The Mazda5 has been completely redesigned for 2012, and while it keeps its compact size and minivan-like proportions, it’s a little more exciting to look at, especially from the side.
As the first (and perhaps only) vehicle to adopt Mazda’s Nagare design language, the Mazda5’s fenders are aggressively contoured, and there’s a flow of creases and surfacing that rises from them, swooping along the side of the vehicle and entering a ‘twist’ at the front of the front door. Taillights have been made horizontal and more carlike, while in front there’s a more subtle version of the Mazda3’s ‘grinning’ corporate grille—altogether making the Mazda5 look slightly lower and more carlike in stance.
From a few paces back, the Mazda5 still looks like a well-designed 7/8-scale minivan—one that might park and maneuver a little easier, too (as it does). And to put it all into perspective, the Mazda5 is actually five inches longer than the original Dodge Caravan, but nearly two feet shorter than what are now called minivans, like the Honda Odyssey,Dodge Grand Caravan, and Toyota Sienna. In truth, each of those vehicles now nearly take up the space of the old boatlike station wagons they were intended to replace.
Mazda has updated the interior to better fit in with the interiors of the Mazda3 and Mazda6 lineups, with a more simple, matte look, with bright accents, throughout, and a few more curves added to the instrument panel. The Mazda5 gets the Mazda3's rounded climate control vents at either side, and center vents have been moved higher up for better flow. Audio systems have also been completely redesigned and reconfigured, and there's a new trip meter and display up on top, in the line of sight.