Mazda MPV: Should I Buy One?

igloomasterigloomaster Member Posts: 249
edited March 2014 in Mazda
Hi -
My Dad is in his mid-60s and doesn't want to keep a car longer than 3 years. This weekend he went out and bought a Toyota Sienna mini-van. He told me he was willing to sell me his 2003 MPV LX for what they would give him in a trade, which is $8000. It only has 47,000 miles on it. I've driven it a few times... seems like a nice vehicle, and it will be perfect for lugging around my music equipment.

I think $8k for a 3 year old vehicle with only 47k on it is a great deal, especially since I know my Dad's 'old lady' driving style. Do others agree that this is a good deal? But I've never owned a Mazda minivan before, and certainly never owned a vehicle with a Ford V6 engine. I've always been a Honda guy, and the Hondas I've owned alwasy run forever with little trouble.

Love to get some feedback from anybody who is willing.



  • backybacky Twin CitiesMember Posts: 18,946
    I agree that $8k for a 2003 MPV with 47k miles is a great deal. Last spring I paid about $11k for a 2002 MPV with 44k miles and thought I got a great deal. Assuming your dad takes good care of his cars, all maintenance is up to date etc., and you like how it drives, I would grab it if I were you.

    P.S. Ask him if he's had any problems with the transmission, e.g. hard shifts.
  • igloomasterigloomaster Member Posts: 249
    My Dad has done the oil changes every 3000 to 3500 miles. I asked him about the transmission, and he said he's never had a problem with it at all. The times I've driven it, it's been smooth. I've been reading some of the posts on this forum about it, and it looks like some have indeed had transmission issues. So that has me worried a bit. Is there something I should do in anticipation of a potential tranny problem?
  • guestguest Member Posts: 770
    Don't worry about the transmission igloo. If there hasn't been a problem with it by now, it should be gold. The MPV is one of the best minivans IMHO, your dad is being very genorous with letting you have it for 8k.

    The Ford Duratec V6 in the MPV is one of Fords best and most reliable. The MPV is made in Japan, and the overall quality and fit and finish are excellent.
  • guestguest Member Posts: 770
    Don't worry about the transmission igloo. If there hasn't been a problem with it by now, it should be gold. The MPV is one of the best minivans IMHO, your dad is being very genorous with letting you have it for 8k.

    The Ford Duratec V6 in the MPV is one of Fords best and most reliable. The MPV is made in Japan, and the overall quality and fit and finish are excellent.
  • jipsterjipster Louisville, KentuckyMember Posts: 6,064
    by: Jipster

    Sorry about the double posts... my computer is going schizoid.
    2020 Honda Accord EX-L, 2011 Hyundai Veracruz, 2010 Mercury Milan Premiere, 2007 Kia Optima
  • igloomasterigloomaster Member Posts: 249
    cool. so those who've had tranny issues had them prior to 47k? perhaps this was an issue that Ford/Mazda addressed & corrected prior to the '03 production run? seems like most of the posts i've seen regarding tranny issues involve models 00 - 02....
  • subearusubearu Member Posts: 3,613
    The '00 and '01 had a 4sp AT that didn't use all the fancy learning technology (it's more of a basic mechanical automatic). The '02+ has the 5sp AT, electronically controlled. There was a few iterations of reprogramming that they did to help the shift flare issues in the '02-'04 models. In '05, they redesigned some internals as well as changed the computers.

  • jipsterjipster Louisville, KentuckyMember Posts: 6,064
    From I've read most of the tranny issues(software problem) initially occured within the first several thousand miles.
    The people who had this problem would take their MPV into the dealership to have the transmission reprogrammed(reflash) to shift smoother. The vast majority of owners who needed this minor procedure done had no further problems with their shifting.

    So, there ya go. Enjoy that MPV and rock on. ;)
    2020 Honda Accord EX-L, 2011 Hyundai Veracruz, 2010 Mercury Milan Premiere, 2007 Kia Optima
  • dtownfbdtownfb Member Posts: 2,918
    I would say buy it since it is such a good price. The first maintenance item i would do is change the Transmision fluid. this should ease your mind.
  • sidiggiesidiggie Member Posts: 19
    My 2002 MPV's tranny just went at 68,000 miles. Repair estimate is $3,500. Yes that is correct, $3,500. I called Mazda for help. They indicated car was over warranty and they would not help. Had a $500 repair at 60,000 miles and a $500 repair at 55,000 miles ( plugs and coils). I would avoid this vehicle at all costs.
  • okaasanokaasan Member Posts: 7
    Any advice on which of these you would choose for a family of five? Two big kids and one smaller one in a car seat.

