Exterior & Styling

If it weren't for its sliding rear doors, the Mazda5 would undoubtedly be considered a hatchback rather than a minivan. Mazda says sliding rear doors offer easier access to the second- and third-row seats, and are easy to open in tight parking spaces (not to mention less likely to ding other cars when they're thrown open by exuberant kids on a trip to the mall).

Though it retains the basic shape of a large minivan, the Mazda5 looks sporty nonetheless. It features a raked windshield; an aggressive front end that's been restyled for 2008 with a new grille, headlights and bumper; a tapered roofline; and standard 17-inch alloy wheels. There are also new taillights for 2008, but the additions don't markedly change the van's appearance (see a side-by-side comparison with the 2007 model).

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