The ride of the MPV is wonderful. Very car-like. Unfortunately, if someone with legs is sitting behind the driver (if it's me), there's not enough room for both of us. The lack of room is my biggest gripe. We also have no Mazda dealer in our town of 46,000, so we have to drive it 45 minutes away every time the check engine light comes on, which is a lot. Then I have to drive it back down for the repair. It's a hassle. And for such a short van, the gas mileage is terrible, between 19-21 mpg. On the positive side, if nobody is sitting behind me and I'm not worried about mileage, it's a very nice car to drive.
I've got a sunroof, which is unnecessary, and power doors, which is unnecessary. I like the roof rack and the smooth, car-like ride, and the feeling of stability.
The MPV simply needs to be longer, and with greatly improved gas mileage. At the same price as I paid, it would then be a close to perfect van. A dealership in my town would help too.
Overall the MPV is good quality but a very hard ride. Having struts instead of shocks makes a big difference in the ride. I get only 21mpg on the road and about 17 in town. The short wheel base also contributes to the harder ride. On a 10 scale I would give the MPV a 7
Windows in the sliding doors that come down.
Softer ride. Lock on the lift gate that can be unlocked with remote key and from the inside with a release button or switch.
We bought our 2004 ES new and got a great deal with rebates & discounts. I thought I really wanted an Odyssey because I've always had Hondas, but after driving this one I was sold! Much nicer layout on inside, had more room up front for my 6 foot 2 husband and that really sold him (he did not want a minivan at all, but after he drove it he changed his mind). It is just a beautiful van and drives like a dream! We have 3 kids and there's plenty of room for everyone even with the baby seat (love the latch system for the infant seat). The MPV was a much better buy than the Odyssey and looks so much better. I also like that it is a bit smaller and I'm not driving a big box!
Power sliding doors come in handy when your arms are full of groceries or kids, 6-disc cd changer, rear air for back passengers, roll-down passenger windows.
The only thing I don't like is the quality of the leather, which they changed for the 2004 model year (doesn't seem as high quality as in previous models).