1 Sep 1999
Very much developed in the American Chrysler Voyager mould, Mazda’s second generation MPV shared nothing with its slightly offbeat predecessor.
It featured a transverse mounted front-wheel drive layout that was based on the 1991-1997 Mazda 626 V6 – a necessary economy for the post-bankrupt Ford-controlled Mazda, particularly as that generation 626 was still produced in the US until 2002.
The totally redesigned body eschewed the old car’s wide-opening rear doors for people-mover conventional sliding rear doors, but it was more space efficient despite now only capable of seating seven all-up. All rear seats could now be removed.
Power came courtesy of a US Ford-derived 129kW/227Nm 2.5-litre quad-cam 24-valve Duratec V6 engine (shared with the Ford Cougar) that was allied to a new four-speed automatic gearbox.
Torque dropped compared to the old model, but then so did weight – by nearly 100kg.
More cost cuts were clear with the old MPV’s rear disc brakes giving way to less efficient drums, although anti-lock brakes were still included. The standard features list included dual air-conditioning, cruise control, trip computer and alloy wheels.