2000 Mazda MPV ES (290)

Overview:

Well, well, well, something new, innovative and different. The Mazda MPV is the first Minivan to provide roll down windows on their sliding doors. On this model they are power as well. Don’t you just wonder why others haven’t done this before now. Nice touch guys.

Observation – have you noticed that the Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) and the Minivan have evolved over time to blend together in design? The SUV has more road clearance and 4-wheel drive for all the off roading they will never do. The Minivan retains the sliding doors and low to the ground profile so well suited for little people and granny’s in the family. SUV’s are still more popular but lose my vote in a playoff as to which is a better family car. And with the price of gas sure to go higher, the Minivan is destined to capture sales from the SUV market.

Handling & Performance:

Being built low to the ground with a wide stance gives this Mazda MPV nice handling characteristics. I also felt it was very responsive with plenty of power out of the 2.5 liter V6. The short nose and front wheel drive makes it very maneuverable.

Styling:

I like the new look for 2000 for this MPV. But as minivans go they’re all very similar in design. Every time I drive one of these versatile vehicles I like them even more. Mazda has paid attention to design details like hiding the sliding door mechanism under the rear window. That’s real smart and another “wonder why it didn’t happen sooner”. I don’t particularly like the third row seat setup. The seatback folds forward but not up and out of the way to provide more luggage storage. The Moonroof option has the largest opening I\’ve seen.

Fit and Finish:

Luxurious, says one visitor to my van. Well, that’s because they’ve done a nice job in putting the thing together. Another job well done. I’m beginning to be impressed.

Conveniences:

Minivans have a way of including lots of cup holders, storage places and nooks and cranny’s to make these great travel vehicles. The sound system in the rear is another great assist in keeping the kids occupied. Some manufacturers even have entertainment centers including VCRs and game ports. Great for making long trips easier to take for everyone. Questions like “are we there yet?” and comments like “I have to go to the bathroom” are sure to become remnants of the past. Such conveniences quickly become necessities. I also like the captains chairs in the front and center positions.

Cost:

Well priced. I have to admit this is the first time I\’ve tested the MPV and although I haven’t been a fan, it has been due more to ignorance. I simply haven’t taken the time to drive one. Thanks Mazda for asking me to look at it.

Recommendation:

I particularly liked the Toyota Sienna – overall feel, Honda Odyssey – great power sliding doors and the Oldsmobile Silhouette – great entertainment center, but have to include this Mazda MPV in my recommendation. Very impressive.

The Competition:

Chevrolet Venture $20,650 – $29,190, Dodge Caravan $18,850 – $32,175, Ford Windstar $19,815 – $33,360, Honda Odyssey $23,400 – $26,000, Oldsmobile Silhouette $25,195 – $31,790, Plymouth Voyager $18,685 – $24,080, Toyota Sienna $22,368 – $27,334.

Good News:

Roll down windows on the sliding doors, comfortable ride, handles well, elegant clean lines, seating for up to seven.

Bad News:

Poor visibility and small cargo area.

Standard Equipment:

2.5 liter 170 hp engine, front wheel drive, 4-speed auto trans, power steering, power front disc ABS brakes, alarm system, remote keyless entry, dual front and side air bags, 7-passenger seating, leather, power windows and door locks, stereo, air conditioning, tilt steering wheel, power heated mirrors, front and rear intermittent wipers, tinted glass, dual sliding doors with power down windows.

Gas Stats:

18 City and 23 Highway MPG.

Pricing:

MSRP $25,550.

Your comments are welcomed. My e-mail is joe@autolove.com
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