2004 Mazda MPV (504)

Overview:

This week I revisited the Mazda MPV that I had reviewed for 2003. The 2004 is not so different but it is well priced and worth another look. If there were any doubt that free market economics works, one need only look at the way carmakers have meshed the SUV and the Mini Van into one vehicle because that’s what folks want. Evolution does work, Charles Darwin, even if not with humans.

God made man and man makes trains and planes and automobiles. Man makes them evolve according to the demands of consumers with $$$ money to spend on things they “Want” and or “Need”. I guess you could call that Evolutionary Economics.

Mazda has included power windows on the sliding doors, which is rare indeed. The fold-flat third seat is more common today in other vehicles but Mazda helped to lead the way. The hole left when the seat is up provides more storage area. Reasonable fuel economy plays an even greater role in convincing you to go with this crossover SU-Van. It continues to be a great family vehicle.

The only downside of having a vehicle that carries 7 people is that you will become the designated driver all too often. Ok, dear we can go to the beach today! And before you know it you have a gang. This past weekend I felt like a bus driver for a senior citizen’s home. Only one of the group was quiet and simply enjoyed the ride, which, by the way is super.

General Info:

Parts – 78% Japan

Assembly – Hiroshima, Japan

Class: – Special Purpose 2 WD

Cars: – Mazda3, 6 and sport wagon, MPV, MX 5, RX 8, Tribute and Truck.

Handling & Performance:

Yes, MPV continues to deliver a super smooth ride. But I hadn’t noticed before that it is a little sluggish in second gear. It really could use at least 240 horsepower to pull the load a little better. The 2003 model was at 183 and they must have had a lot of complaints and boosted it to 200 hp, but it is still not enough. You notice the need when you have all seats occupied or going into a turn in second gear where you have to down shift or it lugs. Braking is improved with the addition of disc brakes all around. 2003 included disc only on the front.

Styling:

This Mazda sits on a Ford platform and in a field of many you can always pick it out from the line up.

Fit and Finish:

Outstanding. And that continues to hold true for all Japanese auto products.

Cost:

Actually it is well priced. An indispensable option at $800 is the dual power sliding doors. Add that to the MSRP of $23,260 and the price is still very good.

Consumer Recommendation:

Comparable pricing, so the deciding factor on which to buy will likely be your preference in styling and your perception of value. Japanese cars have a good reputation but Detroit shouldn’t be counted out. Not only have they fought back valiantly and earned our renewed respect, Americans need to consider the need to support American made products. When the US auto industry was cocky we rightfully turned away from them and bought from off shore competitors. And in a sense it was our duty to encourage competition then and although that remains true today, we don’t have the luxury to continue to buy foreign as much as we have. The pendulum has indeed swung back.

The Competition:

Mazda MPV $23-28,000, Chevrolet Venture $21-34,000, Chrysler Town & Country $20-35,000, Dodge Caravan $18-26,000, Ford Freestar $22-33,000, Honda Odyssey $24-30,000, Kia Sedona $20-22,000, Mercury Monterey $29-35,000, Nissan Quest $24-32,000, Oldsmobile Silhouette $28-37,000, Pontiac Montana $23-31,000, Toyota Sienna $24-28,000.

Good News:

Smooth ride and great family utility vehicle.

Bad News:

None.

Standard Equipment:

3.0 liter 200 hp V6 engine, 5-speed automatic trans, front wheel drive, power steering, 7 passenger seating, velour cloth seats, 2nd row captain seats, 3rd row tumble under seat, air conditioning front and rear, audio with CD player, power windows, door locks and mirrors, power ABS disc brakes with electronic brake force distribution system, dual front air bags, remote keyless entry, cruise control, seat side table in front (no console, but lots of storage and cup holders), variable intermittent wipers front and rear.

Gas Stats:

18 City and 25 Highway MPG.

Pricing:

MSRP $23,260.

Your comments are welcomed. My e-mail is joe@autolove.com
Copyright © 2014 – An Automotive Love Affair.

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