Mazda5 in the Market

You would think that selling the only vehicle of a particular type would be desirable. With few exceptions, automakers don't work that way. They'd rather slug it out with competitors for the heart of the market, as illustrated by the size uniformity of most minivans — as well as the recently enlarged Subaru Forester and Outback, which historically were uniquely sized in between other crossovers.

The Mazda5 and Rondo are in a subclass by themselves, where the Mazda distinguishes itself further with sliding doors and a price that's hard for any small vehicle to beat. The added stability system helps it catch up with the Rondo, and the manual gearbox is a plus for some buyers.

The Mazda5's main shortcoming versus its competitors is its limited front and second-row dimensions. If your family members are all small, it shouldn't be a problem, but if you don't care about sliding doors or only carry two to four people on a regular basis, the Mazda5's appeal is more elusive.

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