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Mazda MPV



  • I hate to say it, but I wouldn't buy either of them! I don't think you'd be happy with the overall fit/finish/quality of the Kia. We had a Hyundai which is comparable in quality and the thing looked like a piece of junk after a year of wear & tear. The body is like a tin can--one itsy bitsy knock from someone's door and there's a ding. I'm hearing the same about the Kia's, and they've got their other problems also with the interior plastic parts, seat belts, etc. Plus your resale value is going to be one of the worst of the minivans.

    The MPV's are having a major problem with the transmission, where it's shifting hard between 2nd-3rd gear. Although there was a fix done a few weeks ago to many of our vans, one person is having the problem start all over again. (He had his done before all of us did). So it may be a matter of time before our vans start doing it again.

    I don't know what to tell you except spend the extra money and get a Nissan Quest. That's about the only one I'm hearing has been fairly trouble-free these days.
  • daron1daron1 Posts: 18
    There's no denying the hard shift problem...just read all of these posts. But I got a loaded '04 LX in late Dec.(3,000 miles now) & I've been really happy. A very few & far between hard shifts & we'll be addressing that now w/ the fix in. My wife carpools alternately in the MPV & her co-worker's '02 Sedona. She finds the Sedona rock solid, very smooth, & her friend has had 0 problems, even w/ higher than avg. mileage. Just personal preferences, but we love the MPV's disappearing 3rd row, the working windows, & the sporty appearance. And,(see #7234 for more discounts) I got my MPV at invoice & loaded w/ the sports pkg., etc. the price isn't anywhere near 3-5 thousand more than the Kia. Good luck shopping.
  • I have seen this happen over and over again. First it was Honda people beaming about how great their vans are, then MPV owners said the same thing. Now that all of these owners have put some miles on their vans they are finding out that it was too soon to make a reliability call.

    I am not knocking the MPV, I just don't think that enough miles have been put on them or the Nissan Quest to say that it is going to be great after 1-2 years old.

    Every vehicle will have some problems. Good Luck
  • bob57bob57 Posts: 302
    Drive both in traffic and highway speed and make up your mind on that.
    My wife "steals" my '01 MPV when she gets a chance while leaving our Sienna in the garage. Her reply; That's fun driving.
    Of course, she comparing a much larger van to quick & nimble.
    (I don't think I want to know where she's taking it...)
    Good luck.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    Sounds like it's time to refresh the scores in What's the most reliable minivan on the market?.

    Steve, Host
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    The weekly Mazda chat starts in ~40 minutes. The link is on the left.

    Mazda The Latest Automaker To Offer Sirius

    "Sirius' satellite radio offerings are set to become available as a dealer-installed option in all new Mazda Tribute, MPV and Miata models starting this spring. Later this summer, Mazda RX-8 will be added to list of models equipped for Sirius; Mazda3 and Mazda6 sedan models will receive optional receivers capable of receiving Sirius with the 2005 models, set to become available this fall. Customers must purchase a separate Sirius tuner and antenna to receive the satellite signal."

    Radio & Records

    Steve, Host
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,907
    I realize this is a Mazda board, but IMO you should do a little research on a vehicle before blasting its quality. Personally I don't think the Sedona is a great van (no fold-away seat, too heavy for its size, lousy mpg) but one thing that is not true is that it has lousy fit/finish. That is one thing that reviewers from C/D to CR rave about, especially the quality of the interior. Also, it has a 5-speed tranny standard, and I don't recall seeing any problems about hard shifts on the Sedona. The quality of Kias and Hyundais may have been laughable a few years ago, but no more. Check out the Sedona, Sorento, Optima, or Amanti if you want to see how Kia has moved up in the world from the last time you looked at them.

