Used 1997 Mazda MPV

1997 Mazda MPV
List price range

Pros

  • 4-door design, 7-passenger wagon, available four-wheel drive

Cons

  • Overweight, underpowered, overpriced, SUV-wannabe styling

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Edmunds' Expert Review

vehicle overview

Mazda's MPV lineup, streamlined to three models last year, has been revised again. Two trim levels remain: well-equipped LX, and luxury ES. Last year's value-leader DX trim level has been dropped. Upper-level minivans can have shift-on-the-fly four-wheel-drive. Four-wheel disc antilock brakes are standard on all models. The ES edition contains such pleasantries as leather seating surfaces, and automatic load leveling.

Like Honda's Odyssey, the longer-lived Mazda minivan does without a sliding entry door, matching the Odyssey by providing rear doors on both sides. Mazda promises sedan-like comfort and ride qualities for up to eight passengers in the MPV. Front MacPherson struts and front/rear stabilizer bars help keep the minivan comfortable and on-course. Bucket seats hold the front occupants, while three each can fit on the middle and back seat. Optional on LX and standard on ES models are quad captain's chairs. Center-section leg room is less than great, but most riders aren't likely to complain. When fewer passengers are aboard, cargo space can reach 110 cubic feet.

Acceleration with the 155-horsepower, 18-valve, 3.0-liter V6 engine is sufficient. Four-wheel drive cuts into potential performance, because of its sizable extra weight. Gas mileage also dips considerably with 4WD vans. A four-speed automatic, with electronic controls, is the sole transmission choice. With 4WD, a dashboard switch can lock the center differential, for peak low-speed traction.

Inside and out--especially up front--MPVs offer a distinctive appearance, not quite like most minivans. Styling was revised for 1996, and the MPV now sports a protruding, ungainly countenance in an effort to make it look more like a sport utility. For 1997, all MPV models except the 2WD LX are dressed in All-Sport trim, which consists of a grille guard, fender flares, rear bumper guard, stone guard, roof rack, special graphics, and alloy wheels. A contemporary instrument panel contains dual airbags. Visibility is terrific from the airy cabin.

The 1997 MPV is the equivalent of an Arch Deluxe that's been sitting under the heating lamp too long. There's more to it, but it's old, loaded with fat, and costs more than many competitors. We liked the old MPV plenty for its crisp, clean looks and fun rear-wheel drive personality. This heavier, bulbous, SUV-wannabe model leaves us cold. And with base stickers approaching $23,500 with destination charges, we can't recommend the MPV over most other minivans on the market.

Top consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 1997 Mazda MPV.

1997 Mazda MPV 4WD
SnowMPV, 2/20/2006
I have had a Toyota Land Cruiser, and compared to that it is agile and very fuel efficient. I used to get 8 MPG in city and 13 Mpg in highway with the Land Cruiser. The 4X4 MPV gets 14 MPG in city and 21 Highway. I have climbed off road areas that my brother with a 4WD Suburban could not keep up. Thanks to MPV's differential lock. This SUV/MINIVAN was never tasted good to car magazines' subjective taste without objective reasons. It is an outstanding low priced 4 wheel drive van with 4 doors.
A very reliable vehicle
grapemanca, 6/17/2009
We've owned our '97 MPV since it was new. It's been a very reliable vehicle, and we've had no major tranny, engine or front-end repairs in almost 12 years (but we do follow the service manual). It can hold a lot of stuff, and makes for an excellent passenger and moving van. The only negatives are its weight, which leads to mediocre fuel economy and premature tire wear. Strange lean to the right as well, which I've noticed on other MPV's. A very solid machine that's taken a fair bit of abuse and kept on driving smoothly.
Solid Van
MPV Driver, 1/3/2003
We have had no significant problems with our MPV over the years. Heard of transmission problems in other vehicles but none in ours yet. Nuisance check engine light goes on and off occasionally, but mechanic has found no problems. Speedo error can be caused by different size tires, stock tires can be very difficult to find and if you can find them you won't want to pay for them. I am encouraged by the number of older style MPVs (3 doors) still running the road that make ours look new. Although the van has been very reliable, I would not give 5 cents for the maintenance department of the dealer where we bought.
The original SUV crossover!!
SBlack, 10/16/2015
I LOVE my MPV. I wish they still made them like this (and not like the minivan they changed into in 1999 and on). I'd get a newer one if I could. I like that it's compact but can haul 8 people, it has 4WD, and it's high enough off the ground so you don't scrape. EVER. I like just about everything about this vehicle!! For hauling 8 people, it's pretty nice. With the middle row on the middle setting, you have adequate legroom. I sat in the rear seat and had enough leg room for a few hours of driving (I'm about 5'8"). The back row is exactly the same width as my Chevy Suburban's 3rd row. It handles great in the snow, but it does turn like a truck. My only cons are the gas mileage is a little low for a car this size (but not too far off the comparable vans of the day), not a lot of storage space in the trunk (also similar to vans in the lat 1990s and early 2000s), and the 3rd row is a bit tricky to access if you have car seats in the middle row and can't fold it forward. It's basically a 1990s crossover vehicle! We've got 145K on it and plan on going lots more!
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Features & Specs

MPG
15 city / 20 hwy
Seats 0
4-speed automatic
Gas
155 hp @ 5000 rpm
MPG
14 city / 17 hwy
Seats 0
4-speed automatic
Gas
155 hp @ 5000 rpm
MPG
15 city / 20 hwy
Seats 0
4-speed automatic
Gas
155 hp @ 5000 rpm
MPG
14 city / 17 hwy
Seats 0
4-speed automatic
Gas
155 hp @ 5000 rpm
See all Used 1997 Mazda MPV features & specs

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver4 / 5
    Passenger4 / 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
    Marginal

More about the 1997 Mazda MPV
Used 1997 Mazda MPV Overview

The Used 1997 Mazda MPV is offered in the following submodels: . Available styles include ES 4dr Minivan, ES 4dr Minivan 4WD, LX 4dr Minivan, and LX 4dr Minivan 4WD.

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