Pros: smaller van styling, side/rear windows roll down, cheaper than same equipped Honda Odyssey
Cons: Poor gas mileage, only 1 teather strap holder for childrens seats, poor service
We bought our used 2000 MAZDA MPV ES in August 2002 prior to my wife having our third child. I currently own a 2002 Honda Odyssey EXL for work and prior to the MPV we had a 2000 VW Passat. Our children are 3 ?, 2 and now 3 months old. We tried the two toddlers seats and a baby seat in the Passat and they couldnt sit the seats straight without rubbing each other. We considered our options and found that really to fit three car seats, a stroller and two diaper bags, a van was the only safe and viable option.
When we purchased the MPV, we liked specific features some that were similar to the Odyssey.
fold down rear seat, middle seats that slide
together and also become captain chairs
smaller than the Odyssey and easy to get in and
out of the garage,
poor gas mileage
4 speed transmission on 00 and 01 models quirky
and shifts intermittently
wind noise from the sunroof
difficult to clean carpets due to carpet fibre
driver seat feels flimsy when cornering, the seat
itself shifts and moves (Im not even 200 pounds)
only one possible child anchor (Mazda has added
one for each seat on 2002 models)
Once we brought our new Baby the MPV home and started loading it, we were really disappointed. It seams that the 2000 model does not have child safety anchors for the middle seats. The only anchor it has is for the rear seat in the middle position. This means that in order to secure any child seat (required for children up to around 6) only one can be secured and only in the very back. I contacted Mazda and they agreed there was only one position. My new born doesnt have this concern yet as he is still in a rear facing position in his baby seat/carrier.
The gas mileage has been a big concern. In comparing the Honda Odyssey and Mazda MPV, the gas mileage is supposed to be almost identical. Living in Canada and with Kilometres, I get almost 125 more kilometres per tank with my Odyssey than my Mazda. Mazda head office insists that one cant compare two different makes and models. I asked why the government of Canada publishes a gas consumption guide for all light trucks and passenger cars. They told me that mileage ratings are never accurate. The week before the 3 year/60Km warrantee expired, they finally changed the IRC valve as their attempt to fix the problem and it didnt do anything. I still only get 360Km per tank with ? of that constant highway driving.
When purchasing the vehicle, we were a little leery of the CD changer being in the dashboard and whether we would have problems down the road. Sure enough, a month after we purchased the van and 10 minutes down the road on a family trip out of town, the changer jammed and ate our CDs. The result was two visits to the Mazda dealer to have them inspect it, order a new one and a revisit to have the new one installed.
My experience with the local Mazda dealer has also been very disappointing. Being a beige MPV, the carpets are not forgiving for any dirt or wear. The three times I have had my van into the Mazda dealer, the leather seats, mats and carpet have all had shop grease on them when the van was picked up. After the first time, I mentioned it to the service advisor and he cleaned it off personally. On my second visit to the dealer, I mentioned it to the Service manager and asked him to make sure everything was covered. He assured me. Picked it up and again, grease all over. The third time, I called him ahead of time to let him know I would be coming in and to make sure the van was returned clean. Same thing again and never has he once apologized for the lack of seat covers, floor mat paper or care. I called the general manager of the Mazda dealer and he apologized and offered me a free car detailing in the future and said he would mail out a letter and coupon immediately. Never once received anything. After speaking to several other customers of that Mazda dealer, they all get their cars back after service with grease and dirt in them due to no protection of the interior being used.
I have since contacted Mazda about my problems with service and their response was that they would note my comments in my file and that if they got many complaints about the dealer, they would then do something.
I experienced some confusion with the rear heater/air operation. The manual is very vague on front/rear controls for rear heat as there is only a fan control in the front for the rear. I contacted the dealer. Not even their shop foreman knew whether the front controls operated just a fan or the heating or air conditioner. When I contacted Mazda, they too werent sure either.
Since calling Mazda about my problems, my Mazda 3 year /60KM warrantee has expired on the minor components. My warrantee expired on Sunday December 15th, the same day my rear heater stopped working. I contacted Mazda the next morning and they said I was out of luck. I mentioned that I had tried to contact the dealer on the Sunday and they were closed. Mazda head office told me it was unfortunate I was one day over the warrantee.
Between my wife and I, weve owned 10 Hondas and have always been pleased with the excellence in product and service weve received from two different dealers. It looks like the next vehicle we purchase will be a Honda again even though slightly more expensive. I know that probably 9 out of 10 owners are thrilled with their van. Im probably a minority. Hopefully the van wont cause me many more problems throughout the time that we have it. How long I cant even guess at this point!!!