2002 MPV New Car Test Drive
Mazda says its MPV is the minivan with the soul of a sports car. Its commercials show the MPV turning into a Miata and back into an MPV as it winds around curvy mountain roads.
There is something to that. Lighter and more compact, the MPV is more agile, lighter on its feet, than most vans. 2002 brings a new 3.0-liter V6 that delivers substantially more power than last year's engine. Just as important, it's paired with a responsive five-speed automatic transmission. The suspension has been revised suspension with big, sporty 17-inch alloy wheels.
As a result, the 2002 Mazda MPV is smooth, quiet and powerful. Its compact dimensions make it much easier to park than, say, a Honda Odyssey.
It's a very pleasant vehicle to live with. The MPV features a beautifully designed interior with high-quality materials, excellent ergonomics, and great seats. Power sliding doors on both sides with windows that go up and down are convenient and nice for back-seat riders. Flexible seating and cargo configurations make it easy to handle a variety of tasks on a busy day. The third row disappears into the floor and the middle seats are a marvel of interior design.
Two trim levels are available: LX ($22,250) and ES ($27,192).
All MPVs are powered by a new 3.0-liter 24-valve V6 engine that produces 200 horsepower and 200 pounds-feet of torque.
Standard equipment on the LX includes antilock brakes, air conditioning, power windows and locks with remote entry, Side-by-Slide and Tumble-Under seating, cruise control, 15-inch alloy wheels, a tilt steering wheel with audio controls, and an audio system with a CD player.
ES adds leather-trimmed seats, power sliding rear doors, rear air conditioning, front side airbags, nine-speaker audio with CD player, chrome interior accents, traction control, and 17-inch alloy wheels. Front side air bags come standard on ES.
Side airbags are available for the LX as part of an optional Security Package ($995) that also includes anti-theft alarm with immobilizer, traction control, fog lamps. An LX Luxury Package ($1395) includes 16-inch alloy wheels, eight-way power driver's seat, a seat-side table between the front bucket seats.
A Four Seasons package ($425) includes rear heater, heavy-duty battery, larger windshield-washer tank, transmission cooler, larger radiator, and heated door mirrors. Stand-alone options include a power glass moonroof ($700) and an in-dash six-disc CD changer ($450). A rear-seat entertainment system is also available.