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Mazda MPV

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  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,727
    A lot of Ody owners might dispute that! ;-)

    Also, I disagree that the Sienna is bland. I think it's the best-looking minivan yet, better than the overwrought new Quest, crisper than the DC vans, sleeker than the MPV and Ody. But I think the MPV is hands-down the best short-wheelbase van out there, and it fills a niche that Toyota and Honda don't seem to want to address.
  • tccmn1tccmn1 Posts: 278
    I had researched mini's for a year prior to purchasing an 03 MPV. I liked the styling, features and the smallness of the van. I don't like the minivan stigma of driving one...but need it for business and kids needs. It has a sporty feel I like too. I also like the towing ability of a shorter van...which DC has appeared to ignore...their short vans do NOT come with a towing package any more. I like the shorter versions rather than the Grand boxes.
  • h109h109 Posts: 36
    for the info. if at all I have to buy a mini-van, we'd would prefer only the MPV. And, Windstar is big no-no. I'll go and test drive the MPV one of these days.
  • We've finally (ok, it's only been 6 months!)decided to go with a 03 MPV ES with the 4 season package, but I'm wondering if we should also get the auto doors or other options. I don't "think" I would miss auto doors or any of the other options out there. Are there options that anyone considered, but did'nt get, but are now wishing they had? Any input would be appreicated.
  • tccmn1tccmn1 Posts: 278
    Thanks for the link. I took it and found I'm right in the pack of people who feel the same way about them (mini's) Can't live without them can't live with them...but must. I looked at all the mid sized SUV's and found the macho image but lack of TRUE cargo space a loss...plus the rear entry is too high to lift stuff into on the SUV's. Even the cute Tribute has a high rear end. The glitzy Toyota HL has a small rear hatch...much less than my old 95 DC shorty!
    So I succumbed to be a mini-man for another 7 years or so...it's ok;-)
  • meinradmeinrad Posts: 820
    My wife are in that quandry right now. Guess we're shallow but just don't really want to drive a mini-van. But right now the MPV is at the top of our shopping list.

    An SUV that will get us 3 rows of seats and the same cargo room are just too expensive.

    While I mostly just need some decent cargo room, I just have a hard time giving up the 3rd set of seats for when the whole family wants to go somewhere. I'm tired of taking 2 cars. So even a large sedan doesn't seem to make much sense.

    So as much as we're trying to avoid a van, we keep coming right back to it when we look at price, performance, storage, seating, the whole deal.

    At least the MPV is kind of the anti-minivan, minivan and for the price it's hard to beat.
  • h109h109 Posts: 36
    I am not yet a minivan owner, but thinking of becoming one. I am neither a "ballet-class dad" nor my wife a "soccer-mom". Ours is a 30 year old single-icome family with no children. But why do we want a minivan? Well, for one, we both have bad backs and would prefer a higher seating position (I mean straight up) and easy entry & exit. I have tested a couple of SUVs and few offer seating like that. But the catch is the entry and exit. And, ofcourse there's the Cost thing. The only "SUV" coming close to our requirements is the CR-V. But then again, as tccm1 says, lifting something on to the high rear hatch is a pain.

    But a shorty mini-van offers a little of all we want, except the "image". And a used one (the only way I can afford one) cost much less than a used SUV. And, as we love travelling, a mini with rear two seats out would give us plenty of room to stretch out, once in a while. Please correct me if I am wrong here with the flatness of the area and the length.

    Now to find a mini I can afford...That's totally another ball game :-)
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 40,796
    My wife and I got our first minivan in 1989 in our 30's. Replaced it with another in our 40's. No kids but we like the big empty in the back for hauling skiing, camping and canoeing gear. Great for road trips, and the short wheel base ones ares ok for commuting and parking with decent mpg.

    We did a 6 month road trip in our SWB Voyager and a 10 month road trip in our Quest but never slept in either one (too much junk to take out every night if we did that). But at 5'10" I could have done that, and it's certainly flat enough. Six footers may find it cramped.

    Steve, Host

    Moderator
    Need help navigating? stever@edmunds.com - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

  • bsvollerbsvoller Posts: 528
    Jeez, come on people, get over it. Who cares about "stigma" ? Who decides about "stigma", anyway ?

    As a rule, I don't let Madison Avenue do my thinking for me. They're not your friends, and they aren't looking out for your interest.

    A fool and his money are soon parted.

    Buy what you like. Buy what fits your needs. But don't buy what your neighbor thinks you need to be cool.

