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2004 Model Guide - Every Brand, Every Car


2004 Mazda Model GuideThat "Zoom-Zoom" brand of Mazda, with a reputation for producing sporty cars tracking back to the wily two-seat MX-5 Miata roadster and a rotary-powered RX-7 hatchback sports coupe, offers a diverse collection of cars and trucks and wagons with fun-to-drive traits.

This year Mazda resurrects the RX-7 concept but adds a new twist with a sedan's layout and rear-hinged half-doors tucked behind the front-hinged front doors for easy access to rear seats. Mazda calls it a four-door sports car under the badge of RX-8. And, yes, this new version of the RX gets a rotary-powered engine, it brings two variations, in fact.

Mazda also makes a pavement-hugging and curve-craving mid-size sedan simply called the 6, the Mazda 6. It debuted in the 2003 lineup and returns for 2004 with a choice of four-cylinder or V6 powertrain plus revised optional equipment packages. Waiting in the wings are wagon and hatchback versions scheduled to land in America in the spring of 2004.

Mazda's Miata, the still-so-cool roadster, continues to epitomize Mazda's image for sporty motoring. A pure two-person open-top roadster with four-cylinder power but ideal weight balance, Miata ranks as the best-selling sports car in the world, according to the Guinness Book of World Records. Current versions, rolling on new 16-inch alloy wheels, draw from a dual-cam 1.8-liter and four-cylinder engine that produces 142 hp.

Mazda's compact-class Protege series fades in 2004 in favor of a late-arriving replacement called Mazda 3. This new car, with styling drawn from the Mazda MX-Sportif show car, looks muscular in the promise of lively athletic performance.

The compact-class minivan from Mazda goes by the label of MPV, which means Multi-Purpose Vehicle. Expect to see a facelift on MPV in 2004 issues. The body gets a re-do with new prow and fenders, plus a fresh palette of paint colors. MPV's cabin, with three rows of seats for as many as seven passengers, has new fabrics on seats and revised trim designs in plastic resembling carbon fiber.

Even the sport-utility vehicle from Mazda -- Tribute -- feels fun to drive. Built on the chassis of a front-wheel-drive (FWD) car rather than a rear-wheel-drive (RWD) truck, Tribute has a tightly tuned suspension and a strong engine that set up sporty driving traits. And B-Series compact pickup trucks from Mazda return for another year with best-in-class powertrain performance.

Mazda RX-8
2004 Mazda RX-8

The essence of Mazda's favored rotary-powered RX-7 hatchback sports car lives again in modern format with the new RX-8.

It's a clever design that's slightly taller and wider than the former RX-7, with the wheelbase stretched considerably longer and wheels pushed to corners of the platform for a sporty stance. With the wheelbase extended there's room enough on the chassis to install a second row of seats in the configuration of a 2+2 GT-style sports coupe. Only Mazda's designers also added two concealed rear doors. Set behind the front doors, these half-size rear doors are hinged in back and open with the front doors to create a broad and pillar-less portal for easy access into the back seats. The cabin ends up as a functional four-seater with ample room in all positions for full-frame adult riders.

This new version of the RX also carries a rotary-powered engine. It's the next generation in rotary design, smaller in size and lighter in weight than previous versions, but more powerful. Called Renesis, the engine achieves 250 hp with a six-speed manual transmission or 210 with a four-speed automatic rigged with paddle-shift system on the steering wheel. RX-8 also stocks an anti-lock brakes system (ABS), electronic brake force distribution (EBD), plus a dynamic stability control system (DSC) with frontal and side-mounted air bags aboard, a tire pressure monitor, power windows and door locks, and 18-inch alloy wheels.

Read our Review: Mazda RX8

2004 Mazda6

Mazda's mid-size four-door sedan looks aggressive like it's ready to romp down the road. The sleek and clean package design displays styling hints borrowed from European touring cars. It features narrow cat-eye headlamps with multiple lenses wrapped around front corners as bookends for a chrome-capped grille, which punctuates the point on a stepped hood and deep fascia marked by broad air intake ports.

Mechanical components include a double-wishbone design for the front suspension and a multi-link arrangement at the rear, a big disc brake at all posts and electronic brake assist. There are two editions marked as 6i and 6s. The former uses a four-cylinder powertrain and the latter totes a six-pack. 6i stocks a dual-cam 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 160 hp. 6s gets a twin-cam 3.0-liter V6 juiced up to 220 hp.

In Mazda's sporty tradition, both plants are available with a five-speed manual transmission. Also offered is a dual-mode automatic shifter - configured in four forward gears for 6i and five for 6s.

The spacious cabin, with two front buckets and a rear bench for three with split folding seatbacks, adds titanium-finish trim elements on the central dash with round dials and chrome accents. Also, the leather-wrapped steering wheel is telescopic and adjusts for tilt and rake positions.

Mazda Miata
2004 Mazda Miata

Mazda's roadster, still the ultimate affordable sports car, has the perfect weight balance which sets up that Miata magic of predictable vehicle control.

