Used 1997 Mazda Millenia

1997 Mazda Millenia
List price range
1997 Mazda Millenia

Pros

  • Elegant styling, ergonomic interior

Cons

  • Front-wheel drive, Mazda nameplate doesn't connote luxury

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Edmunds' Expert Review

vehicle overview

By 1990, Honda, Toyota and Nissan all had luxury divisions that offered superbly engineered cars at prices that rivaled American and European brands. Mazda was a bit slow to react, but soon had its own luxury channel planned. To be called Amati, Mazda began developing two sedans to sell through the division when it debuted in the mid-nineties.

The rising yen and softening sales in the luxury car segment made it clear to Mazda that Amati would be nothing more than a money pit. The project was canceled, but one of the sedans in development was nearly ready for production. Rather than consign that sedan to a future of write-ups in "Cars Japan Never Built" books, they decided to sell it as a Mazda. They named it Millenia, and priced it, in base trim, to compete with entry-level BMWs, the Nissan Maxima, and even top-of-the-line Toyota Camrys.

Times have changed. The Millenia now competes on a fiercely scarred near-luxury battleground bordered by the excellent Audi A4 on the low-end and the overpriced Lexus GS300 on the high end. Since its introduction, prices of the Millenia have steadily risen, while competitors have slashed prices. The Millenia isn't the deal it used to be.

The Millenia is an interesting looking car, though some styling cues can be chalked up as derivative. The S version is powered by the only Miller-cycle engine in production, a 2.3-liter unit equipped with a supercharger and good for 210 horsepower. Base and L models make do with a 2.5-liter V6 good for 170 horsepower, which simply isn't enough in this class. The interior is quite distinctive, in the Mazda tradition of providing excellent controls wrapped in interestingly flowing shapes. For 1997, cars with beige interiors get brown dashboards.

Other changes for the new model year include upgraded standard equipment on L and S models. A power passenger seat with eight-way adjustment is included with either trim level, while the L gets 16-inch alloy wheels and a revised final drive ratio for improved off-the-line acceleration. Mazda has revised the center console of all Millenias, improving the cupholder and adding an integrated sunglasses tray and pen holder. A new sound system includes an in-dash CD player, and a rear-window-mounted diversity antenna replaces last year's pole antenna. New colors and Michelin tires for all models round out the changes for 1997.

If only the Millenia had something other than the Miller-cycle engine to distinguish it, like the personality most other Mazdas exhibit and a lower sticker price, we could wholeheartedly recommend it. Unfortunately for Mazda, there are three brand new and very competent players on the field for 1997, and their names are Cadillac Catera, Lexus ES 300, and Mitsubishi Diamante.

1997 Highlights

Models equipped with leather are upgraded this year with an eight-way power passenger seat, 16-inch alloy wheels, and revised final drive ratio for better low-end response. S models also get the power passenger seat. All Millenias have a new rear-window-mounted diversity antenna, a new sound system with in-dash CD player, revised center console design and Michelin tires.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 1997 Mazda Millenia.

Overall Consumer Rating

Most helpful consumer reviews

A fine car but ...
Tl,05/08/2002
My 5 year old Millenia still drives like a luxury car. I bought it for its reliability and gorgeous exterior. The leather grade is rather cheap. The interior is tight and front seats are not comfortable for tall adults. The workmanship and fitting are flimsy. My moon roof stops working (not fuse- related). If you live in the DC/Virginia area, I would not recommend buying your car from Brown's Mazda. They drop you like a ball once your car leaves their lot. The acceleration on this car sucks. I would get the S version if you love the shape and the supple ride. My next car would likely be a Lexus, Volvo, Mercedes, or a BMW - definitely not sold by Brown's car dealers.
Great Car!
Robert D,10/31/2003
The Mazda Millenia S is the poor man's 5 Series BMW. I bought mine used with 34k on it--someone else ate the depreciation..I got great value. The handling is agile, a real driver's car, yet ride quality is high. The engine is responsive, smooth, quick. Mechanically solid, and loaded with features, including traction control, ABS. The engineers and builders paid attention to detail. I find the car comfortable, even on long trips; maintenance has been minimal.
nice looking but quality lacks a bit
rfp,12/18/2007
I have had my Mazda for 9 years. I replaced the transmission at 100,000. I have had a number of other parts replaced. The engine has been pretty good. But the parts are very high and mostly have to be ordered. The resale value is is kinda low. The car really looks good but in terms of durability, it leaves a lot to be desired. Mazda really needs to step it up a bit.
Love my Mazda
SGordon,07/31/2009
I purchased my Mazda as a second owner. It had 30,000 miles on it. It was a lease turn in. I didn't have any problems at all with my car until the timing belt went out. That was after about 125,000 miles, got that replaced and have been going ever since! That is the only major issue I ever had. I now have 209,000 miles on it and it's still going strong.
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Features & Specs

MPG
18 city / 24 hwy
Seats 0
4-speed automatic
Gas
170 hp @ 5800 rpm
MPG
18 city / 24 hwy
Seats 0
4-speed automatic
Gas
170 hp @ 5800 rpm
MPG
18 city / 26 hwy
Seats 0
4-speed automatic
Gas
210 hp @ 5300 rpm
See all Used 1997 Mazda Millenia features & specs

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver4 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    DriverNot Rated
    PassengerNot Rated
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    RolloverNot Rated
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Not Tested
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Not Tested
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    Acceptable

More about the 1997 Mazda Millenia
Used 1997 Mazda Millenia Overview

The Used 1997 Mazda Millenia is offered in the following submodels: Millenia Sedan. Available styles include 4dr Sedan, L 4dr Sedan, and S 4dr Sedan.

What's a good price on a Used 1997 Mazda Millenia?

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Which used 1997 Mazda Millenias are available in my area?

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Can't find a used 1997 Mazda Millenias you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Mazda Millenia for sale - 8 great deals out of 14 listings starting at $12,364.

Find a used Mazda for sale - 4 great deals out of 18 listings starting at $8,175.

Find a used certified pre-owned Mazda Millenia for sale - 9 great deals out of 10 listings starting at $17,124.

Find a used certified pre-owned Mazda for sale - 6 great deals out of 12 listings starting at $14,077.

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Should I lease or buy a 1997 Mazda Millenia?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

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