I, too, am a fan of the Mazda 5. And with fuel prices now in the forefront of Americans' minds, this spacious and fun little people hauler's 21/27 city/highway EPA ratings (22/28 mpg for the stick shift) make it more relevant than ever.
My wife and I are expecting a child, and the Mazda 5 will definitely be on our shortlist when the time comes for our next car. If we bought one of these, though, it'd definitely be a stick shift, like Automobile's long-departed Four Seasons Mazda 5. That car was more enjoyable than this automatic. Like Joe D pointed out, the stick shift allows you to extract every last ounce of oomph from the 2.3-liter four-cylinder, which I feel is adequate but far from overwhelming in this car.
From an aesthetics standpoint, I prefer the original 5's tri-circular taillight theme over the '09 5's more linear design. The fabric of the inner door-panel trim is a bit strange, too - it looks like your grandmother's couch, with vertical lines that aren't quite parallel - although I think I could grow to like it.
The best part about the 5 is that it adds an element of driving fun to the micro minivan package, something largely absent from similar vehicles such as the circa-1993 Dodge Colt Vista, the original Honda Odyssey, and the current Kia Rondo.
Rusty Blackwell, Copy Editor