For 2004 it continues in two editions - Miata and Miata LS - both with revised 16-inch alloy wheels mounted with 205/45R16 V-rated tires. Miata's engine, a twin-cam 1.8-liter four-in-line, produces 142 hp. An optional suspension package specifies Bilstein shocks and a Torsen limited-slip.

Miata LS stocks leather seats in either black or parchment, plus power door locks and a Bose audio kit, with a six-disc CD changer optional along with a six-speed manual transmission.

Base Miata provides stock items like power steering, power windows and power mirrors, air conditioning, foglamps and an audio system with CD deck.

Mazda Tribute
2004 Mazda Tribute

The SUV from a company steeped in the production of fun-to-drive cars is a so-called crossover wagon for the compact class. Mazda promotes it as a sport-ute reared by a family of sports cars. The claim comes from the fact that Tribute differs from the typical lumbering hulk of a sport-utility box built on the platform of a RWD truck. Instead, it rides on the chassis of a FWD sedan and carries lively independent suspension elements and crisp rack and pinion steering to fashion a nimble wagon.

All power from Tribute's four-cylinder or V6 engine goes directly to the wheels in front - the ones that also steer. This ability of front wheels to both turn and steer the wagon makes it quite agile, and entirely predictable. Another unique feature is Tribute's monocoque platform, a structure that integrates frame and body to forge a single unit that's extremely rigid when set to the dynamics of motion.

Tribute first appeared in Mazda's line of 2001 but returns this year without change. Tribute's models show three trim variations and each is available in FWD or optional all-wheel-drive (AWD). Tribute DX is the price leader with standard features including a four-cylinder engine, roof rack, tachometer, tilting steering wheel, and power windows with one-touch down for driver's window. Tribute LX adds a V6 and upgraded cloth seat fabric, while deluxe ES has leather seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and power-motivated driver's seat.

The engine for Tribute DX is Ford's twin-cam 2.0-liter four-cylinder Zetec plant that hits 130 hp through a manual five-speed gearbox. For LX and ES, a larger engine - the dual-cam 3.0-liter Ford Duratec V6 - produces 200 hp and works with a four-speed automatic transaxle that's optional on DX.

Mazda MPV
2004 Mazda MPV

Mazda makes a minivan feel exuberant and expressive to operate. It's charged with a keen edge for all movements, much like other vehicles in Mazda's fleet. It's also enthused with power, thanks to a 3.0-liter V6 rated at 200 hp.

Models for 2004 come with a facelift and revamped cabin showing new fabrics and trim. MPV's front end has new headlamps and restyled hood, fenders and grille, while in back there are new shapes for taillamps and a new bumper design. More body paint colors also work, such as Tsunami Blue Mica and Nordic Green Mica.

Inside, upgrades include lumbar support added to the driver's seat, intelligent dual-stage deployment for frontal air bags and revised designs for headrests. The cabin layout sets two tall bucket seats in front flanking consoles on floor and ceiling. On the second row, seats split and slide laterally to form either a continuous bench for two or two stand-alone chairs. The third-row bench, sized for three but more comfortable for two, folds down and disappears into a flat floor to increase rear cargo space.

MPV LX edition adds power equipment but deluxe ES lays on leather upholstery and premium audio equipment. Power sliding rear side doors are optional for both trims and side-impact air bags plus a traction control system (TCS) come in a package for the LX.

Mazda B-Series Truck
2004 Mazda B-Series

Three cab configurations work on the compact-class trucks from Mazda in 2004 editions with two-door Regular Cab for all B2300 and several B3000 issues, two-door extended CabPlus for B3000, and CabPlus4 for some B3000 and all B4000 models with twin rear-hinged back doors.

Top truck B4000 - in four-door CabPlus4 style with four-wheel-drive (4WD) and push-button shifting into four-wheeling mode - also has a husky six-pack that ripples with 207 hp. This optional engine caps Mazda's B-Series truck line and bumps its trailer-towing ability to 5900 pounds. Two other powertrains are offered -- B2300 with a 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine worth 140 hp and B3000 with 3.0-liter V6 rated at 150 hp.

For the B2300, the SE-5 package contains 15-inch wheels, air conditioning, a stereo kit with CD deck and front seatback split 60/40. For B4000 CabPlus4, an Off-Road Package with 4WD shows 15-inch alloy wheels, bucket seats, a stereo with CD and MP3 players, side steps and tie-down rails. Special edition Dual Sport carries the raised suspension of a 4WD truck but RWD orientation. Cab Plus models reveal a new monochromatic trim treatment.

2004 Mazda3

The compact-class car from Mazda evolves into a new form in 2004, arriving later in the year as a spirited sedan flashing muscular styling points and dynamic handling characteristics.

Mazda promises optimal interior space in a five-seat cabin plus lively throttle experience through a choice of two different four-cylinder engines.