But it is small, and if small was attractive the "standard Dodge Caravan" length minivan would still be manufactured. As it is, other couples found that the extra room behind the third row and the "full sized" dimensions of the typical garageable van is more practical than the Mazda5.

Frankly, for the price of these, at a 10 year old well maintained point, you can buy both for less than the price of one new Sienna. And I like the 5 enough to keep it around. My wife refused to have the Sienna as her daily driver, a nod to the 5 if there ever was one.

Hope this helps. Questions about the 5 can be put here :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
289 Posts
I was considering a 5 when I was looking for a bigger family hauler than a Civic due mainly to MPG concerns. It's great for four people, but any more than that and its limitations start showing when you're using child carseats. The rear row is almost impossible to reach when the two middle row seats are occupied with car seats strapped in. That said, I wish that more car manufacturers would sell smaller cars in the US with the 2-2-2 seating arrangement like the JDM Honda Jade Hybrid for when my kids get older and can actually get around with folding seats.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
Heh, yep - the Mazda 5 sounded good to us also, but we wound up with a Sienna instead. (So we've got an 06 Mazda 6, an 08 Mazda 6 and a 10 Sienna.) If you get a Sienna, definitely get the 3.5 (not the 3.3) the 3.5 has tons of power. We really wanted to make the 5 work, but it simply isn't big enough for 5 people plus gear (especially when going to the beach, lots of extra stuff to bring.) Before anyone says "just get a roof cargo box or hitch haul" -- forget it, been there done that when we had a Buick Rendezvous (Total POS BTW.) I simply don't enjoy unloading stuff from the roof in the pouring rain in the dark. (And when we used the hitch haul instead, the damn Buick decided it didn't need no transmission anymore in the middle of our trip and it couldn't be towed with the hitch haul on, so that was fun...) I don't regret buying our Sienna in any way, but damn is it bland/boring to drive... As soon as we don't actually need the size of the van, we're definitely going back to something smaller.

P.S. LOL, I just realized I wasn't posting this on the Mazda6 forum... Thought still apply (while the Sienna fits our needs, it is simply huge.)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
110 Posts
Owned a 5 and quite frankly there is no comparison. 5 is a hatchback with sliding doors and a choice to use the rear as a seating area as opposed to cargo. Because no way you can do both with all seats up. The biggest item I could fit there was an umbrella stroller. You literally have 10 inches of depth there. In a Sienna I don't even bother folding the 3rd row to fit our weekly grosseries.<br />
So 5 is a smart hatchback where Sienna is an honest to god two-ton minivan that was constructed accordingly. 5 is based on Mazda 3 and it shows. Mine had all sorts of shakes at highway speed and no amount of tire balancing would reliably eliminate the steering wheel shakes on the highway. Looked pretty on the inside though. Sienna is smooth and solid.<br />
<br />
Oh, yeah. In the rust belt expect them to rust much like Hondas and others. Siennas and other Toyotas hold on remarkably well. Pretty much none of the 10+ year old Camrys, Siennas and corollas show exterior rust and we do have an incredible amount of salt in the winter. 5s, Odysseys and Caravans rust reliably. Mazdas, Hondas at the quarter panels, Caravans pretty much all over.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15 Posts
I absolutely love the Mazda5 and here in Toronto you could get a stick shift version for a while.

When I drove it, I was impressed with the fun factor - it is after all just a tall wagon version of the older 3.

However it is quite small inside. I am a small middle aged Asian person and the lack of leg room etc was immediately obvious. Keep in mind we owned a Honda Civic and Mercedes B200 at the time as well. I just wanted the extra seating. At the time, Siennas in Canada offered a large 2.7L four cylinder. Toronto is wide and flat - not too many steep hills so not really an issue power wise. Plus there was minimal difference in fuel econ between the 5 and Sienna - about 2 mpg.

The Mazda is an older design but feels well put together and the rust issues as behind them. This is good choice for small families (with small sized people). Nice driving dynamics. Excellent build quality. But this is a very Japanese car size wise so as long you are not too tall or wide, it will be fine. I also like that it fits in the garage.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
485 Posts
I also own both, 2009 Mazda5 GT and 2008 Sienna XLE.


Love them both for different reasons. The 5 is just quick and nimble enough to be fun while still being a responsible parent's daily car. It's OK for short drives with all 4 kids but anything longer than 15 minutes I prefer to take the Sienna.


If you're choosing between one or the other it comes down to your individual use. If having the 3rd row up will be a rare occurrence, the 5 could be your only car. However if you have 3 kids or frequently have a tag-along, get the sienna.


The real world MPG difference is less than you'd expect, 24MPG in the 5, 19MPG in the Sienna.
 
1 - 8 of 8 Posts
Top