2006-2015 Mazda5: reported problems, gas mileage, engine, maintenance

March 19, 2020
The Mazda5 is a fuel-efficient 'mini' minivan. It's also the only minivan available with a manual transmission. It seats six and has sliding rear doors.
2012 Mazda5 2012 Mazda5. Photo: Mazda.
The Mazda5 is nimble and fun to drive. It's powered by a 4-cylinder engine and rides on a Mazda3 platform. Inside, the Mazda5 is simple and practical. The driver's seat has a height adjustment; the steering tilts and telescopes. However, tall drivers may find that the driver's seat doesn't slide back far enough. Second-row access is easy. Second-row bucket seats recline and slide back and forth. With the seats slid all the way back, the second-row legroom is generous.
2012 Mazda 5 2012 Mazda5 interior.
The third-row seat space is tight and suitable only for children. Second and third-row seats fold down. With third-row seats in use, cargo space is limited, so if you are planning to use the Mazda5 for long family trips, consider installing a roof box.
For 2012, the Mazda5 has been redesigned and received a 157-hp 2.5L 4-cylinder engine.
2012 Mazda5 2012 Mazda5.
On the road, the Mazda5 is agile and maneuverable. It handles more like a sporty wagon than a minivan. The ride is firm but comfortable. The 4-cylinder engine is peppy around town, but feels a bit underpowered with a full load. The Mazda5 was discontinued in the U.S. after 2015 and in Canada after 2017.

Reported problems: The 2006-2010 Mazda5 had problems with the front and rear suspension. Front struts and control arms have been reported to go bad. Replacing both front struts costs up to $650.
2010 Mazda5 2010 Mazda5.
The control arm replacement cost varies between $230 to $320 per side. Rear shock absorbers can leak or break off at the top mount. Rear shock replacement costs $140-$230 per side. If the top mount breaks off, but the shock itself is in good shape, the top mount is sold separately online and is not very difficult to replace. The 2006-2010 Mazda5 suffered from rust damage, especially in the "salt belt" states.
The Check Engine light with the codes P0126 or P0128 could be caused by a bad thermostat. Replacing a thermostat can cost up to $350.
A bad transmission control module can cause jerky transmission engagement and the AT warning light to come on. The part (TCM) costs a few hundred dollars, but replacing it is not very difficult; the key is to use the correct part number. Aftermarket or rebuilt TCMs are available online, but the quality is questionable.
2010 Mazda 5 interior 2010 Mazda5 interior.
The top engine mount can fail, but it's not very expensive to replace $150-220. The Check Engine light with the DTC P0139 could be caused by excessive carbon buildup in the throttle body. Read more about servicing the throttle body. The connector at the center high-mounted stop LED brake light can get corroded at a higher mileage. The connector might need to be replaced together with the LED light assembly.
The 2012-plus Mazda5 was less troublesome, but similar issues with the suspension also have been reported at higher mileage. Rear tires are known to wear unevenly on the inside if not rotated regularly. A leaking EVAP vent valve in the 2012-plus Mazda5 can cause the Check Engine light with the EVAP leak codes. The part is not expensive and is easy to replace.

What to look for when buying a used Mazda5: Check the driver's seat space, tall drivers may find the driver's space limited. Test the air conditioner, as it might not be very strong in warm climates. We recommend looking for the 2012-plus Mazda5 as it is more reliable. It has a stronger suspension and was less affected by rust issues. The 2.5L engine of the 2012-plus Mazda5 is solid and can last long with regular oil changes. We spoke to the person who drove the 2012 Mazda5 as a shuttle and he was very happy with it. He said the car served well and had zero problems outside of regular maintenance.

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Fuel Economy: The 2006-2007 Mazda5 automatic gets 19 mpg city and 24 mpg highway. The fuel economy has been improved for 2008; the 2008-2010 Mazda5 auto is rated at 21/27/23 mpg city/highway/combined. The 2014-2015 Mazda5 automatic gets 21 mpg city and 28 mpg highway (24 mpg combined). The 2014-2015 Mazda5 can travel up to 382 miles (599 km) on a tank of gas.
Engine: The 2006-2010 Mazda 5 comes with a 157-hp 2.3-liter 4-cylinder DOHC (model L3). It's a pretty good and easy to maintain engine. The 2012-2015 Mazda 5 received a 2.5L inline-4, model L5. It is a solid and reliable motor. Both the 2.3L and the 2.5L engines have a timing chain; there is no timing belt.

Maintenance tips: Keep the oil level topped up, as the engine may consume oil at higher mileage. Read: How to check the engine oil on the dipstick. Rotate your tires regularly to prevent rear tires wearing on the inside. Mazda5 is a light-weight vehicle; if you want better traction during winter, install winter tires. The transmission fluid needs to be changed when dirty; typically every 35,000-50,000 miles. A cabin filter is often neglected; it needs to be replaced every 25,000 miles (40,000 km) or 2 years, or more often when driving on dusty roads. If the steering wheel is not centered when driving straight, the wheel alignment needs to be checked.

Engine oil capacity:
2006-2010 Mazda5 2.3L engine (with filter): 4.5 qt. (4.3 liters)
2012-2015 Mazda5 2.5L engine (with filter): 5.3 qt. (5.0 liters).