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2014 Mazda5 Sport: Tom's Hardware's Project Car Update

What Else Can You Expect From Our Mazda5?

Our Mazda5 project is slowly coming along. It’s not particularly sexy or performance-oriented, but it serves as a mainstream platform for exploring automotive technology, and that's why we like it. This round of upgrades focused on little niceties to make the car better overall. The ScanGaugeE was a great addition, providing us with more fuel economy data, coolant temperature, and battery voltage information. It’s unfortunate that automakers are cutting back on the number of gauges presented in the cluster, though we understand how too much information can be just as off-putting as not enough. At least Linear Logic makes it easy to add those functions back with a simple OBD-II-based device.

We’re disappointed that the LED headlights didn’t work out. But the swap to H9 bulbs is much more affordable, yielding noticeably more usable light output for only $20 (unless you want a plug-and-play harness). While HIDs are often the first suggestion for increased light output, I'm still unsure of how the halogen projectors will work with an HID drop-in kit. A couple of Mazdas247 community members are reporting good experiences with the excellent halogen projectors, but I'm still on the fence.

Goshers' blind spot monitoring system is a practical addition to the Mazda5. I didn’t realize how useful it'd be until the rainy season started and I had to drive around at night. Glare from the wet roads, a lack of street lights and poor lighting from other vehicles made spotting cars in the blind spot more difficult than during our beautiful summer. All the while, Goshers' kit continues to detect obstacles in my blind spot, so we have no problem recommending the system to drivers interested in adding this technology to a vehicle without it. It can be overly sensitive to non-threats, but I'd rather be safe than sorry.

LED-based interior lighting is easy to add and affordable; if you don't have it already, consider an upgrade. And go with a reputable brand rather than trying to save money on a cheap eBay kit. In the case of Sylvania's ZEVO LEDs, the fitment is much better since they're designed as direct replacements for the factory incandescent bulbs.

What about the value of ECU tuning? We have high hopes for Mazda's MZR motor, which should yield a 10-15hp gain by simply optimizing for premium gasoline. We'll have to wait for the next round of upgrades for the benchmark data, though.

Last up are the Yokohoma Advan Sport A/S tires and Mazdaspeed3 wheels. They aren't technology-oriented, but I still love them. As it starts raining heavily up in Washington, I'm noticing much better grip on the road. Sure, you might say that it's silly to put high-performance all-season tires on a minivan. But it's also unheard of to ride around in a van with a manual transmission. We're just quirky like that.

In the next installment, we'll present a walk-through of our stereo upgrade, including Alpine's INE-W957HD head unit, Type R speakers and a four-channel amp to match. The Mazda5 is also getting ambient foot well lighting via a Sylvania ZEVO LED lighting kit. Mechanically, the car is getting a set of Megan Racing coilovers to stiffen the suspension. That'll lower the 5 somewhere between 1.5-2 inches to minimize wheel gap.

The visual changes should be fairly minor. A couple of items are getting wrapped with gloss black vinyl by 253WrapZ for contrast and paint protection. We had the company wrap the taillights in a light smoke film to clean up the back end, and were impressed with the work.

Eventually, we’ll have the interior redone in leather with climate-controlled seating to make the car more comfortable in the summer heat and winter cold. Even further down the line, there are plans to turbocharge the Mazda5. I'd like to see it making between 250 and 270hp, which would make our test platform a lot more fun to drive. I'm even toying with the idea of replacing the head unit with a tablet, since the mobile hardware is much faster. Working out the logistics for steering wheel controls and the lack of detailed audio adjustments is making my head hurt, though.

Clearly, the project is coming along. We’re open to suggestions for anything and everything you want to see installed in the car.

  • md1032
    My 2012 Mazdaspeed3 has the factory BSM and it's also really sensitive...it will detect road barriers and objects 3-4 feet away as being a car when I'm on a narrower road.
    Reply
  • C3N4
    How about an Around-View-Monitor type system like in Infinitis and Nissans? Hopefully you could tie it into your existing Goshers BSM system so you don’t have to rewire new sensors.

    Also, what about adding some type of HUD system that can sync up with your head unit and/or smartphone?

    Finally, what about adding some remote controlled actuators that can remotely and automatically open your sliding doors?
    Reply
  • C3N4
    How about an Around-View-Monitor type system like in Infinitis and Nissans? Hopefully you could tie it into your existing Goshers BSM system so you don’t have to rewire new sensors.

    Also, what about adding some type of HUD system that can sync up with your head unit and/or smartphone?

