Cargo

Fold all the passenger seats down, and the Mazda5 has a clear advantage over competitors, with 89.3 cubic feet of cargo volume. The seven-seat Rondo and RAV4 have 73.6 cubic feet and 73.0 cubic feet, respectively. The Hyundai Tucson and Subaru Forester have 55.8 and 68.3 cubic feet with their backseats folded. The Mazda5 also beats these models when it comes to cargo room behind the second-row seat, with 44.4 cubic feet.

Easy-to-fold third-row seats and a boxy shape make the cargo area useful, even for tall items, and our car's optional bumper guard — a black scuff plate — eased concerns about damaging the body-colored bumper. Though it's manual, the liftgate has a feature that's been showing up in powered versions: the ability to limit how high the gate raises. The point is to keep from banging it on a low ceiling or garage door. The Mazda5's liftgate raises roughly to roof level; if you want it higher, just push it up another 3 inches. One gripe about the cargo area is that it's too dark; it needs a dome light rather than a single side-panel one, which is both dim and easily blocked by cargo.

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