With last year's redesign, the Mazda 5 kept its relatively tight, lean proportions and infused them with some of the "Nagare" design cues that color the rest of its lineup. There's only so much you can do to dress up a minivan, though--the 5 doesn't escape its boxy silhouette that much.
From a few paces back, the Mazda 5 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 Mazda 5 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.
It is a little more exciting to look at than other minivans, especially from the side. The flow of surfaces and creases down the fenders generates some visual drama, and the long taillights have gone horizontal, all in the name of lowering the van's profile, making it seem more like carlike. The stance alone helps the Mazda 5 pull off some of those details in a way no larger minivan could.Mazda has updated the interior to better fit in with the interiors of the Mazda 3 and Mazda 6 lineups, with a more simple, matte look, with bright accents, throughout, and a few more curves added to the instrument panel. The Mazda 5 gets the Mazda 3'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.