2012 Mazda5 Sport

We often speak of the ability of an exotic car to transport your imagination somewhere equally special — a Ferrari 458 Italia to Monza or a Rolls-Royce Phantom to Downing Street, for instance. For me, however, few vehicles do this better than small vans. Climbing behind the wheel of the tidy Mazda 5, I instantly picture myself flying along the autobahn, sitting in traffic outside Tokyo, or careening down an ancient back alley in Jerusalem – probably because I’ve ridden in small vans in all those places, usually on my way to or from the airport.

This time, however, I was driving around southeast Michigan, but the 5 hardly felt out of place. By folding down the back row, I was easily able to slide in my bicycle without removing its front wheel. And unlike most of the utilitarian and downright ratty vans

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