    'nuff said.
  • I am currently in the market for a new minivan. I currently own a Dodge Caravan which has been giving me a lot of mechanical trouble since the car was 5 years old. I have 3 kids , two of whom are teens and a 10 year old. We go camping a lot and need much cargo room and seating for 3 on one seat. Does the Mazda MPV hold 3 people comfortably or do they feel squeezed? Did anyone ever measure the 3rd row seat lengthwise to know exactly how long it is? My DC is 46 1/2" long. What is the Mazda's 3rd row length? I test drove an MPV and thought it had great visibility and had good handling. So I am impressed with it.
  • dwsmhadwsmha Posts: 35
    Devbat,

    While I am still waiting for my MPV to arrive, so cannot be considered an "expert" on MPVs, my first guess is that 3 kids would not do well with an MPV, since it is a smaller-type minivan, if you plan to haul cargo and camping gear. We have one kid (age 4) and plan for a second someday, but no more. That leaves us to use the 3rd row seat however we want. My $0.02.

    tccmn1, what was the manufacturing date of your MPV? Mine was 1/17/03, even though I ordered on 12/9/02. The story I was given was that they didn't manufacture mine right away because they thought they would tweak one already at the port. Then I guess when they found out they didn't have a close match (DVD on an LX), they ordered it from the factory. Someone earlier posted that such orders go through on the 15th of every month, so I guess they didn't check the port inventory in time to order it for the December deadline. ETA is around the end of February.

    Wouldn't it be cool if ours were on the same boat? Probably not. :(

    David
  • big_guybig_guy Posts: 372
    During a recent weekend jaunt to vegas, I loaded up our MPV and took the 400 mile trip with my three kids, my wife, and myself. We had a TV/VCR combo unit installed between the driver and front passenger seats and my wife and kids rode in the back to enjoy the entertainment as I drove. My 2 year old was in a car seat in the middle row right behind me and my 5 year old daughter was in a booster seat in the other 2nd row seat. We slid the 2nd row seats apart and removed the head restraints from the 2nd row (my kids are small enough that they serve no purpose for them). My wife and 9 year old son sat in the 3rd row seats and had an unobstructed view of the TV screen. All of us had a very pleasnt trip. My wife commented more than once how nice it was to ride back there. We had a 2000 Dodge Caravan Sport before and there is more cargo room in the MPV than in the shorty Caravan we had before.

    In order to carry a lot of camping gear I would suggest getting the roof rack and a roof mounted cargo box to maximize cargo room.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,727
    I have a '99 GCS now and although I really like the MPV, my main concern is cargo space. I have three kids too, including one big 14 year old and a near-teen. We do a lot of camping also--all the kids are in Scouts. One option I sometimes use on the GCS which I don't think is available on the MPV is to remove the middle captains chairs and slide the rear seat forward. Then I have room for everyone plus lots of cargo room. I need the most room when I haul bikes--sometimes four in the back, with the captain's chairs in there and the back seat removed. I'm not sure I could do that with the MPV, but I like the MPV enough that I figured I could get a trailer-hitch-mounted bike rack for it and take care of it that way. There's also van-top carriers for extra camping gear if I would need it. So I think there's ways to make it work, if you really like the MPV but need a lot of cargo space sometimes.
  • tccmn1tccmn1 Posts: 278
    Hey there. Good to hear your's will be in soon too. Although YOU didn't have the wait I did.
    I really don't know the mfg.date on it. They just told me the ETA is 2/11. Yeah, I was told the story of the 15th of the month syndrome with Mazda. I ordered on 10/21 and just missed it so it added another month to the wait.
    Maybe they WILL come in together..that would be a funny.

    Anyone here have concern about the sulfur smell problem with gas and the MPV? The other thread is loaded with chat about this dubious honor that seems to have hit MPV, Tributes, and some late model Camry's too. Something like the old catalytic converter issues of years ago....
  • maltbmaltb Posts: 3,572
    We have four kids (oldest is 8) and never seem to have a problem on road trips or camping excursions. I have a hitch but have yet to buy that bike carrier. For desert riding trips we just hook the trailer up and we are good to go.
  • maltbmaltb Posts: 3,572
    I have never had it with any of my MPVs. Maybe the high priced reformulated California gas prevents this, but who knows.
  • tccmn1tccmn1 Posts: 278
    That is good info. on the cargo space of the MPV and others. I know you can "easily" remove the second row of captain chairs, but the rear flipper seat is pretty much where it is and stays.
    I know I could remove my second row captains in my DC Shorty Sport and put the rear bench in the middle too. Mini's DO offer good space and value when compared to SUV's...at least right now. Good to hear from others that the MPV has better cargo space than the DC Short Sport; which I have. I'm looking forward to it.
  • Just thought I'd drop a little post.

