Yippee, I got a new car! And I have been very happy with it. And while it may have sliding doors, it does NOT feel like a minivan. Just makes life a whole lot easier for me with two car seats as compared to life with a Volkswagen Jetta.
Today's "mini" vans are monstrous. And expensive. And guzzle gas like you would not believe, making them more expensive to drive. We were looking for a vehicle that had sliding doors so that garage damage would be minimized. Our garage is quite deep, but on the narrow side, and getting the baby's car seat out of the car meant pushing the side door against the wall of the garage. Once my son is old enough to get himself in and out, he would have been hitting daddy's car with his door.
So as much as everyone likes to give people a hard time about driving a minivan, the Mazda 5 is really different. Check out the specs. It sits up high enough that I feel like I am not driving a car, but is still small enough that I don't feel like my carbon footprint is a size 14 when I drive it. And while it is rated up to 28mpg, I have heard that straight highway driving can get up toward 30mpg. Which is virtually what I got in the Jetta. Now I just have more room! We had looked at the Routan, the Caravan, and a few other things and they just seemed too big. And I was adamant that we would NOT have a tv/dvd player in the vehicle. Some of those other vans have them standard with certain packages, and if you don't want the dvd player, you can't get that package. But regardless, they all just cost so much more and I don't need to cart around that much stuff or that many kids at this point.
The Mazda 5, like other vans, has second row captains chairs and then a third row seat. Not like full-grown adults would really be comfortable back there, but hey, not many of those SUV third rows are really useful anyway. But it gives me the option of being able to take a couple of extra people along with both the car seats installed, unlike my old car. I have to admit, I have only had the 5 just under two weeks, but I can honestly say that I am quite pleased with it. And it is kind of fun to have in-dash bluetooth connectivity. It isn't exactly the fastest car on the road, but it has enough pickup that it doesn't get left in the dust. We'll see how it handles in the lovely winter weather in Chicago later in the year (much later, I hope). But for now, I am enjoying the zoom-zoom of my new Mazda.