Last post on Dec 14, 2011 at 12:46 PM
You are in the Mazda MPV
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Mazda MPV, Van
Aug 04, 2004 (9:07 am)
Hey guys and gals, I'm very new to the minivan world and need some help. After a recent trip where I rented an 04 Dodge Caravan SXT, I have decided a small minivan may fit my needs perfectly. It's just me, the other half, and a big dog (plus the occasional friend) so I have no need for a large van like the Sienna/Ody. I was quite impressed with the Caravan's driving dynamics and quiet interior. It had a firm well controlled yet comfy ride and the handling was pretty good. The engine lacked power at highway speeds though, the tranny was a bit clunky at times, and the front seats weren't comfortable. Plus, no rear AC vents or roll down rear windows on the short wheelbase Caravan. I'm trying to combine a few of my cars so that one fits all my needs. I am looking to trade in an 03 Hyundai Tiburon V6 coupe and a 1993 Mitsubishi Expo LRV Sport (a 5 passenger mini-minivan with a sliding side door). The MPV seems to have the features and performance I'm looking for.
The question is, how does the 04 model ride, especially with the 17" wheels? I thought the Caravan was perfect in that regard and I'm looking to get away from a rough riding car after driving my sports coupe. Do the 16" wheels ride significantly better or is there not much of a difference? Do you people consider the MPV to be too rough riding? How smoothly does the 5 speed auto shift? How smooth and quiet is the V6? Any other known problems besides the PCV hose? How quiet is the road and wind noise in comparison to the Caravan?
Some other general questions: How does the standard LX stereo sound? Is the LX already pre-wired for the additional speakers of the ES for easy upgrading at a later date? I'd prefer to have cloth and at least the LX plus package. The 4 seasons package is nice but hard to find in my area. Is the a/t oil cooler available separate as a Mazda accessory? Does anyone know whether you can add an overhead DVD screen when you have a sunroof installed, whether it be factory or aftermarket?
The 00 MPV was known for its light easy gliding side doors. Did the addition of power doors ruin this? How easily does it open by hand? I really hate this feature and have no use for it but if I get a great deal on an ES I would be stuck with it. Anyone have problems with these doors? My sister had so many problems with her 00 Odyssey's power doors that I'm turned off on the idea of having them.
Last questions: My dealer has an 04 ES Tsunami Blue demonstator. I have no idea how many miles it has but I'm sure around 4k. I'd imagine you can't get the $3500 rebate on this van so what would be a fair price for it? Sticker is $30k if I remember correctly (it had moonroof, 4 seasons). Offer 23k perhaps? If you guys had the choice, would you get this ES or buy a new LX? I could care less about the leather but I do like the 9 speaker stereo, moonroof, and 4 seasons package. Does the Tsunami Blue look purplish in the sun (I saw it at night) or does it look more like a deep bright blue?
Thanks for any and all insight! I never thought I would be jazzed at the idea of owning a minivan, but I really think the MPV is a great idea and a perfect fit for my lifestyle. Plus, the big rebates make it possible to own since my trade has lots of negative equity.
Aug 04, 2004 (9:20 am)
One more question. Anyone here do their own oil changes on the 3.0? How hard is it to do? Where is the filter located? If I remember correctly, that V6 is tightly packed in there. I hope this doesn't mean only the dealer would dare do maintenance on this van.
#7443 of 8223 Re: opinions please [lngtonge18]
Aug 04, 2004 (9:46 am)
1st let me say that we really love our '04 LX. I can't compare to the SXT, but I would say that the Grand Caravan I rented about a year ago definitely had a smoother, softer ride than my MPV w/ 17" wheels. I like the ride though, the sporty feel of the road...etc. We had it up in the Adirondacks, around Lake Placid, and it handled really well on the winding, hilly roads. I guess it's a trade off. Feel the same way about the power sliding doors & I loved that Mazda let me add on a bunch of cool options without requiring leather or power doors. Can't speak to the radio, or after-market add ons. I have gotten 1 non-dealer oil change, & it went perfectly fine. If you're afraid of the power doors, or simply don't need them, do what I did & get the LX, max it out with options, and then get the cash rebate. That tsumani blue is a really beautiful color new, but when I think of how much my blue Civic shows EVERY nick, bit of road tar, etc. I would hate to think of the effort in scrubbing down a lot more surface area on the MPV. Anyway, good luck shopping.
#7444 of 8223 Re: oil change [lngtonge18]
Aug 04, 2004 (10:04 am)
the filter is fairly easy to get to, but it will drip onto the exhaust when it's loosened. Use the foil trick to cover the exhaust. It should use a Motorcraft FL820S filter, which may or may not be that way from the factory. That first filter can be a tricky one to get off. You can get a filter strap wrench on it, but it's kind of tight. An end-cap wrench will work better. Get some Rhino Ramps as well to make the crawl underneath more comfortable.