    We are considering the 2006 MPV ES since we like the power sliding doors and the kids like the DVD and the sliding 2nd row. The negative is that it is a VAN, 2nd row seats don't slide backwards or forwards and the only colors available are green, white and silver.

    If anyone has any advice on the ES, I have a really LONG post in the "prices paid" section and would appreciate the help.

    As for the Mazda 5, there aren't very many here in Hawaii. Most dealers have only 1 or 2 so they are asking way over MSRP. It seem standard for the Mazda dealers here in Hawaii to tack on an additional fee of $3000-$6000 on all their vehicles (it's supposed to cover shipping costs which is BS). It has the sliding doors, lots of storage cubbies and cup holders plus the price is about $10,000 less than the MPV ES. The negatives are the doors aren't power, there is no DVD and my husband said it felt "cheapy" inside.

    There are lots of 2006 Highlanders in stock on the island but there is only one company that owns all the dealerships so you can't play anyone off each other (they all use the same inventory list). Prices are still somewhat high - about $1500-$2000 over Edmunds. Lots of colors available but 3rd row is tight.

    We are trading in our 1999 Lexus RX300. Had a major problem with Lexus charging us for repairs that weren't done and other seemingly deceptive practices (again, unfortunately, the same company that owns Toyota owns Lexus) but that's another story.
  • haawillhaawill Member Posts: 4
    Hi all ,
    So I'm about to buy a 2006 MPV LX Plus ... so how has the MPV been to you current owners? I currently have a 1990 Audi's ... so electrical problems I have experienced many times ...
    Thanks for you response!
  • igloomasterigloomaster Member Posts: 249
    Just completed my 1st week of driving the 2003 MPV LX I bought from my Dad.

    So far, so good!

    Drove 335 miles on 1 tank of gas, so it's not that great on fuel (compared to my old Honda Civic) but it's not bad either. I estimated an average of 20mpg, and that's with it loaded with music equipment, and a combination of highway and city driving.
  • jipsterjipster Louisville, KentuckyMember Posts: 6,064
    The second row seats do move fore and aft.
    2020 Honda Accord EX-L, 2011 Hyundai Veracruz, 2010 Mercury Milan Premiere, 2007 Kia Optima
  • bob57bob57 Member Posts: 302
    I was going to say I just turned 100,000 miles but went out and looked to be sure - it's 100,526 now. Time and miles fly when you're having fun...
    Out of more than 10 automobiles I've owned this has been the best one. Well, ok, the battery died at 60,000 :))
  • mazdax605mazdax605 Member Posts: 89
    Hello everyone,

    My wife,and I are contemplating getting a mini-van,and we have test driven two so far,and the mazda is NOT one of them yet.I have been a Mazda guy for years,and own a couple of 70's vintage Madza's.we also owned a 2000 Protege ES,and a 04 RX-8 in the past.

    We have a 2005 Subaru forester now,and we love it,but with 2 kids in car seats it is a bit snug.We went by the local Dodge/Chrysler dealer,and test drove a new 07 Grand caravan,and we liked it,but it seemed a bit cheap.We went there because I have had good luck with Dodge's in the past(235K miles on my 92 D250),and i get an associates discount on Chrysler products.The problem is to get new even with my rebate,and the current $4k rebate dodge is giving it still puts the van we test drove,and liked the equipment on at $22k which is a great deal,but we would like to stay in the $350-$375 a month range(I know that is a lot to ask for).

    The dealer also offered us a used 06 Town&Country with more equipment(DVD,rear power liftgate,Traction control) at $18k w/20k miles,but it is a color we don't care for too much(silver),and its a former rental :surprise:

    We went out last night,and test drove a used 04 Honda Odyssey,and I liked the ride of it better,and the headroom was better as well.I think my wife is a bit indifferent,and could care less between the 2,but she thinks the Chrysler had more bang for the buck with equipment,and its newer.Both are silver,and we are not married to either one,so we can take it or leave it.

