This week I drove the 2003 Mazda MPV ES Wagon (Minivan). I didn’t like it in years past but didn’t drive one until the 2000 year model. Interesting pricing comparison below.
I have to tell you I’ve warmed up to this van a lot. I think Mazda was smart to make the two sliding doors power operated as standard equipment on the ES. Plus, they are smart to allow for power windows on the sliders. They go down more than half way and that’s cool.
Another plus is the fold-flat third seat into a hole in the rear that is a great storage area when the seat is up. All things considered this is a very nice alternative to the mass of special purpose vehicles that are so versatile. So in summary, you get the benefits of the very popular SUV with improved fuel economy, a better family vehicle built lower to the ground, equally as good cargo area with the benefit of a lower entry level at the rear and all you give up is the 4 Wheel Drive that 9 out of 10 people will never use anyway.
Parts – Japan
Assembly – Hiroshima, Japan
Class: – Special Purpose 2 WD
Cars: – 626, Millennia, MPV, MX5, Protégé, Tribute and Truck.
Handling & Performance:
Very nice. Boy is this one smooooth and so easy to drive. It doesn’t wander around the lane as it tracks true down the highway.
Most cars, trucks and SUV’s are very similar in appearance, have great coefficient of friction numbers that simply means they are very aerodynamic in design that sits on a Ford platform.
Fit and Finish:
The two top choices in my opinion are this Mazda and the newest entry into this market from South Korea, the Kia Sedona.
Price and overall feel I think you should look first at this Mazda and then the Kia Sedona and a third is the Chrysler Voyager. After that you will have a basis for comparison when you look at the more expensive alternatives. Happy hunting.
The Competition: (alphabetically)
Mazda MPV $23-26,000, Chevrolet Venture $21-34,000, Chrysler Voyager $21-24,000, Dodge Caravan $20-35,000, Ford Windstar $21-35,000, Honda Odyssey $24-28,000, Kia Sedona $19-22,000, Nissan Quest $23-27,000, Oldsmobile Silhouette $28-36,000, Pontiac Montana $24-34,000, Toyota Sienna $24-28,000.
Year 2000 model Pricing.
Mazda MPV $25,550, 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.
Nice styling, smooth ride and simply a great family vehicle.
Only fair gas performance and some will say the spare is inconveniently located and the seats aren’t as comfortable as they should be. (I didn’t change a tire and with AAA I suspect I never would anyway and I thought the seats were fine).
3.0 liter 200 hp V6 engine, 5-speed automatic trans, front wheel drive, power steering, power front disc with rear drum ABS brakes, traction control, dual front and side air bags, remote keyless entry, power windows, door locks, mirrors and dual sliding doors with power roll down windows, cruise control, seat side table in front (no console, but lots of storage and cup holders), power driver seat, sound system with cassette, variable intermittent wipers and rear wiper washer, tinted glass, 7 passenger seating, antitheft alarm system with immobilizer, leather upholstery and leather wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, captain chairs front and 2nd row with 3rd row bench seat.
18 City and 24 Highway MPG.
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