    7,000 miles on our 02 LX this week. ( delivery 10/2/02 )

    Flawless so far. Not one issue. Running Mobil 1 5W-30 now.

    MPG is around 21 with 60/40. VERY HAPPY!!!

    Mark.

    p.s. MUCH BETTER in the snow than we were expecting.
  • meinradmeinrad Posts: 820
    Thats a nice statement to hear. My wife is very concerned about her next car being good in the snow. We don't get that much, but she has hated driving our P5 with the stock tires when it does snow. Even though they are all season, they are not very good. I'll have dedicated snows next year probably, since I don't want to give up dry handling.

    But anyway, I would expect the MPV to be pretty good depending on the tires.

    BTW, what are the stock tires on the 2003 LX if anyone knows?
  • maltbmaltb Posts: 3,572
    My 6 did better in the snow than our MPV. I made a hill and the wife didn't. I had to go back down, put on cable chains and drive it up for her. That was after my attempt to drive it up the same hill my 6 made without a problem.
  • My wife and I have twin infant boys so we are looking to upgrade from our Accord to a Minivan. We are looking at the Honda Odyssey and the MPV. Right now we can get a used 2002 MPV LX with 10k miles for under 19,000 but....

    It only has rear A/C and no other add-ons. We were wondering how important people feel the traction control is? It's standard on the Odyssey LX (our other option) and an add-on for the MPV LX. We live in Denver and can see heading up the mountains for some skiing once the boys get a bit older. Plus, Denver doesn't believe in plowing since the snow melts within 2 days. My wife is worried about getting a car without traction control since we have heard minivans don't handle great in the snow. (Relative to other cars)

    When you get done with all the option add-ons like the all weather package, the rear A/C, the traction control, the price difference between the two cars narrows. Honda's done much better about getting the Ody's to you quickly and there seem to be more available. We love both the Ody and the MPV and see reasons for both. Right now, the used MPV looks like a great deal, except for the traction control. Otherwise, a new Ody or MPV (LX version of each) seem like a toss - up. Any thoughts on the traction control and the choices?
  • scott31scott31 Posts: 280
    On the MPV, Tract control and side airbags are a package.

    If you live in Denver, this is a no brainer. Get the traction control. There are two types of traction control, good and crappy. The MPV has the good type (it also retards the engine to prevent wheel slip). Crappy systems only use the brakes to control the slipping wheel(s) and basically with that system the engine and the brakes battle it out with you in the middle.

    For GOD sakes, GET THE TRACTION CONTROL

    Just my $0.02 :-)
  • bsvollerbsvoller Posts: 528
    I also live in Denver. Traction control might be a bit oversold, here's why.

    God's sake notwithstanding, how does your Accord handle in the snow ? If you're basically pleased with the front-wheel drive of the Accord, then you'll probably find the MPV not too different. Your Accord weighs nearly as much, and has a similar wheel base and track width. The amount of weight over the drive wheels is also pretty close. I would not expect a huge difference in handling under slippery conditions, all else being equal.

    Traction control is not AWD. It only works at very slow speeds (<15 mph I believe), like when you're just pulling away from a light. Going up a slick hill, slowly, as in the final mile to your destination in the mountains, sure. Going up I-70 at 30-40 mph in the slick, no.

    An investment in high-grade tires, perhaps a second set of dedicated winter tires for those snowy trips into the hills when the time comes, will have a far larger impact on your driving safety in winter than traction control ever will. Note that numerous independent tests have even shown that front-wheel drive cars equipped with dedicated snow tires outperform AWD cars equipped with all-seasons. Tires are a critical, and often overlooked part of the equation.

    The savings you see buying used will easily pay for a second set of tires, and rims to mount them on (so that you can easily switch without mounting and unmounting the tires to the rims).

    That said, would I personally get traction control on my MPV if money were no object ? Yes. Is it a deal killer ? That depends.

    A lot of considerations flow into the decision to buy a vehicle. Both the Ody and MPV are great vans, each with their strengths and weaknesses. I would do exactly what you've apparently been doing: think hard about how you think you will use the van, how long you will have it, what features you value most, and then buy the van that fits you best. There a lot of other extras on your list of "desirables" that the used unit doesn't have.

    I personally would not buy an Ody because it is simply too big. I don't like the ride or the handling as much. The MPV is "tossable", the Ody is a bus, but that's what it's supposed to be. It just depends on your needs.

