The Mazda5 microvan posted an “excellent” score in Consumer Reports' ratings, as part of a test in the September issue that featured three different types of family movers.
Also included was the Ford Flex EcoBoost three-row SUV and the redesigned Toyota Sienna minivan, which posted “excellent” and “very good” test scores, respectively.
Although smaller than a standard minivan, the Mazda5 previously earned a Top Pick designation in CR's Annual Auto Issue in the family hauler category.
It has sliding rear doors, a small third-row seat and seating for up to six.
Consumer Reports opted to retest the '5 after it was upgraded for 2010, with electronic stability control.
While both the front-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive versions of the Toyota Sienna posted “very good” test scores and it is a very good vehicle, it doesn't measure up to the previous model, which had been CR's top rated minivan for three years.
It is still roomy and efficient with a smooth ride, but a drop in interior fit and finish and quietness, among other things, contributed to an overall drop in score. It now ranks below the top-rated Honda Odyssey and roughly on par with the Kia Sedona.
This is the second version of the Flex tested by Consumer Reports. This version is equipped with Ford's EcoBoost engine, which is turbocharged with direct-fuel-injection technology to optimize performance and fuel economy.
The improvement boosted this version of the Flex to the top of the midsized three-row SUV category, below only the Toyota Highlander Hybrid, which was rated an “Excellent” road test score.
A new model, the Honda Accord Crosstour crossover model was also tested for this issue and posted a “very good” score. Like the Acura ZDX and BMW X6, the more affordable Accord Crosstour has a tall stance and all-wheel drive, but the coupe-ish design hurts visibility, rear access, and cargo space.
While the Mazda5 is recommended, the Toyota Sienna and the Flex EcoBoost are too new for Consumer Reports to have reliability data. CR only recommends vehicles that have performed well in its tests, have at least average predicted reliability based on CR's Annual Auto Survey of its more than seven million print and web subscribers, and performed at least adequately if crash-tested or included in a government rollover test.