The Mazda MPV is a seven-passenger minivan that was introduced in 1989 and discontinued after the 2006 model year. It was the first vehicle in the minivan class to offer dual sliding side doors that contained roll-down windows. While smaller than its competitors, the MPV has exceptional handling capability and, at one time, was the best choice for navigating the congested streets of urban areas. The MPV was replaced by the Mazda 5 in North America and Europe but is still sold in Asia.
Originally equipped with a four-cylinder engine, consumers complained that the MPV lacked suitable power when fully loaded with cargo or passengers. In 2002, Mazda responded by introducing a 3.0 liter V-6 DOHC power plant that produced 200 horsepower and 200 lb-ft of torque. Combined with a five-speed automatic transmission, rear stabilizer bar and a four wheel independent front suspension, the MPV offered quick acceleration, a smooth ride and responsive steering. Fuel economy was a reasonable 18 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway. The Mazda MPV was designed and manufactured in Hiroshima, Japan.
Launched in 1989, the Mazda MPV was a ground breaking vehicle at the forefront of the minivan revolution. Mazda's decision to base the MPV on their large vehicle auto platform was a dramatic departure from the existing van platform that most other manufacturers used. As a result, the MPV provided a smoother ride and reduced production costs. Mazda manufactured a three door MPV until 1995, and a four door version through 2006. The second generation MPV began production in 1996 and featured sliding rear doors and a third row seat that could fold down into a floor cavity. Ultimately, the MPV was discontinued because of a lack of cargo size (127 cubic feet) and limited power.
Produced in three trim levels, the base LX-SV model offered dual sliding doors with roll-down windows, 15 inch steel wheels and a CD player. The LX version included 16 inch alloy wheels, a power driver's seat, cruise control, overhead and center consoles, side air bags and stereo controls mounted on the steering wheel. The ES trim package added dual power sliding doors, leather trimmed upholstery, a premium nine-speaker sound system, keyless entry and privacy glass. Other options available on both the LX and ES included a rear DVD entertainment system, powered sunroof and heated mirrors.
The 2003 Mazda MPV received the highest five-star rating from the federal government in collision tests for front and rear seat passengers and front and side impacts. The 1991 MPV was given the IntelliChoice Best Overall Value of the Year" award. In 1989 the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada named the MPV the "Best New Van".
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