Northwest NEWS

August 28, 2000

Features

TEST DRIVE -- 2000 MAZDA MPV WAGON LX

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The 2000 Mazda MPV minivan is a stylish and practical vehicle with plenty of room and nice options. It seats up to seven people with lots of verastality of folding down the back third row seat and taking out the second row seats to allow more cargo space.
   The all-aluminum, low maintenance 2.5-liter, DOHC, 24-valve V6 engine has 170-horsepower with a variable air intake system and 165 lbs-ft of torque. The smooth-shifting four-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission with overdrive is standard.
   The new MPV provides the optimum combination of spirited handling, rock-solid stability and ride comfort using an ideal diagonal roll axis, MacPherson strut independent front suspension and torsion beam axle rear suspension. The rigid rear suspension effectively minimizes camber and toe changes, providing a stable ride even when the vehicle is loaded. It is also compact and lightweight, enabling a low floor, which maximizes cabin space. Additionally, engine-speed-sensing power rack-and-pinion steering provides quick, responsive handling. The steering wheel core is magnesium for reduced weight and improved handling stability.
   The new MPV features 10.8-inch front ventilated discs and 10-inch drum brakes in the rear. The optional four-wheel anti-lock braking system (ABS) includes an electronic brake force distribution (EBFD) system that modifies the braking force of the rear brakes depending on vehicle load, road conditions and vehicle speed for shorter stopping distances when fully loaded with passengers and cargo.
   To enhance the MPV's sporty appearance, five-spoke 15-inch aluminum alloy wheels are optionally available on DX and LX models. Six-spoke 16-inch aluminum alloy wheels are available as an option on LX models and are standard on ES models.
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   The dual sliding doors with power windows are standard. The doors open and close easily and quietly. The sliding door tracks are hidden in the window channels.
   The short front overhang, slanted D-pillars and liftgate convey the MPV's sportiness, while sculpted bodysides create a stylish silhouette. The five-point chrome grille, multi-reflector headlamps and aluminum-vaporized rear combination lamps add to the MPV's sophisticated style.
   The dramatic exterior styling also carries over to the interior, highlighted by a stylish
   V-shaped instrument panel, integrated center console, chrome accents and sculpted trim elements. Additionally, the spacious, refined cabin uses high-quality materials with exceptional fit and finish.
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   Creases run across the curved hood and fender flares
   Features include "Side-by-Slide'" removable second-row seats (LX and ES models) that offer both captain's chairs and a bench seat by moving fore/aft and side to side, Each Side-by-Slide' seat reclines, flips forward, weighs just 37 pounds, and is individually removable in a few easy steps. The Tumble-Under' third-row seat folds flat into the floor easily, and has an tailgate feature that allows the seat to be flipped rearward when the liftgate is open, which results in a flat surface.
   Its short front overhang, expansive glass area and compact turning circle provide optimum road visibility and maneuverability, making the MPV easy to drive and park.
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   Mazda's award-winning OptiSpace design philosophy results in clever interior design and packaging, optimizing interior space and providing a feeling of spaciousness within the cabin. An example of OptiSpace is the center console that narrows beneath the instrument panel to provide more foot room for the driver and front-seat passenger.
   For front seat occupants there are up to nine convenient, built-in storage compartments, including an overhead console, large-capacity glove box, storage tray under the front passenger's seat, front door pockets, a coin box and a large storage box that holds up to 12 compact discs. The center console houses dual adjustable cup holders that hold everything from juice boxes to super-sized cups.
   The second-row seat has a pull-out dual cup holder, while a holder for plastic drink bottles is located in the trim panel of each sliding door. The front passenger's seat includes a large seatback pocket. There are four cup holders in the third row, with dual cup holders in each side of the rear quarter panel trim. Additionally, a covered storage compartment is integrated into the armrest on the left side quarter panel trim. The rear quarter panel trim also includes a 12-volt auxiliary power port for using electronic accessories both inside and outside the vehicle.
   Behind the third-row seat, a deep well in the floor provides 17.2 cubic feet of cargo space and keeps cargo from sliding around while driving. When the third-row seat is folded into the floor, cargo space is 54.6 cubic feet (53.7 with rear A/C). For runs to the home improvement warehouse, folding the third-row seat and removing the second-row seats yields an impressive 127 cubic feet in cargo capacity.
   The climate control system and audio system controls are integrated in the center of the instrument panel. The climate control system includes a micron air filter and optional rear air-conditioning and heating with individual climate controls for front and rear passengers. The second- and third-row passengers are cooled by vents in the ceiling and warmed by ducts in the floor. Separate vents for each passenger ensure that air-conditioning performance in the rear is every bit as good as the front.
   With the optional "In-dash Jukebox" six-disc CD changer with a 180-watt, nine-speaker Super Sound system, the new MPV boasts one of the best audio systems ever put in a minivan. An AM/FM/CD audio system with 100 watts of power and a four-speaker sound system is standard.