2001 Millenia New Car Test Drive
If there is exclusivity in anonymity, then the Mazda Millenia is one of the most exclusive luxury cars in the world. Perhaps it's because Mazda, unlike Honda/Acura, Toyota/Lexus or Nissan/Infiniti, never created a separate brand channel for its premium product, in spite of its attempts to do so. The Millenia's styling hasn't helped either; it's sleek and clean and attractive but not particularly distinctive. Whatever the reasons, the Mazda Millenia has slipped under the radar of most luxury and near-luxury-car buyers.
And that just shouldn't be, because this is a great luxury sedan that offers good value as well. The Millenia S, particularly, with its supercharged 210-horsepower Miller-cycle V6 engine, remains one of the most interesting cars in the near-luxury class. A crisp-handling sedan that encourages you to take the long way home, it offers the kind of gracious creature comforts that'll make you want to skip home altogether for a road-trip adventure instead. Originally planned to be launched as a premium-brand product, the Millenia is superbly engineered and is built at one of the world's highest quality assembly plants.
Stepping out for the beginning of the new millennium, the Millenia sports fresh new styling up front for 2001.
Purists may argue that the new millennium actually began in 2001, but Mazda has dropped the Millennium Edition Millenia this year, leaving only the Millenia Premium ($28,025) and Millenia S ($31,025).
The S is powered by Mazda's innovative Miller-cycle engine, a 2.3-liter dohc V6 that uses an innovative scroll-type supercharger to produce 210 horsepower without compromising fuel economy or smoothness. The Premium, which is really the base Millenia, comes with a naturally aspirated (i.e. at operating at atmospheric pressure, not supercharged) 2.5-liter dohc V6 rated at 170 horsepower.
Standard equipment for both Millenia includes a four-speed automatic transmission, leather-wrapped steering wheel, cruise control, automatic climate control, alloy wheels, AM/FM/CD/cassette stereo, remote keyless entry with two fobs, fog lamps, eight-way power driver's seat and dual front and side-impact airbags.
In addition to the trick engine, Millenia S adds leather seating surfaces and door inserts, plus power for the passenger's seat, electronic traction control, 17-inch (rather than 16) alloy wheels, power moonroof and a Bose audio system with nine speakers.