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Mazda MPV

Mazda MPV
Rating: *** out of 5
Mazda MPV
Mazda MPV
Mazda MPV
Mazda MPV

Mazda MPV gets Facelift, Style Makeover
Good Value In Crowded Sector Governed By Price, Not Emotion

Pisa, Italy - Mazda has face-lifted its MPV and it now looks a little more stylish, with a new grille which captures the new company look featured by the Mazda6.

Let’s face it, there’s not much you can do to make a big, 7-seat people mover look exciting, but Mazda has tried, with body-colour door handles, privacy glass and restyled rear lights. Having the launch in the countryside around Pisa helps as well.

The interior is impressive, and marks it out as a cut above the likes of the cheaper Hyundai Trajet, which I have also driven recently. But the competition is ferocious in this sector, with the competitors including the Toyota Previa, VW Sharan, Renault Espace, Peugeot 807, Mitsubishi Space Wagon, Chrysler Voyager, Fiat Ulysee, Mercedes V class, Seat Alhambra, and Honda Stream.

Why Mazda?
Why choose the Mazda MPV? Well it’s got the most direct, and economical name, although I’d previously marked down the Mercedes Vaneo as the vehicle with the moniker which best summed up what it did, at the least cost to the advertising department.

“How about Espace, Space Wagon, Voyager, Alhambra? They are great names. All gone? Oh okay how about Vaneo.”

Mazda says its improved MPV has extra stowage space, better rear disc brakes, standard traction control, and there is a choice between a 2.3 litre petrol and 2.0 litre diesel. Prices between £18,500 (25,500 euros) and £20,000 are competitive – there is a single trim level with air conditioning, ABS brakes, four airbags, electric powered and heated mirrors, and electric windows. Also standard is remote, keyless entry.

Terrific Interior
The interior is really terrific, with a smart black dashboard, black and silver finish to the centre instrument panel and chrome detailing. A new three-spoke steering wheel with integrated audio remote control buttons adds to comfort and convenience for the driver.

The 2.3 litre petrol engine develops 141 bhp and Mazda says it will deliver a combined economy of 28 mpg (8 litres per 100 kms) – that means you can expect an average of around 21 mpg. The 2.0 litre diesel felt lively enough and is officially said to be capable of a combined 39.8 mpg (5.9 l/kms). You’ll get about 30 mpg.

On the road the Mazda drove well, without reminding you that it was in fact more of a van than a car.

Hyundai Trajet
I also drove the Hyundai Trajet MPV recently, and as you would expect, the price was keen and the standard goodies all-embracing. The base model 2.0 litre petrol costs £15,495, and the 2.0 CRTD GSi diesel which I had the pleasure of, costs £16,495. This includes air-conditioning, ABS and much electronic stuff. The diesel engine was terrific although the interior was on the tacky side. I managed 34.4 mpg and Hyundai claims a combined 37.2 mpg.

Neil Winton – January 1, 2004

Mazda MPV
Engine:
2.0 litre, 4-cylinder diesel
Power:
136 bhp
Gearbox:
5 speed manual
Drive:
front wheels
Acceleration:
0-62mph/100kph – 13.2 seconds
Top Speed:
109 mph
Fuel Consumption:
combined 39.8 mpg (expect 29)
CO2:
188 g/km
Length:
4,805 mm
Width:
1,830
Height:
1,785
Suspension front:
independent, Mcpherson strut
Suspension rear:
torsion beam
Price:
£20,000 (28,300 euros)
Competition:
Toyota Previa, VW Sharan, Renault Espace, Peugeot 807, Mitsubishi Space Wagon,
Chrysler Voyager, Fiat Ulysee, Mercedes V class, Seat Alhambra, Honda Stream.
Would I buy one?
I’m mesmerised by the choice. I fear that price would be the crucial factor for such a utilitarian vehicle,
so the Hyundai gets my vote.
Rating:
*** out of 5 – nice but no cigar.

Hyundai Trajet 2.0 CRTD GSi
Engine:
2.0 litre, 4-cylinder diesel
Gearbox:
5 speed manual
Drive:
front wheels
Acceleration:
0-62 – 14.2 seconds
Top Speed:
106 mph
Fuel Consumption:
39.2 mpg combined (expect 30)
CO2:
192 g/km
Length:
4,695 mm
Width:
1,840
Height:
1,760
Price:
£16,495 (23,400 euros)

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