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Mazda MPV 1993 Review

The new Mazda MPV is moving people in style...

Vehicles such as Mazda's new MPV are a cross between a minibus and a family wagon, but the MPV's strength is that it drives like a car.

While the MPV is new to Australia, it's not new to the world market. It was introduced to the US in late 1998 as a 1989 model-year vehicle and a replacement is due in another year or so. It's not as stylish as the Toyota Tarago, and it's not as box-like as the Volkswagen Caravelle. But it's the only vehicle of its type that has four outward-opening doors like a conventional car. The doors open almost at right-angles to reveal two bucket seats in the front, a two-seat bench in the middle and a three-seater at the rear which folds forward easily to provide a large cargo space.

Mazda's MPV comes as a single model with no options. Standard features are impressive - automatic transmission, air-conditioning for the front and rear, cruise control, electric antenna, and anti-lock brakes on the rear wheels only.

The 3.0-litre V6 engine, basically the same engine which propelled the old 929, provides enough power and torque to shift with ease the MPV's kerb weight of 1722kg and a full load of people and their luggage.

Probably the worst aspect of the car is the automatic transmission with the lever mounted on the steering column. It's almost impossible to hit the chosen gear at the first attempt - moving from park to drive, it will usually slip past the "D" into second gear which is a damn nuisance. When you eventually get it into drive, the shifts are smooth.

The big engine and stirling performance of the MPV has its penalty in fuel consumption, using about 14 litres for every 100km.

On the road, the MPV's suspension is on the soft side for absorbing bumps and, even with the live rear end, rides well over the rough stuff. Mazda has endowed the MPV with four-wheel disc brakes plus an anti-lock system (ABS) which operates on the rear wheels only due to the cost five years' ago of developing a full ABS.

Overall, the MPV provides smooth and pleasant driving with the convenience of outward-opening doors and good specification. Pity about the auto and I'd prefer three seats in the middle row.

Mazda MPV People Mover

ENGINE: 18-valve, single overhead camshaft, fuel-injected 3.0-litre V6 which drives the rear wheels. This engine has stood the test of time, coming from the old 929.
POWER: 115kW at 5000rpm, torque 232Nm at 4000rpm. Enough to transport seven people and luggage.
SUSPENSION: Front - struts, coil springs, anti-roll bar. Rear - live axle, coil springs, trailing links, Panhard rod, anti-roll bar. Supple settings soak up corrugations and patched roads.
BRAKES: Front power discs, rear discs. Anti-lock system on the rear. Anti-lock system helps, but shows the vehicle's age.
TYRES: 195/70 radials. Normal at this level.
FUEL CONSUMPTION: Average 14.5 on test. 74-litre tank gives theoretical range of about 500km.
PRICE: $42,990. Beyond the price-range of most families.

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(base) 3.0L, ULP, 4 SP AUTO $2,400 – 4,070 1993 Mazda MPV 1993 (base) Pricing and Specs
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