Coming on the heels of best-ever sales in April and May, the 2008 MAZDA5 has been named Ward's AutoWorld's "Interior of the Year" in the "Popular Priced Truck" category.  Thirty-six outstanding vehicle interiors representing 13 manufacturers competed for top honors in the annual competition.Over four weeks, members of the editorial staff of Ward's AutoWorld spent time with each finalist vehicle to evaluate its interior.   Winners were decided by overall points earned.  To be eligible for the competition, the vehicle or its interior had to be new for 2008.  The MAZDA5triumphed over competition from Nissan Murano, Saturn Vue, Ford Escape, Subaru Forester, Dodge Journey and Toyota Highlander, among others.

"We're honored to have won Ward's AutoWorld's ‘Interior of the Year' award," said Jim O'Sullivan, president and CEO of Mazda North American Operations. "The MAZDA5 is proving to be exactly what consumers want – a versatile, fuel-efficient vehicle that combines the functionality of an SUV with the ride and handling of a car.  This is a great vehicle that hits right at the heart of the market, and promises to grow in popularity as fuel prices soar."

The three-row, six-passenger MAZDA5 is a multi-activity sports vehicle infused with sports car inspiration.  The interior brags spaciousness and comfort.  The stepped floor allows for more legroom for all especially those sitting in rows two and three.  The second row has separate individual seats that slide, recline and fold flat, providing maximum versatility for passengers and cargo.  The third row seats are split 50/50 and can be tilted forward individually and folded flat to create a flat load area.  With the rear-most seats folded flat, carrying capacity is an enormous 44.4 cubic feet.

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Interior storage is spacious and thoughtful, with multiple open and covered compartments.  Flip the center-row seat cushions forward to access the under-seat storage or fold the tray down from the front-passenger-seat-back.  Hide the things that make life more convenient in the center armrest or in a covered flip-out storage bin under the center-right captain's chair cushion.  There's also an illuminated glovebox and half-liter bottle holders in each front door pocket, and even covered storage under the floor behind the third-row seat.

MAZDA5is powered by a 153-horsepower 2.3-liter four cylinder engine and can be fitted with either a five-speed manual or five-speed sport-shift Sport AT automatic transmission.  Priced from $17,995, the MAZDA5 is available in three trim levels – Sport, Touring and Grand Touring.

Headquartered in Irvine, Calif., Mazda North American Operations oversees the sales, marketing, parts, accessories and customer service support of Mazda vehicles in the United States, Canada and Mexico through nearly 900 dealers.  Operations in Canada are managed by Mazda Canada Inc., located in Ontario, Canada, and in Mexico by Mazda Motor de México in Mexico City.