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Mazda's 2012 Mazda5 Again Comes in Manual

For two model years, Mazda denied U.S. buyers of its Mazda5 a standard transmission, but for the 2012 model year it once again comes in a manual transmission. Forget all the hoopla about it having elements of the Nagare design in its DNA. A mini-minivan with a six-speed manual transmission is going to be a hoot to drive.

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Mazda5 Gets Bigger 2.5-Liter Engine

The current Mazda5 comes with a 2.3-liter inline-four engine that some reviewers found anemic when coupled to the five-speed automatic transmission (not a complaint with the five-speed manual transmission in the U.S.). It now receives the 2.5-liter similar in most details to those found in the Mazda3, Mazda6 and CX-7. Peak horsepower remains the same but you don't need to rev it up to 6000 rpm any more, which should make for a quieter ride. Torque is improved to 163 ft-lb at 4,000 rpm.

As mentioned, the 2012 Mazda5 comes with a six-speed manual transmission as well as a five-speed automatic transmission. (What is it with Mazda and old-fashion transmissions? The Mazda5 deserves a six-speed automatic transmission.) A tall sixth gear in the manual transmission allows for quiet and comfortable cruising and will help fuel economy, which is 21-mpg city and 28-mpg highway (same as the old 2.3-liter engine).

Just to prove that the lessons of Toyota's phantom unintended acceleration are still fresh in every automakers' mind, The 2012 Mazda5 will offer Mazda’s Brake Override System. This system always prioritizes the brake pedal over the accelerator pedal should both be engaged simultaneously, allowing the vehicle to be brought to a safe stop.

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