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

Our project car recently received a few more goodies, including a Goshers Blind Spot Monitoring System, LED interior lighting, a ScanGaugeE OBD-II-based reporting device, new wheels and tires and a quick dyno run for baseline performance benchmarking.

Since last summer's 2014 Mazda5 Sport: Say Hello to Tom’s Hardware’s Project Car, we've been hard at work installing more upgrades and add-ons. The vehicle has about 9000 miles on its odometer and just went in for its second oil change. Before we start on what’s new, I'd like to revisit the first round of upgrades to provide an update on how the aftermarket work is holding up.

Those projects included an integrated Qi wireless charger, a back-up camera, a dash cam, an in-car iPad 2 and LED headlights. The Adata CE700 I dismantled to build into the car is still working well, and it continues to charge my Nexus 5. I had a brief affair with Nokia's Lumia 1520 that resulted in being unable to use integrated charger for three months, but I'm back to using the Nexus 5 again.

Anyone interested in the Qi charger but reluctant to go the custom route should check out Brandmotion's FreedomCharge Qi wireless charger. The company offers direct fit kits for the Toyota Camry, Ford Fusion and Ram trucks. There’s even a custom trim-to-fit package that includes the inductor coil, rubber mat, power harness and mounting screws. Brandmotion lists offering for $170, which is pricier than my more custom route, but it gives you everything you need in one package. Since the kit is offered to installers, you can always pay a car stereo shop to do the work if you'd rather not.

Our back-up camera installation is having issues that need to be addressed. The Audiovox ACA300 wireless transmitter and receiver run into problems with interference. Scan lines popped in and out after the original installation, but now the image drops out every couple of seconds. It's simply not reliable enough for this application. I plan on running a composite cable from the front of the car to the back as a solution. As much as I wanted the wireless transmitter to work for simplicity's sake, a hardwired cable is the right way to go.

The Papago GoSafe Wi-Fi is holding up well. I've noticed that the bright blue power LED is obnoxious to passengers, but it doesn't bother me in the driver's seat. I still haven't recorded anything interesting with the dash cam, except for terrible Washington drivers failing to stay in their lane when it starts raining (Ed.: That's not just Washington, Tuan. Try SoCal.).

Rear seat entertainment provided by the iPad 2 is great for our long drives. The Scosche backSTAGE pro II mount's IR headphone support keeps my oldest kid entertained, saving me from listening to Frozen for the billionth time. I did hard-wire the iPad mount into the car. Because I didn't want to do irreversible damage to the bundled power adapter, I simply tapped the cigarette lighter for a second 12V plug inside the console.

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  • 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.
  • 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?
  • 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?
  • 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?
  • C3N4
    Sorry! Inadvertent back-button reposts. How do I delete the extra comments?
  • 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.
  • tuanies
    131171 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.

    1804117 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.

    28848 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.
  • 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!!!!
  • tuanies
    156583 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.
  • blackmagnum
    Enjoyable and informative article, Anh T. Huynh. On another note: You should've saved all the trouble and bought a Honda Accord.
  • tuanies
    749236 said:
    Enjoyable and informative article, Anh T. Huynh. On another note: You should've saved all the trouble and bought a Honda Accord.


    I didn't want an Accord. The current Accord's seats are uncomfortable to me. They're too wide and my butt isn't big enough so it just makes my back hurt since I get no support from the bolsters.
  • oliphanj
    Can you tell us where you purchased the H11-to-H9 wiring harnesses?
  • tuanies
    1805513 said:
    Can you tell us where you purchased the H11-to-H9 wiring harnesses?


    From Innovative Wiring - http://innovativewiring.com/?page_id=521
  • random196
    Good article. We have a 2013 M5 Sport, with automatic transmission. We ditched the OEM 205/55-16 tires (Toyo A20s) at about 18,000 miles. Slipped from dead stop under dry conditions, and slipped in wet conditions under many conditions. I felt these were just unsafe and replaced them with Hankook Ventus S2 Noble S2s. Much better overall traction, but I managed to spin the tires once from dead stop on dry pavement one. I think the M5 is too light a vehicle for the 205/55-16s, which may be too wide. Maybe a 195/55-16 will be better the next time around for more ground pressure (and more friction).

    Overall, its a versatile car for a very good value, and we like it alot. A bit noisy on the highway and lacking in some amenities. I'd also be interested if you tried adding Daylight Running Lights, as the Sport version did not come with these due to another cost cutting measure.
  • random196
    Good article. We have a 2013 M5 Sport, with automatic transmission. We ditched the OEM 205/55-16 tires (Toyo A20s) at about 18,000 miles. Slipped from dead stop under dry conditions, and slipped in wet conditions under many conditions. I felt these were just unsafe and replaced them with Hankook Ventus S2 Noble S2s. Much better overall traction, but I managed to spin the tires once from dead stop on dry pavement one. I think the M5 is too light a vehicle for the 205/55-16s, which may be too wide. Maybe a 195/55-16 will be better the next time around for more ground pressure (and more friction).

    Overall, its a versatile car for a very good value, and we like it alot. A bit noisy on the highway and lacking in some amenities. I'd also be interested if you tried adding Daylight Running Lights, as the Sport version did not come with these due to another cost cutting measure.
  • tuanies
    140952 said:
    Good article. We have a 2013 M5 Sport, with automatic transmission. We ditched the OEM 205/55-16 tires (Toyo A20s) at about 18,000 miles. Slipped from dead stop under dry conditions, and slipped in wet conditions under many conditions. I felt these were just unsafe and replaced them with Hankook Ventus S2 Noble S2s. Much better overall traction, but I managed to spin the tires once from dead stop on dry pavement one. I think the M5 is too light a vehicle for the 205/55-16s, which may be too wide. Maybe a 195/55-16 will be better the next time around for more ground pressure (and more friction). Overall, its a versatile car for a very good value, and we like it alot. A bit noisy on the highway and lacking in some amenities. I'd also be interested if you tried adding Daylight Running Lights, as the Sport version did not come with these due to another cost cutting measure.


    I don't think any of them have DRLs. The optional foglights are about as good as DRLs though. I can't justify the $300 it'd cost for two simple lights and a switch so I've been holding off on it. I might replace the rear motor mount to get more power to the ground, but yes I can spin the tires depending on how hard I launch it from a stop. The wider tires and heavier wheel combo seems to be a bit better though.

    You can pickup LED DRLs off eBay for $160 or so. I might do that after the fog lights. I need to work on the next installment, but the car did get fitted with Megan Racing coilovers for a little drop.

    https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7567/15970413731_55369d81e8_c.jpgP1120354 by tuanies, on Flickr