Pricing and value are major reasons to consider the 5; the 2012 Mazda5 Sport starts at just $19,990 ($5k-$8k less than the base versions of big minivans), including destination, and includes alloy wheels and dual-zone automatic climate control—two features that are otherwise relegated to top trim levels for both rival minivan and compact-crossover models. Other standard features include power windows, locks, and mirrors; a one-touch-up driver's window; a tilt/telescopic steering wheel; keyless entry; cruise control; and steering-wheel-mounted cruise and audio controls.
With the base-model Mazda5 Sport trim, Mazda was clearly skimping a little bit on features in order to deliver it for a high-value base price of less than $20k, but we venture to say that much of the new-parent crowd will be a little disappointed at the lack of connectivity or top-notch sound systems. The 5’s rather primitive, basic audio system has no USB input or iPod compatibility, and with satellite radio it’s only capable of displaying a few characters (it will scroll some entries but not others with the press of a button). The Grand Touring upgrades to a 6-CD changer, but there's still no Bose upgrade option and no USB plug or input available in the Mazda5 (though there is an aux-in), so if you want well-integrated iPod control, or even access to your songs on anything that's not on an aged optical disc, you're out of luck. Oddly, the only direct media-player connectivity is through Bluetooth audio streaming—a protocol that we still typically have connectivity issues with, and a battery suck with most devices when there's no USB to keep them charged.
Even more surprising is that there's no navigation option. Mazda is looking into offering a navsystem in the 5, though if they do it wouldn't be the excellent high-in-sight system offered in the 3; rather it would be an in-dash, head-unit-type system.
Otherwise, Touring and Grand Touring models get Bluetooth hands-free calling and Bluetooth audio streaming, though. In top-of-the-line Grand Touring form, the Mazda5 also comes with a power moonroof, heated mirrors, rain-sensing wipers, xenon HID headlamps, heated front seats, and Sirius satellite radio (a standalone option, too), all for around $25k.