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Available MPV Minivan Models
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The MPV has been completely redesigned from top to bottom. Several unique features, like hinged rear doors and all-wheel drive, have disappeared. At the same time, items like roll-down windows in the sliding doors and tailgate seating in the third-row seats certify the MPV as a standout vehicle.
After a one-year hiatus, the MPV returns as an all-new minivan poised for battle with today's best from Chrysler, Ford, Honda and Nissan. Despite Mazda's more conventional approach with their newest minivan, the company still insists that the MPV offers "no compromise" travel in a world filled with boring "box-on-wheels" people movers.
Drivetrain choices for the MPV are limited to a 2.5-liter, DOHC, 24-valve V6 engine that bears much in common with the Ford Duratec V6 of the same size. Creating 170 horsepower (160 in LEV states) and 165 foot-pounds of torque, the MPV will never be mistaken for a performance vehicle, at least in terms of acceleration. Shifting duty comes via a four-speed automatic lifted from Mazda's 626 sedan.
Underneath the MPV you'll find a MacPherson strut front suspension and a torsion beam axle rear suspension, along with front and rear stabilizer bars and a power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering system. Standard brakes are front disc and rear drum with optional ABS. An electronic brake force distribution system (EBD) is included with ABS to keep stopping distances consistent whether the van is near empty or fully loaded.
Overall size, both inside and out, is down, compared to the largest offerings from Chrysler, Ford and Honda. But Mazda worked hard to make the most of the MPV's interior space. This minivan comes standard with three rows of seating. The second and third rows can be configured for different seating arrangements.
The second row features two comfortable captain's chairs that have their own flip-up armrests. The real trick part is that the right-side second-row chair can be released by a handle, allowing it to be moved along tracks to meet up with the other second-row chair creating a bench seat. The tumble-under third-row seat can be folded backwards to allow for tailgate-style seating.
Trim levels start with the base DX model that includes 15-inch wheels, dual sliding doors with roll-down windows, de-powered front airbags, removable second-row seats, tumble-under third-row seat, AM/FM/CD player and air conditioning. Step up to the LX and you'll get such niceties as ABS, body-colored bumpers and door handles, dual heated and powered outside mirrors, power windows, cruise control, and privacy glass. The top-of-the-line ES models get 16-inch alloy wheels, leather-trimmed upholstery, side airbags, remote keyless entry and a thundering nine-speaker sound system. Options like a power sunroof, six-disc in-dash CD changer, exterior body cladding and a rear heater can increase your MPV's fun and functionality. It is worth noting, however, that power-sliding side doors are not an option.
Despite climbing SUV sales, the minivan continues as a staple of the automotive industry. If your needs for family toting in style and fun outweigh your requirements for space and power, the MPV deserves a close look.
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