2001 Mazda MPV 2.0 petrol from UK and Ireland


Rare in the UK, but definitely worth a look


Despite having had only one owner for the preceding ten years, the car showed many signs of neglect. The oil, air and pollen filters were filthy and the coolant a rusty brown. This was quickly rectified.

Because of the lack of oil changes, the famous Mazda piston ring weakness is present. Oil consumption is around 500 miles per litre, with a big cloud of blue smoke on a cold start up. Not worth fixing, so I just top up regularly.

Mazda rust! The rear wheelarches have required repair, and I suspect the rear suspension mountings will need welding at the next MOT. The rear shock absorbers had also rusted, so were replaced with good secondhand parts.

The air conditioning did not work when purchased, but was revived with a £50 recharge.

The front-to-rear coolant pipes rusted out, causing a leak. I bypassed the rear heater at the matrix.

The alternator and power steering/air conditioning belts seem to stretch quite easily, or the adjusting bolts do not stay tight - they require regular tightening or they squeal under load.

The general rarity of the car means getting anything other than service parts is a problem - a blowing exhaust required a custom-made replacement, because there is no aftermarket support and a dealer part would have been over a thousand pounds.

General Comments:

The car was very cheap (£400 with a full MOT) so a lot of the faults can be overlooked.

This car is rare in the UK (but very popular in the US) - despite this I was able to locate a secondhand sliding nearside door in the right colour easily enough (accident damage was one of the reasons it was cheap to buy).

The car is larger than the Ford/VW/SEAT and Citroen/Fiat/Peugeot triplets - a similar size to a Chrysler Voyager. This means you get seven seats that can be used by adults, and a reasonable boot with all of them in place. The five rear seats all come out for a cavernous loadspace.

Despite only having 118 BHP to move nearly 2 tons, performance is better than you might expect. The engine is smooth and willing to rev. Handling and ride are fine. Traction in the wet or out of uphill junctions can be a problem. I have averaged 30 MPG over the last 10,000 miles, which I think is pretty good for mixed use.

Such a shame that Mazda does not galvanise their bodywork. Mind you, the car is 14 years old and has hardly been cossetted, but we have been spoiled by anti-corrosion advances, mainly from the French manufacturers.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 31st October, 2015

28th Jun 2016, 17:12

Original poster. The car sold in June 2016 at 147,000 miles. Still running well, but oil burning/smoke is getting too much to deal with. Rust also beginning to take a hold on top and underneath. Such a shame that Mazda have issues with body corrosion and piston rings, as the car was otherwise superb.

2001 Mazda MPV LX from North America


Good, but a little irritating


Silly things that show it was made cheaply.

Arm rest falls off driver side (but easy enough to reattach, which has to happen every month, since I only hand tighten it).

Seat belt does not retract consistently.

Glove "box" is broken (cheap plastic?).

General Comments:

Unlike the bigger vans, this one drives and stops like a car. The quick braking was paramount for my nightly country driving (critter avoidance). All but Sienna vans flunked this test, so I was ready to take on some less than desirable features in exchange for safety.

Higher than normal clearance for back country roads was another requirement, which this year's MPV has lost, but better than the Odyssey and Caravan.

I love the fold-in seat... even forgot it was there when I had to pick up an extra kid yesterday! Oops, still getting use to this wonderful idea.

I wanted to sleep at trailheads, so the roll down windows are a blessing! It was silly to ever expect back seat sitters to not be able to open windows (Caravans) to get air in when parked. I can throw up screens to keep bugs out and get good ventilation.

I have not dealt with any engine problems, but it seems geared high and it sounds worrisome. Dealership says it is normal. Sometimes it stutters, and sometimes the car hesitates like it is not in gear, but it is rare enough that it is too soon to ask a mechanic.

It is easy to put car in wrong gear, and between gears. I find it hard to see the gear identification, so it is still an effort to make sure I am in D.

It is a van, so I cannot complain about gas mileage, but why can't it be better? I hear the older ones were better.

The seats are NOT comfortable to anyone I have talked to. Front seats are stiff and not shaped well. The back seats are even worse and miserable on trips for anyone except little kids (maybe). Even more unforgivable, the manual shows you how you can remove headrests and recline each seat to make a sleeping platform. I did not expect this feature, so I was not disappointed. This idea was outrageous and the neighborhood had a good laugh. The manuals diagram even showed the correct, far from flat final result. (They did not risk showing how a person could possibly use the end results) It would be more comfortable to sleep sitting up!

I guess I have big feet (size 12). They sometimes hit something getting to the gas pedal. This is not unusual, but a surprise in an American car.

The stereo is thoughtlessly designed and situated. Probably not safe to do anything with it while driving. Some controls are hidden behind gear shift lever, and nothing can be done by touch except change volume.

Heater blows hot, but is hard to get where it is best used. I like warm feet and a cool face. Sometimes my hands are cold. But I never want it drying out my eyes. I seem to have no choice except badly positioned hand warming that will also hit my face.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 14th December, 2010