I recently bought a 1998 LX 4wd with optional load levelers and mid row captains chairs. It has 175k KM or 109k MILES on original engine and a rebuilt transmission. IMPORTANT for purchase decision * the previous owners were families with 2 children (softly driven/usually up to date maintenance). THE GOOD = capabilities for entire family fun. THE KINDA BAD = fuel economy (but that's the price to have a 4wd 7 passenger Mini Van. Overall I like it - the bones are there its up to " the owner " to buy right and take care of it. NOW personally I have a ticking in my valve lifters and it was suggested by MAZDA to add a heavier oil next oil change so it causes the lifters to quiet.. LOL sounds good.
Store the rear bench seat and YOU can have plenty of space for cargo and middle row for passengers. I'm doing that today and put my rear bench on my patio for a patio sofa (apartment patio - small)
TRUE 4wd is great. Its at my finger tips for my control and I can also lock the center differential
on my dash , for * low end * low speed 4wd(like through dirt road with trailer).
Windows go all the way down in the mid row.
Rear Air condition
CUP holders in the middle row captains chairs are too shallow and don't hold a drink down on an aggressive turn. So don,t put drinks in the middle row captains chairs .. the drivers cupholders are fine.. but alittle sticky after so many years of service.
FOR the driver ... Drive the MPV like a big truck or bus.. start slow (be good to the transmission) then start using the power on the highway and through the 4wd usage.. other than that this is a BUS in the turns and off the line.. The fun here is in the comfort and utilitarian uses (tow / 4wd / family outings).
I bought this truck for my wife after a decade of minivan ownership because she wanted something "different" and this definitely is that! It's been reliable affordable transportation and made me a die hard Mazda fan after many years of dodge ownership. I wish Mazda had continued to progress with this body style rather that succumbing to the "euro" styling trend that took over in the late 90's. Very fun vehicle to own and it looks like nothing else out there even after all this time, even today the styling doesn't scream "I'm 12 yrs old!"
Huge sunroof. Rear heat and air is nice. Good visibility and I've never managed to get it stuck no matter the weather conditions. Nice to wave at people in newer vehicles stuck on the side of the road in the snow
I wish they had offered a v8 for this model as the fuel mileage isn't that great anyway with the 6 cyl.
The 1998 MPV is the third MPV I have owned, but this is the first 4x4. I am very happy with this vehicle, rides a bit rough compared to the 2 wheel drive, but it can go through a lot of snow and handles very well. I was hooked on the MPV several years ago when I bought my first one, mainly due to the reliability!
I have owned two MPV minivan "trucks". The first one bought in 1990 was driven over 200,000 miles. It was sold in 2003 unsolicited to a total stranger right off the street who pleaded to buy it. Earlier, I continued to drive the 1990 model 5 more years after we purchased the 1998 MPV. I think Mazda should have stuck with the '98 "All Sport" concept, rather than making the fatal mistake of changing designs. However, nearly 10 years later the newer crossovers seem to come close. The '98 MPV is awesome and in my opinion the best "truck" Mazda ever built. I would buy another one if they built another 4WD All Sport MPV like the 1998 model.
On demand 4WD drives flawlessly on ice and snow. The "All Sport" is surprisingly fast for a heavy vehicle. Punching gas pedal of the '98 MPV into passing gear makes the '98 MPV sound like a race car. It is very roomy for 8 people. I love the four doors and lift back. The MPV is very dependable.