Used 1999 Mazda Millenia

1999 Mazda Millenia
List price range
1999 Mazda Millenia

Pros

  • Creative styling and well laid out interior.

Cons

  • In a market loaded with excellent cars for about $30,000, the Millenia is simply too expensive and out-of-date.
Mazda Millenia years

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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 the vehicle to a future write-up in one of those "Cars Japan Never Built" books, Mazda decided to sell it with the Mazda name. They called 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 BMW 328i on the high end. Since its introduction, prices of the Millenia have steadily risen, while competitors have slashed prices. Mazda reduced the Millenia's price for '99 but the top-of-the-line S model still costs over $31,000.

The Millenia is an interesting looking car with a freshened front and rear for '99. 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 models make do with a 2.5-liter V6 capable of 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 creatively flowing shapes.

If only the Millenia had something more distinctive to offer than a Miller-cycle engine, we could wholeheartedly recommend it. Unfortunately for Mazda, there is one new and competent player on the field, and its name is the Acura TL.

1999 Highlights

Revised front- and rear-end styling, plus an optional two-tone color scheme, separate the '99 Millenia from past models.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 1999 Mazda Millenia.

Overall Consumer Rating

Most helpful consumer reviews

99' Mazda Millinia
mrm2u2004,02/25/2011
Can't say enough about reliability, I bought it new and it still drives with the performance as the day I drove it off the lot. I have 180K miles and still going. Never let me down on the highway. over 12yrs the only things that I have had to replace was an alternator after 70K miles, radiator after 130Kmiles, timing belt after 150kmiles, all other maintenance was routine done by myself such as brakes and oil changes. Great buy only regret is seating is low and now highway noise...but after 12 yrs who can complain!
1999 Mazda Millenia S
Supercharger,09/02/2008
I bought this car new and have generally enjoyed it for 9 years. Contrary to what the handbook and one of the reviewers say, the supercharged engine runs fine on 87 octane; in fact it got worse mileage on 91 octane. My car currently has 84000 miles on it, and I just drove it in late summer (90+ degrees heat) to the Outer Banks. It ran fine and provided excellent air conditioning the whole way. I followed Mazda's suggestion to replace the timing belt at 65000 miles and also had the water pump replaced (leaking). Oxygen sensors went out and a vacuum line popped off at 45000 and 50000 miles, respectively. Catalytic converter failed at 75000 miles (too early), for which Mazda picked up expense.
Still happy!
Diane,05/07/2009
I purchased my Mazda Millenia new in 1999. It has been reliable and is still fun to drive! My previous car was a Mazda 626, had that for 9 years (106,00 miles)and because of how well it held up, I knew I would want another Mazda. The Millenia's style still turns heads. Nobody can believe I've had it 10 years. Gas mileage is around 20-24mpg. For the past several years, my husband will ask me if I'm ready to trade her in, but I have said no. I still enjoy my Mazda!
unique
MLong,12/13/2009
while I've only owned my milly for a month, I have always admired them for their very unique look. I'm a Mazda "fanboi" anyways and have owned several over the course of my life. the first thing I noticed about this car is that it would be exceptionally easy for me to work on myself as its engine is very similar to the MX-6 powerplant, which Ive owned 2 of and still own one today. the 2.5l engine is not expensive to maintain, but the 2.3l S engine certainly is. you will read several sites saying to watch for trans failures, that is mostly centered around the S model, not the non-S model. I'm planning on keeping this car for some time as I absolutely love it.
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Features & Specs

MPG
17 city / 24 hwy
Seats 0
4-speed automatic
Gas
170 hp @ 5800 rpm
MPG
17 city / 25 hwy
Seats 0
4-speed automatic
Gas
210 hp @ 5300 rpm
See all Used 1999 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 1999 Mazda Millenia
More About This Model

"That two-tone paint makes it look like a mafia car."

"Those rims are phat and dope."

"If Mazda thinks it's competing with Mercedes or Lexus, it's way wrong."

"Hey, my mother loves this car."

Yes, the comments ran the gamut. Who knew that such a simple sedan, with looks hard to ID in a lineup, could evoke such unprovoked comments? No other cars or trucks immediately spring to mind that have both the kids calling it "phat and dope" and mom giving her seal of approval. Meet the Mazda Millenia S, a quiet participant in the luxury competition. The first question everyone on the street asked was about its price. When egged on, they guessed everything from "high teens" and "I wouldn't pay over $30,000" to "When totally tricked out it shouldn't be more than $24,000." No one was as interested in hearing about the unique Miller Cycle engine or the ride quality -- their only goal was to discover the Holy Grail of Millenia pricing.

Why the all-over-the-map guessing? It didn't take long for us to learn that it might be because the Millenia, too, was all over the place. On the one hand, the exterior's appearance was quite upscale. The two-tone paint added a touch of class, as did the Lincoln-esque grille and low-profile tires wrapped around chrome alloy wheels. Pop the trunk and there was enough space for an entire drum set. But at the other extreme was a center console that seemed awfully plasticky for a fancy machine. The door handles felt cheap, as did the vinyl surfaces and small fittings for the door latches and light fixtures. The power fuel-door and trunk-release buttons being integrated into the driver's-side door speaker looked a lot like an afterthought.