    To get on point.I always liked the look of the MPV because it looked sportier than most vans,and also it looks a bit smaller.I need decent headroom in a vehicle on the passengers side as I am 6'-1" ,and I like leg room with my long legs.The biggest thing is I hate when my son kicks the back of the seat in our Suby.So far both the Dodge,and Honda we drove had about the same legroom up front with the Homnda maybe a little more comfortable,and in both my son could kick the front seat,but I am convinced there isn't a mini van on this planet that he can't kick the front seat of if he wants to.Bottom line,is the car reliable,and would you buy another?

    I am wondering is the MPV way smaller than the others,and will it fit our family of 4 comfortably? Will a used 05 LX w/8k miles be reliable?Have the tranny issues been sorted out?Is $18900 for a 05 LX with traction control,rear air,side bags,and the awesome Whitewater pearl paint a good deal?WIll we regret not getting a larger van?

    On a side note we test drove a mazda5 a few weeks ack,and loved it,but thought maybe we would be better with a larger van.Any thoughts on this novel I have written would be appreciated,and thanks in advance.

    aka Mazdax605 on the mazda chat
  • jipsterjipster Louisville, KentuckyMember Posts: 6,064
    Hi Mazdax60. Our 2004 MPV LX, with 24k miles, has been very reliable(knock on wood). Would I buy another?... in a heartbeat. The quality and fit and finish on the van are second to none.

    It is the perfect size for my family of 4. It's size makes it easier to handle and park. The "tranny issue" was sorted out on the post March 2004 MPV's...the easy fix was reprogramming of the software. So, I think an 05 will be reliable. Personally, If I were spending 18k, I would go ahead and buy new. But, no... $18,900 for a 05 LX is not a good deal, off the top of my head $15,500-$16,500. You could buy new for just a couple hundred more.

    Will you regret not buying a bigger van? That's your decision. We have not regretted buying a bigger van. Thourghly test drive the MPV and if it suits your needs, I think it an excellent van at a great price. Good luck and keep in touch.
    2020 Honda Accord EX-L, 2011 Hyundai Veracruz, 2010 Mercury Milan Premiere, 2007 Kia Optima
  • backybacky Twin CitiesMember Posts: 18,946
    Reliability of a specific car is always a crap shoot. A friend's Ody's transmission just died. Fortunately for him he had an extended warranty. You can buy piece of mind by getting an extended warranty. I did on a '02 MPV I bought earlier this year; a 5-year, 100k (total miles) bumper-to-bumper warranty with 0 deductible was about $1200. So far no problems on the '02 MPV, which has just over 50k miles now.

    In my area, new 2006 MPV LXes are going for advertised prices of around $16,800, I suppose w/o side bags and special paint. So I don't think $19k for a used (?) '05 is a good deal.
  • mazdax605mazdax605 Member Posts: 89
    Thanks for the input so far.I really like the pearl white,and it seems this LX is a bit more optioned than some others I have found,and is the right color.I also just found a WAY lrftover 05 LX in galaxy grey at a local dealer for $17999,but it doesn't have the side bags,and a few of the other options.I looked up the value of the white 05 on edmunds,and kbb,and it seems to valued at more than the posted price.I am not sure if we could get the price down more,but it is worth a shot.The white one is in CT,and is pretty far awat from us,but if we can swing the right deal I would drive to look at it,and buy it.The mileage is low as well whuch makes it a better option.Keep the input coming. Thanks.

  • jipsterjipster Louisville, KentuckyMember Posts: 6,064
    Oh, you can get the price down more. How are your negotiation skills? Dealerships typically inflate their used car prices 20-40%. They probably paid 14k for that MPV they are asking 18k for. Try to get the price at or below Edmunds private party sell. Some Edmunds members advocate trying to get the Edmunds dealer trade in price...but I think that is pushing it a bit.

    Check out the "Smart Shoppers" board for ideas on negotiation strategy and buying tips.

