The Sunday News
MANY people get caught in between buying a family van and buying a truck. The family will be calling for a van that can carry everyone but the business mind will be calling for a truck that can also make money. When Mazda decided to design the Mazda MPV (multi-purpose vehicle), they had those people in mind. Of course it cannot carry as much as a truck would but it sure can carry a lot of things.
The Mazda MPV that came out in 2008 is nothing less than a story of beauty and the beast. It’s still a mini-van with the heart of a sports car. It does its job carrying around the whole family quite well but for dads like me, it still shows up when you need it to come out and play.
It’s still a seven-seater mini sports wagon. Keyless entry comes standard with fully automatic sliding doors at the back. Middle row seats accommodates two people just like the predecessor while the back one can possibly sit three smaller people. The last row of seats folds down if more boot space is needed.
The dash is more modern and has been revised in a great way. The gear lever has been moved from the column to the bottom of the entertainment screen. You also get buttons on the steering wheel to control the radio. Unlike the older model MPV, this model comes with cup holders in the middle of the front seats. The older model did have cup holder that you could pull out but the empty space in between the seats was a bit of a bore.
The Mazda MPV has always been more of a sports car than it is a mini van . . . wait, that sounds weird, let me rephrase. The Mazda MPV has always been a minivan with the heart and mind of a sports car. Deep down, the designers had the idea of a mini-van but came up with a sports van instead. It’s like they knew that there are people like me who like to work hard and play hard. I say sports van because this car has the same engine as the top of the line Mazda Atenza sport MPS.
When I say MPS, you should get the idea that I’m talking of Mazda Performance Series and the engine in the MPS is nothing short of the 2,3l DISI turbo engine — it stands for Direct Injection Spark Ignition engine, you see where I’m getting at? This isn’t a mini-van, it’s a sports van. It churns out an easy 260hp and you find the same engine in the Mazda Axela Sport and the Atenza sport but only the MPS models.
Before we get too happy, this special turbo 2,3l engine is only in select special models and the rest come with a naturally aspirated 2,3l 4-cylinder motor with some 160 plus horses. It sounds subtle but it also comes out to play when the need arises. The Mazda MPV does not have a V6 engine option like its predecessor but do not belittle that 4-cylinder engine . . . its like a raging wild fire!
This particular Mazda MPV isn’t so much like a Mazda when you look at it, it looks like something else. It is pretty and quite smooth, the whole finish is smooth and clean. You get a very large bumper upfront with a smiley face grill and some fog lights housed in shiny chrome trim. The upper grill has a chrome trim as well that gives it some sense of exoticness.
As I mentioned entry level Mazda MPVs have the 2,3l L3 VE engine as standard. VE engines come with variable Valve timing unlike the earlier model L3 DE engines that did not have variable valve timing. The higher spec has the 2,3l L3 VDT which is a turbocharged version of the L3 but it’s got Direct Injection as well while the L3VE has indirect injection.
The engine transfers all its power through the Mazdas Active-matic electronically controlled 5-speed transmission. This is standard across all models except for the four-wheel drive model and the Direct Injection Spark Ignition turbo Engine model, these come with the Active-matic 6-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission. Unfortunately there aren’t any manual options coming out of Japan.
So the new Mazda MPV is definitely a minivan to watch out for as it comes oozing with all that Japanese greatness. I know for sure that Mazda makes their cars soft to the touch and they can whine when they want to but this car right here is slowly earning my respect, it’s definitely something to look out for in the minivan segment.
Till next time, Happy Motoring!
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