Mazda MPV History

29 Dec 2014 | Author: | Comments Off on Mazda MPV History
Mazda MPV

Mazda MPV


Mazda MPV

The Mazda MPV (also sold as the Efini MPV in Japan) is a minivan. It was introduced in 1989 as a rear wheel drive model and was replaced in 2000 with a more modern front wheel drive version.


The minivan boom of the 1980s caught the Japanese car makers by surprise. Each maker had its own response: Toyota was first with an adaptation of their mid-engined Van, based on the Japanese Town-Ace in 1984. Nissan and Mitsubishi quickly followed suit with conversions of cargo vans in 1987.

None of these were particularly successful, since all were small and only offered 4-cylinder engines.

The 1989 MPV was radically different. It was designed from the ground-up as a minivan for the American market. Mazda started with the best platform they had, the 929’s HC, to develop the MPV’s LV platform, and equipped the MPV with a V6 engine and optional all wheel drive.

Like the later Honda Odyssey, it featured traditional hinged doors instead of sliding rear doors, though the original MPV only had a single rear door.

The van was a hit with the press, being named to Car and Driver magazine’s Ten Best list for 1990 and 1991 and featured as one of their vehicles for the coming (fuel) crisis. Initial sales were strong as well, but rapidly fell off once other makers introduced all wheel drive and V6 engines. However, Toyota’s 1991 Previa, Nissan’s 1993 Quest, and Honda’s 1995 Odyssey all featured purpose-built platforms and eroded Mazda’s lead.

Although the Mazda MPV was well-received by the press and public, crash testers were less impressed. The MPV recieved one star out of four in the Australian ANCAP crash tests and a Marginal rating in the American IIHS crash tests.

The van was refreshed in 1996, with the I4 engine retired for the United States, though it was replaced with a similar 2.5 L unit for the rest of the world. The all wheel drive MPV was now marketed in the United States as the All Sport. Although similar to most minivans on the market, the All Sport was mildly restyled and marketed as a crossover SUV.

This provided a brief sales bump, but the entire minivan market had turned against rear wheel drive by that time. The original MPV was retired after the 1998 model year.


The MPV was replaced for 2000 with a front wheel drive LW platform based on the 626. This second-generation MPV was much more traditional, with sliding rear doors and front wheel drive. Some differentiating factors included a rear seat that folded flat into the floor and rear-door windows that rolled down.

Mazda MPV

The MPV was initially underpowered, using the Mazda AJ (which was actually Ford’s Duratec) 2.5 L V6. This was replaced in a 2002 refresh with Mazda’s AJ 3.0 L V6 and a 5-speed automatic transmission that produces 200 horsepower and 200 lb-ft. of torque. Also updated at this time were the grille, which now was larger, with a single chrome bar at the top rather than a full surround.

The look was refreshed again in 2004, with a more aggressive look and new headlights and taillights.

With the upcoming introduction of the Mazda5 and CX-7 to the North America, analysts predict that Mazda may eliminate the MPV, since it does not need three Mazda minivans in the same market.


2000-2001 2.0 L FS-DE I4 (non-US)

2000-2001 2.5 L GY-DE I4 (non-US)

2000-2001 2.5 L AJ V6

2002-2005 3.0 L AJ V6

Mazda MPV
Mazda MPV
Mazda MPV
Mazda MPV
Mazda MPV

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