    Sounds like you really like the pearl white, don't let the salesperson or dealership know how much... could end up costing you more.
    2020 Honda Accord EX-L, 2011 Hyundai Veracruz, 2010 Mercury Milan Premiere, 2007 Kia Optima
  • d5ad5a Member Posts: 63
    Been looking for the past two months at getting a larger car. Keep coming back to the Mazda brand. Have a dealer offering me a new 2006 MPV LX-SV with a MSRP of 23,710 out the door for 17,500. The MPV has a few options like rear air, Cargo net and roof rack and floor mates but i would have to add privacy tint to the rear glass. Also have another Mazda Dealer offering me a 2007 Mazda 5 touring with a sticker of 20,695 on the road for 20,880. The 5 has a sunroof and automatic air, rear bumper guard and floor mates also. I cant decided which car will be the best one over the long haul. Should I save the money and go with the MPV and hope its a good van, but fear taking a loss on the resale value due to it being an older model, or should I pay more and get a newer style Mazda 5. Each car has its pros and cons just trying to figure out which one will be best for the next 5 or so years. I'm worry the MPV may not be as reliable due to having a ford engine but not sure if the 5 is any better with it being a new model. Any words of wisdom would greatly be apprecaited. Also please tell me your thought on the prices I have been offered. Thanks everyone for your help!
  • ewheatleyewheatley Member Posts: 2
    I am new to this forum and have gained alot of insight into the MPV through reading the posts on here.
    I have a few questions though if you guys are willing to help me out.

    First, I am a 29 year old Guy in Baltimore looking to buy a van for my wife. We have a 7 month old daughter, so the ease and convenience of a Mini Van is what we are looking for. I have looked at the Odyssey and the Sienna, but find myself drawn to the MPV. I think because of the sleek looks, smaller size and affordablity.
    As I said, the car will be for my wife, who currently drives a '98 Civic. She works in city as a social worker, so I think the smaller size will be better fit for driving around the city streets. Plus, she tends to run into a lot of things, so driving the smaller van may help her to avoid these things. wink.gif

    So on to my questions.
    Is Traction Control standard on the ES models? How does the MPV handle in the rain and snow?
    How reliable are the MPVs? Is there a particular year to avoid?
    How's the drive? Are the seats comfortable?
    Are side airbags standard?

    Mainly, what I want is a SAFE, Reliable vehicle for my wife and daughter to ride in.

    My mother in law has a friend whom they have bought about 5 cars from. He regularly goes to the Mannheim auto auction.
    He will help us out and buy us what we want. The only thing about doing it this way is that we don't really get to see or test drive the car before he buys it. We just say "Look for an 05 MPV, preferably a dark color, Leather interior, Under 40K and we don't want to go over $14K"

    So we may get something, or we may not.

    Any help or tips would be appreciated.

  • d5ad5a Member Posts: 63
    Hi from Ellicott City here. I purchased a MPV the day after Xmas. I have a 2006 LX MPV only have 2,000 miles on it. Bought the van for the same reasons your looking to buy one. We needed more space for kids. We fought the idea of a van but the sliding doors seem to work the best when you have kids. I didn't even think of the MPV when we started looking. We looked at the Honda, Toyota and Hyundai vans at first. I'm a car freak and was giving up a BMW but we decided to go to a one income family so we were looking for something Cheap/base and room so the BMW had to go :cry: . Test drove every van out there and nothing seemed to hit me. Friends had a toyota and like it but when we test drove one it seemed cheap. And now our friends are having nothing but issues with theirs. The Toyota was 24,500 with nothing on it. The transmission on the toyota drove us both crazy. It didn't change gears very well. IT waited and hunted back and forth for the gear. We test drove many toyotas and each one did that. We also test drove a used toyota a 2005 and it was falling apart. So I was questioning toyotas build quitaly. I think they have gotten to big to keep an eye on build issues. I've read reviews on toyota boards stating alot of issues. Glad we didn't do toyota.

    We looked at the Honda and it was nice but road hard. The price was way to high for nothing on it. I know they keep there value and I really thought it was the best as far as resale but to take on a payment that large for a van that didn't wow me wasn't what we wanted to do. One thing that bothered me was when we drove the honda (we did many times) each one had a ton of rattles and they were all new vans. I cant stand rattles it makes me feel like the car is cheap so we decided not to buy the honda.

