Mazda’s minivan MPV is unchanged for 2005. A “mini” van in the true sense of the word, this agile and attractive little people-mover is offered in a single wheelbase length that’s smaller than a short-wheelbase Dodge Caravan. It doesn’t have the interior space of the bigger minivans, but it’s easier to manoeuvre and park.

The MPV comes in GX, GS and GT trim lines, all with seven-passenger seating. All are powered by a 3.0-litre engine that comes from Ford and provides acceleration and power that’s better than many larger competitors.

The GX offers disc/drum brakes, variable intermittent wipers, 15-inch steel wheels, power heated mirrors, CD player with six speakers and wheel-mounted controls, front air conditioning, independent rear heater with separate controls, tilt wheel, power locks, power windows, manual flip-out rear quarter windows, and height-adjustable driver’s seat.

The GS adds four-wheel disc brakes with ABS, 16-inch alloy wheels, privacy glass, cruise control, keyless entry, engine immobilizer with anti-theft alarm, and upgraded cloth seats.

The GT adds traction control, 17-inch alloy wheels, power sunroof, six-CD changer with nine speakers, rear air conditioning, leather interior, leather-wrapped wheel, eight-way power driver’s seat and side airbags.

Even with its smaller footprint, the MPV makes the most of its size. The third row of seats flips and folds away, and the second row can be removed for extra cargo space. Unlike many minivans, the driver’s foot well is wide, which makes for extra comfort on long trips. The sliding-door windows go down, which is rare for a minivan and much appreciated by second-row passengers. The MPV handles more like a car; this is almost more big station wagon than small minivan.

The MPV is built in Hiroshima, Japan.

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