Used 2001 Mazda MPV Review

Edmunds expert review

An underpowered engine and tight maximum cargo space are all that's keeping the MPV from challenging the Honda Odyssey head-to-head for "best minivan" honors.

What's new for 2001

Not much changes on Mazda's minivan. Keyless entry is standard on MPV LX, and the AM/FM/CD/cassette audio system is standard on LX and ES models. Child safety-seat anchors have been added to all MPV models, as have new exterior color choices. The 2.5-liter V6 engine now complies with NLEV emissions standards.

Vehicle overview

Now in its second model year, Mazda's MPV doesn't receive as much consumer attention as some of the other hotshot minivans like the Honda Odyssey or Ford Windstar. It does have its own particular advantages, however, and these advantages just might suit you.

The MPV looks tight and muscular, courtesy of a relatively short front overhang, slanted D-pillars, sculpted fender flares and crisp body panel lines. It's smaller in stature than most other minivans, with a 111.8-inch wheelbase and a 187-inch overall length. This makes it more maneuverable, but maximum cargo volume is 127 cubic feet, about 20 less than the Odyssey.

Mazda equips the interior 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 right-side second-row captain's chair can be released by a handle, allowing it to be slid along tracks to meet up with the other seat. Both second-row seats are removable. The third-row seat folds flat easily.

For power, the MPV relies on a 2.5-liter, DOHC, 24-valve V6 engine that bears much in common with the Ford Duratec V6 of the same size. With 170 horsepower 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.

Handling is above-average thanks to 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.

Trim levels start with the base DX model that includes 15-inch wheels, dual sliding doors with roll-down windows, 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, keyless remote and privacy glass. The top-of-the-line ES models get 16-inch alloy wheels, leather-trimmed upholstery, rear air conditioning and side airbags.

Options like a power sunroof, six-disc in-dash CD changer, exterior body cladding, a nine-speaker audio system and a winter weather package 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.

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.