    Finally, what about adding some remote controlled actuators that can remotely and automatically open your sliding doors?
    Reply
  • C3N4
    How about an Around-View-Monitor type system like in Infinitis and Nissans? Hopefully you could tie it into your existing Goshers BSM system so you don’t have to rewire new sensors.

    Also, what about adding some type of HUD system that can sync up with your head unit and/or smartphone?

    Finally, what about adding some remote controlled actuators that can remotely and automatically open your sliding doors?
    Reply
  • C3N4
    Sorry! Inadvertent back-button reposts. How do I delete the extra comments?
    Reply
  • M3God
    My wife owns a 2012 Mazda5. Great little car. However the dyno results do not add up. Was the dynojet set-up to spit out crank numbers? 154 rwhp is about 186 crank HP. Was the dynojet calibrated correctly? Dynojets are notorious for giving high numbers especially is calibration is off. I drive her far and it does not have that much HP. I am pretty sure Mazda did not underrate the motor by 30 hp if anything they would advertize the extra HP as the car definitely needs it. Another dyno run would be awesome as I am very curious what the true number will be.
    Reply
  • tuanies
    14505672 said:
    My 2012 Mazdaspeed3 has the factory BSM and it's also really sensitive...it will detect road barriers and objects 3-4 feet away as being a car when I'm on a narrower road.

    I never experienced that with any factory implementation, but my time in a 2ndGen MS3 was quite limited. I also don't usually go down narrower roads in the press cars either, so that may be why.

    14505732 said:
    How about an Around-View-Monitor type system like in Infinitis and Nissans? Hopefully you could tie it into your existing Goshers BSM system so you don’t have to rewire new sensors.

    Also, what about adding some type of HUD system that can sync up with your head unit and/or smartphone?

    Finally, what about adding some remote controlled actuators that can remotely and automatically open your sliding doors?

    I only found one company that makes it aftermarket. Mazda offers a system in Japan, but I haven't quite found a way to look up the part numbers and get them to the US quite yet. The around view monitor systems don't have sensors, its just four cameras.. My wife has it on her Leaf and I love it.

    So far the aftermarket HUD units I've found only connect to your smartphone. Navdy is releasing one soon and we're looking into that. I love HUDs though.

    As for the automatic sliding doors, its a factory option on Japanese models. I've yet to speak to anyone at Mazda USA that's too familiar with the JDM implementations to figure it out. That and my wife's previous car, a 2011 VW Routan had power sliding doors and I found them more annoying after a while since the car had to be in park for them to work, so you couldn't just have your foot on the break, let someone out and keep going. They were also slower than the manual ones too.

    14505929 said:
    My wife owns a 2012 Mazda5. Great little car. However the dyno results do not add up. Was the dynojet set-up to spit out crank numbers? 154 rwhp is about 186 crank HP. Was the dynojet calibrated correctly? Dynojets are notorious for giving high numbers especially is calibration is off. I drive her far and it does not have that much HP. I am pretty sure Mazda did not underrate the motor by 30 hp if anything they would advertize the extra HP as the car definitely needs it. Another dyno run would be awesome as I am very curious what the true number will be.

    The dynojet is calibrated properly. If her car is a automatic, that could be why. The 5-speed auto sucks quite a bit of power and fun from the car and is tuned mostly for economy. There's also more powerloss through the torque converter as well. It could be they chose a middle number that was representative for the manual and the auto. The 2.5 MZR makes varying levels of power in every car, the Mazda5's 157hp is the lowest of all I believe. I'm also barely above sea level too.
    Reply
  • lpedraja2002
    A little out of topic but will it be possible for you guys to review the HUD in the new Toyora Prius? I haven't seen any review yet from what I understand there's a freaking HUD in the freaking windshield! Am I the only one psyched for this? Will we be using cars like the ones in iRobot? Please review it Tom's Hardware!!!!
    Reply
  • tuanies
    14510682 said:
    A little out of topic but will it be possible for you guys to review the HUD in the new Toyora Prius? I haven't seen any review yet from what I understand there's a freaking HUD in the freaking windshield! Am I the only one psyched for this? Will we be using cars like the ones in iRobot? Please review it Tom's Hardware!!!!

    Which Prius? The current Toyota HUD is awful in the Prius and the RX350. Its very pixelated and single color. If you want your mind blown, go check out the HUD in the Hyundai Genesis, any GM vehicle, BMW, Mercedes, etc... They're full color and offer navigation, radio information, driver assists, etc... I love them in every car.
    Reply
  • blackmagnum
    Enjoyable and informative article, Anh T. Huynh. On another note: You should've saved all the trouble and bought a Honda Accord.
    Reply