June 23, 2017

Mazda5 Review: Our Florida Keys Road Trip

2013 Mazda5 Grand Touring

2013 Mazda Mazda5 Grand Touring

Recently, I took my girls, Clare (age 9) and Kate (age 8), on a five-day road trip across the Florida Keys with stops in Key Largo, Duck Key, and of course, Key West. As a bonus, we had the opportunity to take a 2013 Mazda5 down U.S. Route 1 from Delray Beach, where my in-laws live, to Mile Marker 0 in Key West.

On Monday morning, we hopped in a 2013 Mazda Mazda5 Grand Touring model and we were on our way. The Mazda5 is kind of like a minivan, but smaller (a mini-minivan?), so it was ideal for the three of us. It’s perfect for new families that aren’t quite ready for a full-size minivan. This was my first experience with a Mazda and I was altogether pleased.

Loaded Up & Ready to Go!

Loaded Up & Ready to Go!

I’ll be honest, while I own a minivan, I don’t drive the minivan. I’m not a fan of minivans, so I was excited that the Mazda5 didn’t feel like a minivan. Sure, it has sliding back doors and a hatchback like a minivan, but that’s where it ended, so this car was perfect for me.

Though smaller than a minivan (it only seats six, rather than seven or eight that can fit in a full-size minivan), there was plenty of space. The back row effortlessly folded down, which was good for me, since I’d already forgotten the instructions on how to do so. There was loads of room for our three suitcases, my purse, a backpack, a tote bag and a cooler.

The Mazda5 also didn’t feel like a minivan in how it drove. It’s not big and sluggish like a full-size minivan. It was zippy and fun like a sports sedan. If you know U.S. 1 through the Florida Keys, you know that much of the way is just two lanes, so a couple of times I harnessed the power of the Mazda5 to speed past cars not quite doing the speed limit. It was fabulous.

Sirius XM Radio, AM/FM, CD Player!

Sirius XM Radio, AM/FM, CD Player!

The Mazda5 comes with lots of the features you might expect, like front and side impact air bags, heated front seats and power windows. But this model also had some nice bells and whistles too that come standard, like a power moonroof, a Bluetooth hands-free phone system, an anti-theft engine immobilizer (if a counterfeit key is used, the engine will not start) and independent second row air vents (which my girls loved!).

I think it’s clear that I loved, loved driving around in the Mazda5. Here are my six favorite features (there are six because it was too hard to narrow it down to five!):

USB Jack: Between the three of us, we brought along one iPhone and two iPod Touches, so the fact that we could power up while we were driving thanks to a USB jack in between the driver’s seat and front passenger’s seat was fabulous. The same jack also let us play music from my iPhone. Bonus.

Charging Up Clare's iPod Touch!

Charging Up Clare’s iPod Touch!

Sirius XM Radio: On long drives, where radio stations can fade out quickly, it was really nice to have access to Sirius XM Radio. My faves were 80s on 8 and 90s on 9. I was sad to have to give that up at the end of the week. When you buy a Mazda5, you’ll get Sirius for free for several months, and after that you pay a monthly subscription fee.

Under-Seat Storage: Who travels with iPads, Kindles, etc.? I do, I do. On the Mazda5, the second row passenger seats flip up to reveal a good-size storage area underneath, perfect for electronics, books, snacks and more. It was nice for the girls to be able to use this storage area, and not have to dig under the seat for their belongings.

Fold-Out Table: Another fantastic second row feature is the fold-out table, which also has cup-holders. My girls loved being able to flip up this table between the two captain chairs to set out their books, hold their drinks and keep their iPod Touches next to them in between games.

Clare & Kate are Ready to Go!

Clare & Kate are Ready to Go!

Rain-Sensing Wipers: Yes, the Mazda5 knows when it’s raining, and starts up the windshield wipers for you. In Florida, it’s not unusual to drive through a pop-up storm, so I loved that the wipers just started doing their job once the rain began to fall.

Auto On/Off Headlights: One more favorite feature in the Mazda5 is the auto on/off headlights. You never need to worry about walking away from your car with the headlights on and coming back to a dead battery. The Mazda5 knows when to turn them on and when to turn them off. So smart!

The Mazda5 I drove comes with a 36-month/36,000-mile Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty as well as a 60-month/60,000-mile Powertrain Warranty. It also comes with free 24-hour roadside assistance, which is nice, particularly with kids in the car.

Disclaimer: Mazda allowed me and my family to test drive the Mazda5 during our road trip for purposes of this review. No compensation was received and all opinions are my own.


  1. Great review! It sounds like driving in such a wonderful vehicle made the trip even better than it would have been!

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