    About the only real alternative to the MPV, if someone likes a small van, is the short-wheelbase DC vans, which can be had well-equipped for under $18k. But you won't get the fold-away rear seat or the MPV's standard ABS at that price.
  • You're quite right about the quality of the Kia Sedona. It was a hard choice between the MPV and Sedona. Basicly it came down to always leaving the backseat at home or having one that folded down into the floor. Add a few extra mpg and easier parking was probably the clincher. If Kia would go a diet and stow the backseat into the floor its market share would skyrocket.
  • vu2000vu2000 Posts: 58
    I don't know what every one is complaining about.I have a used 2002 MPV bought 11 months ago and simply loves it. My car does not have the hard shifting problem that most paople here are complaining about. My wife and I love everything about this van, and we are very picky about our vehicles, owning Hondas and Toyotas. I am aware the van has a Ford motor, but I am surprised how well it works so far. Speaking of hard shifting tranny, my 99 Accord V6 has a hard 1st to 2nd gear shift at times(since new), but I have also owned a 94 Accord 4 cylinder that does the same thing. So far my Accord had been reliable, and I expect the same from the MPV.
  • Perhaps I was generalizing a bit about Korean made cars vs. Kia specifically, but I speak from personal experience with a Hyundai. Everything I said about fit & finish and quality of the parts and body is true. And my Hyundai was a 2000 Elantra--so not very long ago. I also know someone who has a 2001 Hyundai Sonata & someone else who has a 2003 Elantra who have had the same problems I did. Both their cars look about 10 years old after 1 year of use. Door dings all over the place, fabric & carpeting prematurely wearing thin, radio & vent levers & buttons falling off the dashboard. While my 3 1/2 year old Chevy has not one door ding or broken interior part and both cars were equally well taken care of, and driven to the same types of places. Fact is, for resale value and at the very least PERCEIVED quality you're better off going Japanese over Korean. Just my opinion, which is what was asked for. I realize the Koreans are making improvements, but it's really hard for their reputations not to preceed them. The Sedona IS a nice van, in fact we were torn between it and the MPV when we were shopping. The deciding factor for us was Korean vs. Japanese. And I must admit, had we bought the Sedona we probably wouldn't have had any transmission problems!!
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,907
    Would it be OK if I compared a '96 MPV to a '04 Sienna then? That is what you are doing when you are comparing a 2000 Elantra to current models--the car debuted in 1995. The thing about Hyundai (and Kia) to keep in mind is that they have made huge strides in just the past few years. As for people who trash their cars in a year, yes, I've seen trashed 1-year-old Hondas and Toyotas too. My 3-1/2 year old Elantra still looks brand new--nothing falling off, interior perfect (well, spots on the mats). Judging the quality of an entire automaker's product by one or two samples is unfair. Resale-wise, yes, there's still a big difference between the Koreans and Honda and Toyota (but interestingly not Mazda, why I don't know). But personally I don't know how you could be torn in any way between the MPV and Sedona--the MPV is a better van in nearly every aspect, except maybe warranty, and price. IMO of course.
  • bottgersbottgers Posts: 2,030

    If you thin the Sedona handles well, then you're going to think the MPV handles like an Indy 500 car!

    To those of you who think Kia's and Hyundai's quality is all that, I will say it's improved drastically over the last several years, but it's not at the same level as the Japanese makers.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,907
  • bottgersbottgers Posts: 2,030
    .....if the tranny's still shifting smoothly if the rest of the van falls apart in 2 years?
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,907
    you'll get a chance to drive it for at least two years (at least five actually, that's how long everything is under warranty if "the rest of the van falls apart") without the transmission destroying itself.
  • bottgersbottgers Posts: 2,030
    And how much of that time will the van be spent in the shop getting that warranty work done? No thanks. I'll get the tranny fix done on my MPV and drive it for the next 10 years.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,907
    And as Maxwell Smart used to say, "And loving every minute of it!"
  • dulnevdulnev Posts: 652
    We're thinking of keeping our 2002 MPV bought close to two years ago for a total of 5-6 years. Given that it's a fully loaded ES with power doors, 6 CD changer and other electronic goodies, I'd feel a bit more comfortable having an extended warranty. But only, if it's reasonably priced.

    Did anyone buy a Mazda (not after-market) extended warranty? If so, how much did you pay and for what length/number of miles?

    Maybe someone knows of an on-line source for Mazda extended warranty plans? I found several sites for Honda/Acura original extended warranties at great discounts, but nothing for Mazda so far. Again, I'm not interested in thrid-party plans like Warranty Gold.

    Thank you!
  • dulnevdulnev Posts: 652
    Does anyone else have a problem with how hard the bolster sides of the driver's seat's cushion are? I can't drive our MPV for more than half hour without getting a pain in both thighs. My wife, who's a lot smaller than me does not have this problem.

    I'm 180 lbs and 5'10" tall, so I'm not that big, and it's the only car that ever hurt me this way. It also seems like the padding on those bolster sides is getting thinner and there's really hard plastic that's poking through. I may bring this up on our visit to the dealer tomorrow to reprogram the transmission.
  • '02 LX pushing 20,000 miles now, absolutely no problems whatsoever. I have never seen a post on an '02 tranny hard shift problem.

    I don't even mind the extra long shift lever, the van has been that good for us. You can check back a couple years for yourself, the MPV is very solid.

