could say good things come in small sizes. In Mazda's case,
it's the MPV. Although diminutive compared with some hulky
competitors, it instead offers a performance appeal usually
lacking in minivans. That was a definite choice by the "Zoom
Zoom" auto company that leans toward action (such as
stick shifts for fun) rather than adaptability to every
doesn't mean you can't haul a lot in an MPV. You can. But
it might just be a tad smaller load. Open the traditional
sliding side doors and wide lift gate and you still find
spacious interior room for its size with seating for seven.
vehicle Mazda dubs a "sporty minivan" retains
the interior and exterior characteristics of the major overhaul
for '04, and then adds some fine tuning for '05. Air conditioning
becomes a stand-alone option for the base, LX model. An
auto dimming rear view mirror with compass and Homelink
is added. So is a new, retractable key. The MPV retains
side-sliding second row seating for bucket or bench configuration.
There's a "Tumble Under" third row that's upright
for passengers, tips rearward for tailgate seating or disappears
in the floor for added cargo room.
could be considered the "driver's car" among minivans
- and Mazda, touting its racing heritage, bills it as such.
It is "road responsive" with such features as
speed sensitive steering, taut suspension and "Slope
Control" to keep the five-speed automatic smooth and
prevent over-shifting when driving mountainous terrain.
There's a 3.0-liter DOHC 24-valve V-6 to lend 200-horsepower
and 200-lb. ft. of torque, paired with a low curb weight
for agility. But, a bummer for the true lead-footer in crowd:
Despite Mazda's racing genes, neither the $22,940 LX nor
the upscale $28,505 ES comes with a standard transmission.
(Not really minivan territory here, but we can dream, can't