At this point, we weren't certain what we'd pay either. For every refined feature, there was a niggardly one right next to it. (Dear Reader: We interrupt our regularly scheduled road test for this important message. The word "niggardly" is an adjective derivative of the noun "niggard," which Webster's dictionary defines as "a miserly person: cheapskate." In other words, Mazda was niggardly with regard to certain elements of the Millenia's interior fittings. This word is not associated with the similar-sounding racial slur. We now return you to our Millenia road test.) We figured it had to be the mechanicals that would set it apart. In other words, do what Mazda says: Get in, be moved. You might be wondering why the base Millenia comes standard with a 2.5-liter, 24-valve DOHC V6 but the "better" Millenia has a 2.3-liter, 24-valve DOHC V6. That's because the S features a Miller Cycle engine, which Mazda says makes the power of a 3.3-liter but gets the fuel economy of a small engine -- even better than that normally aspirated 2.5-liter. A low compression ratio (reduced heat and no knock) and a high expansion ratio are at the heart of this type of power output, as is a belt-driven Lysholm compressor, which differs from a supercharger because it compresses intake air within the housing before it enters the intake manifold. There are also dual air coolers (like intercoolers) for the intake mixture, contributing to the high power output and torque. This technology is borrowed from industrial and marine applications, in case you're ever on "Jeopardy!."

The Miller Cycle engine is really smooth -- rather than eliciting whiplash when you punch the pedal to the metal, it builds to speed. In a word, refined. This isn't to say that the Millenia is slow, but you may require more instant gratification. We noticed that there's a lot of driveline lash when shifting, and the four-speed automatic transmission with overdrive had to catch up to the engine speed. In fact, when the tranny upshifted, especially under hard acceleration from second into third, it felt as though it lost control of the rpm -- at one point it arced up to 4,000 rpm and then went back down again. The Millenia high-tails it from zero to 60 in 7.8 seconds, but that number isn't so impressive, despite the special engine. Two of its competitors are the Acura TL, which does this same job in 7.7 seconds (and for 2000 it has been freshened in order to be even quicker), and the Chrysler 300M, which does it in 7.8 as well. Plus, both of those cars are cheaper. Did we mention that it sucked out loud to discover that what was eliminated through its dual exhaust was premium-unleaded gas? That smarted big time, since it cost $1.63 a gallon to fill its 18-gallon tank.

The Millenia wants so badly to handle well. The low-profile tires give it a sporty look and feel, but the same rubber contributes to a harsh ride and the clunk, clunk, clunk noise that invaded the cab. The body rides on an independent front suspension with an anti-roll bar and coil springs and an independent, multi-link rear with coils, but it's tuned far too softly and tosses the occupants from side to side on twisty roads while exhibiting a bit of jounce. And can we talk steering? The power rack-and-pinion system with engine speed-sensing assist is jerky and touchy, and required a ton of correction. To keep it going straight down the freeway, our hands had to clutch the 10 and 2 positions on the wheel, with our biceps at full flex.

OK, so maybe the mechanicals aren't the selling points for the Millenia after all. Maybe it's the luxury features. Well, the heating and air-conditioning controls seemed a bit more complicated than need be. Actually, they weren't complicated; they just weren't intuitive. There's a round dial that controls the temperature, but then there's another control for the A/C that's menu-driven. The fan is also menu-driven, so we spent a lot of time with our eyes away from the road. In fact, on sunny days, we couldn't even browse the display because it wasn't bright enough. The analog gauges are easy to read, and we were digging the white numerals on black, but again, there was an odd coupling of analog displays and digital displays. The dash controls were accented by either a chrome bezel, a gray plastic bezel, or fake wood, and the lack of consistency gave an economical feel to the layout.

A sunroof is standard, as are steering wheel-located cruise control (the buttons don't illuminate at night), a cool telescoping steering wheel, remote keyless entry, power windows with driver-side express down, a driver foot rest (a.k.a. dead pedal), and dual front-seat cupholders (although the one deploying from the center console screamed second rate). In-door storage compartments were handy and deep enough for a Thomas Guide, and we thought it was really neat that the rear-passenger doors also had the compartments, until we realized that they didn't, but that the door armrests were simply coming apart. There's seating for five, but you'd want to stick with four max, unless they are small adults. With an average-sized driver (5'7") behind the wheel, legroom is tight, and there's no underseat room for toes. Also adding to the disagreeable surroundings were too-high doorsills for elbow resting and side bolsters in the seat that forced the shoulders inward (adding more strain while trying to steer straight). While the doors swing out wide, exiting requires a running start.

Probably the "Best Of" award should go to the Millenia's brakes. They felt good to the loafers, and we let 'em do their business on a steep decline traveling at about 50 mph. No squawking, no noise -- just a pure-and-simple standstill from the power-assisted four-wheel disc brakes with ABS. But, having said that, 30 grand is a lot of money to spend on good brakes. Even if your loyalty is with Mazda, you may have a difficult time justifying the price and identifying the luxury. Remember, "dope" isn't always a good thing.

Used 1999 Mazda Millenia Overview

The Used 1999 Mazda Millenia is offered in the following submodels: Millenia Sedan. Available styles include 4dr Sedan, and S 4dr Sedan.

What's a good price on a Used 1999 Mazda Millenia?

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Find a used Mazda Millenia for sale - 1 great deals out of 24 listings starting at $12,059.

Find a used Mazda for sale - 9 great deals out of 20 listings starting at $8,329.

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Should I lease or buy a 1999 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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