Used 2001 Mazda Millenia Review

Edmunds expert review

Not really a luxury car, and not really a sports sedan, Millenia is past its expiration date.

What's new for 2001

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.

Vehicle overview

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.

Edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.