  • bottgersbottgers Posts: 2,030
    I still have confidence in our '03 MPV. I think it will be a stellar performer once the tranny fix has been done. Other than the tranny problem (and the tires), I still think it's one of the very best vans out there.
  • Well, sheesh, backy, I was trying to digress a bit but you obviously didn't get that, and twisted my words quite a bit. I'm not comparing a '96 to an '04 or even close! I was relating my experiences of several LATE model ('00-'03) Korean made cars I have owned or known of and using Hyundai's as my example because that's what I have seen/owned. I digressed by saying that maybe Kia's are better quality than Hyundai's--I don't know for sure but we banked on the Korean car reputation & our previous experience and went with the Mazda instead of the Kia. Sure they have improved from the '90's models, but in our experience they still are inferior to the Japanese and even American cars (shudder), for fit & finish IMO. And of course if you don't take good care of any car it can look trashed after a year! I was comparing two cars that were cared for in the same manner by the same family (MINE!), kept in the same environment, and looking at how well the sheet metal, plastic parts & interior carpet and fabric held up on one vs. the other. The Korean car just didn't measure up to even my American car (Chevy) in that area, and I've seen the same happen with other people who have owned them who take pristine care of their automobiles.

    We can agree to disagree.
  • daron1daron1 Posts: 18
    I'm ready for my '04's 1st service visit, & although I have had just a few "hard shifts," I now know(thanks to this board) that I can get that fixed. Can anyone give me the exact service to request from my there a specific name, or code, or anything like that? Also, I'm checking for TSB(through Edmunds), but there doesn't seem to be one. Is this "fix" somehow not specifically a TSB? Thanks for anything you guys can send to make my dealer service encounter go more smoothly. I hope not to have any problems, but I want to begin from a position of strength(ie knowledge) Thanks
  • I had my tranny reflashed on 2-10-04. Service manager was clueless about the fix when I brought in my 04 MPV, but was willing to take the van in. I told them to check Mazda bulletin and simply download the updates 10 times before I left with a loaner car. Fortunately, they did find the fix and had it done the same day. Now, my MPV runs perfectly without any problems. You should not be discouraged to bring in your vans if the dealers appear not aware of the fix. Just tell them where to find the info and push them to do it. MPV is so much more enjoyable after the tranny fix. BTW, my service sheet only says TCM, PCM updates, not informative at all. Many postings reveal all the codes for the fix under "Problems and Solutions."
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,907
    I took a '04 LX for a spin yesterday. I had driven the '03 and wanted to see if there was any difference. There was no significant difference I could discern. I did like the steeering wheel on the '04 better, and the looks are a little more sporty than the '03, but I like the styling of the '03 too. IMO the silver trim on the bumpers and side fascias looks tacky, not in keeping with the sporty character of the vehicle. There was no hint of hard shifting--all shifts were very smooth. Temperature was about freezing.

    I also drove a Sienna XLE and Quest S yesterday, and IMO the MPV handles better than either of them, although the Quest wasn't too far behind and it was a little smoother than the MPV. The MPV feels like a good-handling mid-sized car, while the Quest feels more like a good-handling full-sized car and the Sienna feels more like, well, a Buick--kind of floaty.

    Pricewise, the dealer is offering $3500 off (including $2000 rebate) every '04 LX, and in three weeks they will be adding the annual $500 auto show bonus. I figure a van equipped the way I want it would be about $21k + T&L--considerably less than a Sienna or Quest, but considerably more than a Caravan SXT (adv. price $16,800 not including the auto show bonus or ABS, which would be a wash).
  • crissmancrissman Posts: 145
    I can proudly say my 2000 MPV just passed the 80,000 mile mark today. This has so far (knock on wood) been my most trouble free vehicle. It has not required anything beyond normal maintenance. Even the brakes are still original. I do occasionally get a check engine light and the "moose noise" from the idle air valve is a winter companion, but these are ignorable for now. Sure hope these comments don't jinx me.
  • kolt1kolt1 Posts: 25
    $4k off list ain't too shabby. I do like the grill on the'03 better than on the '04. The black grill on the '03 just seems more sportier to me (...eye of the beholder). So which one are you going to park in your driveway long term?
  • kolt1kolt1 Posts: 25
    I remember a post of yours back in November where you gave Mazda a tongue lashing for not stepping up to the plate in regards to the tansmission issue, which they deserved IMO. You said that you wouldn't consider buying another Mazda nor would you recommend one to anyone who would listen. Now that this problem 'seems' to have been resolved, how do you feel about their product now? I'm going to be in the market for a new vehicle in a few months and am strongly considering the MPV. BTW, my calculations say that you average over 20k miles per year. Are these miles highway miles to and from work, or do you just do a lot of driving 'from sea to shining sea'?
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,907
    That is a good question. I have a Prius on order, and if it makes it here before my current lease is up then that will be in my garage. The MPV is my #1 backup plan, but the Caravan is still in the picture if I can "steal" one.
  • scott31scott31 Posts: 292
    You expect the Caravan to be more reliable than the MPV? I suggest you look at the Caravan/Town and Country boards.
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