    Next was Hyundai. I was impressed. They seemed willing to deal more then the others on price but we started seeing that all of the vans just seemed to big. they Hyundai is the lowest one out there. We have one child and are planning on more but how much room do you really need? So we decided the vans were to big. Each handled well but it seemed like you could get tired of driving and steering something so big all the time. Backing these things up would be an issue most of the time. I know a ton of Soccer moms who have damaged the rear of there vans backing up just out of the garage.

    Any ways one day we decided to take a look at the toyota van again. Koons Toyota in Westimister was having a end of year sale on the sennia with zero finance, so we drove up just to look. We got there and noticed that they also sold Mazdas. We happened to see the mazda 5 sitting out front. We thought we had found the perfect car. We drove it. It was nice. Easy to get in and out of but it was slow. Also the one thing that turned us off was now it seemed to small now. Most vans were to big now this one was to small. With the rear seats up you have no cargo room. That wouldn't work for us. We need the seating and the cargo not one or the other. So after thinking nothing would work our sales lady said we have two Mazdas Vans that are no longer going to be made. The MPV has been replaced by the Mazda 5. Turns out they had two new ones that had not sold yet. They had a black fully loaded with everything for $30,000. We drove it and fell in love. It seemed prefect. At the time I new nothing about them so we decided to go home look them up on Edmunds and KBB and see the reviews and check out pricing. I never buy a car unless I'm looked up pricing on KBB and edmunds.

    Most MPV owners love them as you can see from this board. So after hearing all the great things people had to say we decided to go back and make an offer on the black MPV. At the time Mazda had 3,500 rebate on them. I was looking for 26,000 on the road. We went back to the dealership and the black one was sold. They had sold it earlier that day. They still had a dark green but it was base with just a roof rack and rear air. No power doors or leather. The one thing I worried about the leather in the MPV was they do not offer heated seats. Ok Maryland gets cold and I really don't want to sit on leather seats that don't heat. Any ways The price on the green MPV LX was 24,750. I thought it was to much for what you got. I could get a toyota for that and felt toyota may have better resale. We left the dealership. I went home started looking at all Mazda dealers in Maryland for MPVs. Russel Mazda had one. Silver loaded LX with power doors. Emailed them, made an offer over email and the expected for 24,000 on the road. They next day went down to Russel and the van was gone. Needless to say I feel Russel sold the van out from under us. The 24,000 was a great deal on a 28,000 van so I'm sure they suckard someone else for a better price. Lets just say Russel heard from us. We had bought many cars from them but they didn't have any MPV left to work with us on. Went back to looking. All Mazda dealers in MD. DC and VA seemed to be sold out. We found one or two that had been used as service shuttles but they had tons of miles on them and the dealers (Darcars to name one) didn't not seem helpful or want to move on the price. They played to many games. After going to see a few they seemed base or to damaged for the price they wanted. We decided to give up. We waited a few weeks then around Christmas I looked on Koons website and noticed they still had the green one. I also had heard that Mazda was giving $6,000 off to get rid of them. So I called Koons Mazda talked to the sales lady and offered her a price of $17,000 on the road. That price including tax, tags and title, for the green one they had for 24,750. She said I'll get back to you. I waited for a call saying no. An hour later she called and said ok, 17k. At that price I couldn't say no. We drove up, it was in perfect condition only had 8 miles on it and they through in all weather floor mates and a rear bumper guard. Needless to say it took about 30 min. We left brought it home and have been impressed ever since. We added rear privacy glass (I never thought I do something like that) but it looks great and you cant tell it was even added. It looks like an ES model now.

    The Van has been great. Handles well and almost every time I drive it I say I cant imagine what it would have been like to drive one of the larger vans we had looked at. This thing is the prefect size. Easy to back up and turn. Seems like a small SUV when you drive it not like a huge van I.E. honda and toyota. The third seat is just as rommie as the other vans. Mazda has made the cargo well deep so the rear seat back sit over it but your not lacking in cargo room even with the MPV being short. Its been great in the snow. We live on a hill and its made it up. No traction control but have not slipped once. The ES does have standard trac. The transmmsion has been great. Most automatics drive me crazy. This one hasn't at all. It takes off also. Very peppy. Seats are comfortab
  • backybacky Twin CitiesMember Posts: 18,946
    The third seat is just as rommie as the other vans.