    Hope this helps,

    -brianV
  • bsvollerbsvoller Posts: 528
    I just compared the spec's of several Accord model years with the '02 MPV. It seems the Accord is lighter than I thought (~500#), and has a shorter wheelbase than the MPV as well, although the overall length and width is nearly the same.

    The longer wheelbase on the MPV will act to reduce the load on the front wheels (reducing traction), but increase the resistance to spinning out (swapping ends if the tail comes out in a turn). Since the Accord is lighter overall (reducing its traction too), it's hard to say without comparing actual axle weight ratings (available on the door tire sticker if you're so inclined).

    Take a test drive into the mountains with a traction control equipped MPV, find a slippery stretch of road, and try it out. You can turn the traction control on and off (dashboard switch) to compare.

    Everything else I said about traction control above still applies.

    Hope this helps,

    -brianV
  • rutger3rutger3 Posts: 361
    My two cents on this issue. Both vans are very nice. The MPV handles better due to smaller size and IMO looks better. You can also get a better deal on the MPV than the ODy which is still in high demand. The major difference is resale value. The ODy will retain much more of it. ALso if you need the size for say carrying 4x8' sheets of wood then the ODy is the one. If you hate dealers with an attitude then the MPV is the one to get. Of course with the price of gas going up maybe any van purchase needs to be reconsidered now. As far as traction control,I live in New Jersey get about 25" of snow a year and have never needed anything other than fwd. If it is a low cost option then it is worth it,if not then unless you do alot of driving in snow, forget it and invest in good tires instead.
  • Thanks to everyone for replying. BrianV your input was especially appreciated. I did not know that TC was only for low speeds. I had decided to go ahead and invest in four other rims and some winter tires and swap 'em myself round Octoberish when we get our first snows. You convinced me.

    We went out this morning and bought the 02 MPV. It's a really good deal over a new Ody or MPV though it is modestly equipped --but it suits our needs to a T. We test drove the Ody last night and the MPV this morning (2nd test for us on the MPV) and my wife agrees with you. The Ody is a bus. Tons of room for long drives and relatives who are large-ish, but the MPV handles very nicely and nimbly. Much more like a car. We love it and think we will be very happy.

    One last question. The '02 came with 15" wheels standard and the 16" were upgrades. The '03s have the 16" standard and allow you to upgrade to 17". How important is tire size and why do people swap up? Is safety an issue? The one we got has the 15" wheels and we will likely keep 'em unless someone makes a compelling agrument I have so far missed.

    Thanks again for all your help!
  • bsvollerbsvoller Posts: 528
    Glad to help.

    As to tire size, no it's not a safety issue, it's a handling issue. I suppose you could make a case for the handling prowess being a safety issue, but only if you drive near the limits regularly.

    The overall diameter of the tire (rim + sidewall height) is normally kept the same on any vehicle (the MPV is an exception, more on that in a moment). Changing from 15" rims to 16" rims therefore implies reducing the sidewall height, which is called "profile" by the industry. Low-profile tires (on bigger rims) have shorter, stiffer sidewalls, which improves handling, but makes for a stiffer ride. The stiff sidewalls absorb less of the shock when you roll over a bump.

    Low-profile tires are usually wider, which contributes to better handling as well. The wider tires look sportier too.

    Wider tires offer more traction on dry roads, but potentially less traction on wet roads (hydroplaning risk - tread design and depth will have a decisive impact) or on snowy roads (float). Many folks with low-profile summer tires go with a downsized rim (15" instead of 16") with a narrower tire for their dedicated winter tires. The narrow tires tend to sink down through deep snow and grip better.

    The MPV ES is unusual in that it uses the same profile spec on the 17" rims as it does on the 16" rims. This means that the speedometer has to have 2 program settings to accomodate the difference in tire circumference. If you price tires for 17" rims, you will discover that tires in those sizes are harder to find (less choice) and significantly more expensive.

    You might consider keeping the 15's for your winter tires and buying a set of 16's for your 3-season tires when you're ready to switch. Then you'd have the best of both worlds.

    -brianV
  • bottgersbottgers Posts: 2,027
    .........the $1500 cash back on new MPV's? I was told the incentives go on a month by month basis.
  • scott31scott31 Posts: 280
    I can't speak for the MPV (I haven't researched it yet) but not ALL traction control systems are low speed only.

    My 1995 Legend LS Coupe had all speed traction control, my 1999 STS had all speed, and if I remember correctly, my 03 TL-S has all speed.
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