SAN FRANCISCO: The
Mazda MPV has been a player in the minivan market for quite some time. But it has not been
a major player with only 32,181 sold versus 430,383 sold for the Chrysler and Dodge
minivans in 2001. This is a shame because the MPV is, and has always been, a very nice
vehicle. I recently drove a 2002 MPV ES, the top of the line MPV, and came away wondering
why more people dont choose a Mazda MPV.
When the MPV first showed up on the scene it was rear wheel drive (rwd). Now
just like almost everyone else, the MPV is front wheel drive (fwd). Although I would
personally prefer rwd for its ruggedness and simplicity, fwd allows more interior space in
a small overall package. Just about the only folks who look for rwd, besides me, are the
commercial people. Mazda knows that the major sales numbers are in fwd vans.
Many minivans tend to look somewhat the same. How many ways can you design a box with
wheels? Mazda has managed to make the MPV stand out from the crowd and have a family look
to it. If youre familiar with the Mazda "look" youll have no problem
picking the MPV out from a crowd.
Every MPV is equipped with a 3.0-liter, DOHC, 24-valve, 200 hp, V6 and a 5-speed,
electronically controlled automatic transmission. This does not turn the 3,800 lb. MPV ES
into a speed demon but it is sufficiently powerful so you wont need to worry about
merging into highway traffic. The powertrain package will also return 18 mpg in the city
and 24 on the highway, both respectable figures.
Mazda doesnt quote acceleration figures for the MPV but their ads say "zoom,
zoom." The MPV is a nicely balanced vehicle, with good power and "has the soul
of a sports car." If you remember sports cars of old, and Mazdas own Miata,
they are not rocket ships or out and out racecars. Rather they are quick, decent handling,
fun cars. In keeping with the "zoom, zoom" spirit the ES is equipped with
P215/60R17 tires mounted on 17" alloy wheels and 4-wheel anti-lock brakes. The MPV
doesnt feel like a minivan. It feels like a good sports sedan. Functionally it is a
minivan with all the interior space and convenience.
The interior of the ES version is very nice, almost too nice for little kids. At least
the leather "trimmed" upholstery will be easy to clean. Theres seating for
seven (the 3rd row "tumbles under" to provide more cargo room), front
and rear a/c, power drivers seat, dual power sliding side doors, power everything,
tinted privacy glass, 8 cup holders and 2 bottle holders, map lights, sunglass holder,
seat side table and a "super sound system." The LX is not quite so luxurious.
Mazda limits your choice to two versions LX and ES. Neither is what you would call
a "stripper" but the ES is the full tilt boogie version.
Dont expect all of this to come cheap, expect it to be competitively priced. The
MPV ES has a base price of $27,192. With options (fog lights, roof rack, in-dash 6-disc CD
changer, power moonroof, and 4-seasons package) the price creeps to $29,217. Add delivery
and youre just under $30,000.00. Your basic Dodge Caravan with a V6 goes for $24,345
while the MPV LX is only $22,700 (both prices are according to Automotive News), and so
although $30,000 may seem like a lot its in the ballpark. Mazda makes good vehicles
and the MPV minivan is worth a serious look and a test drive. By Bruce Hotchkiss © AutoWire.Net - San Francisco
Mazda Home Page
Byline: Syndicated content provided by Tony Leopardo ©
Column Name: A Minivan with "Zoom Zoom"
Topic: 2002 Mazda MPV
Word Count: 663
Photo Caption: The 2002 Mazda MPV
Photo Credits: Mazda Internet Media
Series #: 2002 - 25
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