    Sorry, I have to disagree with you on that one (I have a 2002 MPV LX). Before the MPV we had a '99 Grand Caravan, and its third seat was much more roomy and comfortable (esp. for adults) than the MPV's seat. You can put three kids in the MPV's 3rd seat, for a time, if they aren't too big. But not three adults, as is possible with the GC. And even two adults will be uncomfortable back there for any length of time, since the cushion is low to the floor. I tried the new GC before buying the MPV (used), and I think the GC has the most comfortable rear seat of any current minivan--mainly because the cushion provides good thigh support. Most 3rd seats are too close to the floor.

    I am surprised you didn't try the Nissan or DCX minivans. I thought the Quest was pretty nice when I tried it. I was put off by the weird dash, but that's been changed for '07. And I think the DCX vans are the best values available in a full-sized van--a loaded GC SXT for $20k, when I was looking last spring (about $21k now).

    But like you, we really liked the size of the MPV, so that's what we got last April--a 2002 with 45k miles that looked like new. My wife was always backing into things in parking lots, or parking too close to other cars/carts and getting damage on the sides, with the GC. That isn't a problem with the MPV. It's perfect for around town and even did a good job on a 2500 mile round trip over the holidays with five of us. But it was packed to the gills and was not as comfy for those in back as the old GC. If I did a lot of road trips with the family, I'd probably get a GC or maybe the Hyundai or Kia van (the Sedona and Entourage are twins, as you may know). But for what we use it for, the MPV is perfect for us.
  • jipsterjipster Louisville, KentuckyMember Posts: 6,064
    Yes, traction control is standard on the ES.

    The MPV handles well in the rain... and only so so in the snow IMO. The OEM Dunlop tires are a high performance tire, so handling on dry roads is very good.

    I believe MPV's to be reliable. No paticular model year to avoid.

    The drive is of the best handling minivans. Easy to manuvuer and park. The seats are comfortable, though a tad bit firm on long trips.

    Side airbags are standard on ES model. Must be purchased as option(about $400)on LX models.

    The MPV does not have the side curtain airbags, but overall safety is rated excellent.

    We considered the MPV, Ody, Sienna and the Quest back in 2004 when we were in the market. We preferred the MPV, and haven't regretted our decision a bit. Good luck.
    2020 Honda Accord EX-L, 2011 Hyundai Veracruz, 2010 Mercury Milan Premiere, 2007 Kia Optima
  • ericajericaj Member Posts: 1
    I am looking at MPVs for our nanny to drive. She'll drive about 100 miles a week, mix of highway and street. We don't want to spend more than about $6K, so that means looking at MPVs that are about 10 years old and with over 100K miles. Any pitfalls I should be looking out for? I've been looking only at private sales, so no warranty. Thanks in advance for any good advice, we're new to Mazda.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesMember Posts: 18,946
    If you can get a 2000, it's a newer design than the pre-2000 MPVs, much more modern and versatile with its fold-in-the-floor rear seat and sliding side doors.

    FWIW, since you are looking at small vans for under $6k, you might also look at the Dodge Caravan and Plymouth Voyager (later Chrysler Town & Country) short vans. You might be able to get a fairly low-miles van for your price range, and they are pretty nice too except they don't have the fold-in-the-floor rear seat like the MPV.
  • sramamur1sramamur1 Member Posts: 21
    We are looking at 2003 MPV DX (101,000 km) in London, Ontario, Canada. We hope to get this van for $8,000 and a three year engine/transmission/power train/AC warranty for $1,000.00 to go with this van (by the way we drive a 1998 Ford Windstar minivan).

    I am worried about the long term reliability of this van , especially after 175,000 km and the cost of the replacement parts.

    I would appreciate your comments whether it is worthwhile to buy this van.

    Cheers, Sri.
  • junkmpvjunkmpv Member Posts: 1
    my 2001 mpv had the same coil warranty. then when traveling on a highway the engine overheated and the radiator was replaced $1400. then at 53000 Miles the engine just loss $12000.

    Horrilble car.
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