I bought my Mazda Mpv Sport 5 years ago and since has been a very dependable vehicle. The car is quite heavy, weighing about 3,500 lbs, however I have never been able to get the car stuck. The powertrain is pretty much bullet proof, with two solid axles connected by two drivelines. The power is dispersed at the rear of the transmission and the transfer case is gear meshed. With a 3.0 L 6 cylinder engine the van does reasonably well on fuel and plenty of power when needed. I used my van once for towing, and easily dragged a truck up an icy slope with its brakes locked.
My only complaint is how packed the mechanical components are. Few repairs are a quick and easy fix, I personally work on it myself, but would recommend taking it to a shop if you don't have a lot of experience working on cars.
I like how fast and easy the third row seat is to remove or fold down. This makes a big difference in space and I have used the van for hauling all kinds of things, from treadmills to couches.
For 97 technology the van had it all, from the 6 disc cd changer to the electronic controls, but don't forget to grease the door locks and handles (I use white lithium grease).
Overall I have been happy with the performance and comfort of my Minivan and would recommend this car to anyone looking for a good vehicle to drive through icy conditions. I live in Alaska and this is one of the best vehicles I have ever driven on the road. My wife loves it and I trust she will be getting to work safe and on time.