What are you looking for in a minivan?  Great cargo space?  Room for the kids and their stuff?  Sliding doors?  Low ride height?  Good handling?

Well check them all off and welcome to the world of the Mazda 5.  The 2012 Mazda 5 is completely redesigned and it instantly becomes one of the leaders in this class of automobile.  This new model has more power, has better and more comfortable seating, has better styling, has better room and handles like a family sedan.  How is that for recommendations?

You can take a look at the competition.  See what the FordC-Max looks like.  Check out Toyota’s minivan and don’t forget to look at Chevy and Honda, but for our money the best on the market is the Mazda 5.

The 5 is powered by a 2.5-lier four-cylinder engine good for 157 horsepower with a six-speed manual transmission as standard and a five-speed automatic as optional.  In testing it went from 0-60 in 9.5 seconds, which is slower than the competition, and its EPA rating is 21/28.

Safety is ensured with stability and traction control, four-wheel antilock brakes and a full array of airbags.  In testing it stopped from 60-0 in 130 feet, just a bit longer than average.

Standard features include 16-inch allow wheels, full power accessories, keyless entry, cruise control, automatic climate control and a six-speaker stereo system.  Options include foglights, leather steering wheel, sunroof, xenon headlights, heated mirrors and automatic wipers.

The Mazda 5 is designed to seat six people, so if you have a big family and you need to seat seven or eight, forget about the Mazda 5.  However, if you have a smaller family and you need lots of room and great cornering and handling, then you really need to take a look at this minivan/wagon/passenger car.  You won’t be disappointed with the way it handles.  The 5 is really kind of a design hybrid, a cross between a wagon and a minivan, and its sleek looks will have you wondering if it really is a minivan.

As always, replacement parts are plentiful and definitely expensive at dealerships.  Your alternative is your local salvage yard, where used parts are also plentiful and definitely not expensive.  In today’s economy it makes no sense to pay top dollar for used parts and then pay $75 per hour for a mechanic.  Save all that money, shop at a salvage yard like All Import Auto Parts and then install the salvage part yourself.  Then take the money you saved and go have fun with it.