I had the dealer do the first oil change at 5k on our '02 ES and then changed to Mobil-1 at 6.5k, going 6 months between changes (or about 5k miles). YMMV.
#7445 of 8223 Re: opinions please [lngtonge18]
Aug 04, 2004 (5:43 pm)
Ingtonge, we just purchased the MPV LX July 1st.I think if you are gonna buy new, loading an LX with the options you want would be much more cost efficient.If you get a super fantastic price on the demo ES I would consider it. But, I know when we test drive a car we lay on the throttle pretty hard to see how good the acceleration is.Maybe, you could try to get a couple years of extended warranty thrown in. The difference between the LX and ES is about $5,000. We bought ours with the Sport Package which comes with the 17-inch alloy wheels. I didn't test drive one with the 16-inch wheels, though Consumer Guide Magazine wrote that the 17's were "more comfortable and controlled".The v-6 does a good job, but it's not as smooth,powerful or quiet as the Sienna or Odyssey.I haven't noticed much with the transmission shifts..so it must be pretty smooth.The cabin is just as quiet as some of the other minivans in my opinion. This van drives and handles very good (more like a car) and is easier to manuver.The nonpowered sliding side doors are smooth and easy to open and close.I think the exterior and interior styling and appearance are far better than any of the other minivans. Good luck with your purchase.
Aug 05, 2004 (5:31 pm)
Any opinions on a fair price for the 04 demonstrator I mentioned in my post? According to Edmunds, a $30k ES should run about 24k, so a slightly used van with 4k miles should run closer to 20k right? Would buying a demonstrator be too risky? I've bought 5 new cars since 2000 so this would be a bit of a leap of faith, but to get a fully loaded model for the price of a base one is a nice thought....
Anyone have the power doors? Are they slow to open and close? Do they have annoying beepers? Can they be turned off and used manually? If so, how much more difficult are they to open?
Any opinions on the base stereo and 9 seaker setup? My current ride has a 360 watt factory Infinity sound system with 8" subwoofer so I'm afraid to drop down to the base stereo. The Caravan's 6 speaker setup sounded reasonably good though.
Anyway, thanks are in order to everyone who have helped me out so far. You guys are a nice group in here! I might go down to the dealer this weekend and take a test drive and see how willing they are to deal. I'll let ya'll know if anything happens.
#7447 of 8223 Re: opinions please [lngtonge18]
Aug 06, 2004 (7:37 am)
my is a 04 LX with the LX+ package. The ride of mine it is not smooth for a minivan. I guess the sporty ride also means rough ride besides the good handling. The seat is a bit hard so it could make the overall ride too rough for some drivers. My MPV has the rough ride feel even on decent road. I took it in to have all tires re-balanced, and the body of the van still shakes. I am not taking it to a long trip for that matter.
Make sure that you pay close attention to how the transmission shifts and reacts to the stop and go driving on the city roads.
The rough ride and concerns on the transmission could become the main reason driving the new buyers away from it.
#7448 of 8223 Re: 04 demonstrator [lngtonge18]
Aug 08, 2004 (8:53 pm)
We just got (three weeks ago) an LX with the LX plus, moonroof, power doors and four-seasons. In the interim, we rented a Dodge Grand Caravan, which had slower, clunkier power doors. So far, ours have been problem-free, but three weeks isn't much of test! They are activated by either a push of door or by pushing a button (both by driver's seat and by back seats). Yes, the power doors can be deactivated. However, when you do this, the doors are heavier than are the doors of an MPV w/out power doors.
We, too, live in an area where four seasons is hard to find. This particular van was one of two that had it -- and it happened to also have the automatic doors. We'd had a 2000 MPV and felt no real need for them. (Doors ARE light and aren't a problem to open or close.) The power doors DO have beepers, but they go on if car moves and doors are not closed. You cannot open a power door unless car is in park (which in my opinion is a GOOD thing).
we planned on turning off the doors and going manual -- but ended up liking the power doors. they're quieter and we have no problem with our 9-year-old slamming them!
I don't have complaints about the ride. It's firm and carlike. For a longer trip, the bigger vans have their advantages -- more cargo room and smoother ride -- but for 98 percent of my driving, this is ideal.
hope that is somewhat helpful.
Aug 09, 2004 (9:16 am)
Thanks everyone! Lots of good comments here. Now I have a question about interior lighting. What kind of lighting is provided when a door is open? Is there a center dome light, back dome light, and 2 reading lights, or are there also "puddle" lights located on each door? I saw an 04 Sienna the other night that had a puddle light illuminating the step of the side door, which I thought was a nice feature.
The dash is lit in green right? I'm trying to get away from red lighting and I find green to be much more soothing at night then all the new colors that are in cars now.
#7450 of 8223 2005 MPV
Aug 10, 2004 (4:28 pm)
Will there be any model changes for the 2005 MPV? Exterior? Interior? Our third child is on the way - so we are gung-ho for the MINI of minivans.