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Not really a luxury car, and not really a sports sedan, Millenia is past its expiration date.
Improved exterior styling and interior design, supercharged Millenia S engine, competitive price.
Cramped interior, no navigation system available, aging platform.
Available Millenia Sedan Models
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Mazda has strengthened the Millenia's body structure to improve torsional rigidity 30 percent. Combined with a new rear stabilizer bar and a larger front stabilizer bar, improved handling is the result. Visually, the car should be more appealing thanks to new front and rear styling. The interior has been updated significantly, as well. Hardware changes include larger disc brakes, a revised ABS system and standard side airbags for both models.
The Mazda Millenia leads a dual-purpose life. It comes in two versions: the Millenia and the Millenia S. In terms of price, the base Millenia competes against cars like the Honda Accord EX V6 and the Nissan Maxima, while the Millenia S goes up against sporty entry-level luxury cars like the Audi A4, Acura TL and Lincoln LS V6.
The Millenia has been around in its current iteration since 1995. To keep the car fresh, Mazda has updated the 2001 car's styling and made minor mechanical changes. Never a standout in terms of styling, the Millenia's new hood, fenders, bumper, grille and headlights should help matters. The rear end also gets new taillights.
Inside, Mazda has ditched the cloth interior on base Millenias and made leather trim standard equipment. It has also given the Millenia a new silhouetted gauge cluster that is similar in design to those found in Lexus vehicles. There's also an upgraded audio system, a new center console with dual-level storage, a leather armrest cover, a 12-volt power point and dual covered cupholders. Materials are better thanks to a new two-tone interior color scheme; a leather-wrapped steering wheel, shift knob and parking brake; and cloth-covered A-pillars. Rounding things out are larger control switch graphics, power lumbar support, rear-seat cupholders and retained accessory power. As was the case last year, traction control and heated front seats are part of the Four-Seasons package.
The main difference between the Millenia and Millenia S is their engines. The base Millenia is powered by a 2.5-liter V6 that makes 170 horsepower at 5,800 rpm and 160 foot-pounds of torque at 4,800 rpm. The supercharged 2.3-liter V6 in the Millenia S makes 210 horsepower at 5,300 rpm and 210 foot-pounds of torque at 3,500 rpm. Both are equipped with four-speed automatic transmissions. Mazda says powertrain improvements have given the Millenia smoother transmission shifts and the Millenia S better acceleration.
The Millenia's 170 horsepower is a bit wanting, so best to step up to the Millenia S if you're looking for power. Acceleration is strong, and because of the Miller-cycle supercharged design, gas mileage remains frugal. On the road, the Millenia's suspension does a good job of soaking up broken pavement. Mazda says it has improved the 2001 car's steering, suspension and body structure for greater stability and response. Mazda considers the Nissan Maxima, the Infiniti I30, the Toyota Avalon, and the Acura TL to be the Millenia's primary competitors. The Millenia does have some advantages, and this year's improvements should only help matters. However, we still feel that there are simply better choices available. For the price of a base Millenia, we'd take a Honda Accord EX or a Volkswagen Passat GLX. And for the price of a Millenia S, an Acura TL or Lexus IS 300 simply offer more.
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