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2003 Mazda MPV

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$841 — $6,341 USED
16
Photos
Passenger Van
7 Seats
21 MPG
(Combined)
Key specs of the base trim
 — 
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2003 Mazda MPV Review

from the Cars.com expert editorial team

Vehicle Overview
Mazda reworked its front-wheel-drive MPV midway through the 2002 model year with engine and performance enhancements. The automaker said its “right-size minivan is reinvigorated with the soul of a sports car.” That’s Mazda’s defining statement for every vehicle in its lineup.

The 3.0-liter V-6 engine generates 200 horsepower vs. the previous MPV’s 170 hp. A five-speed-automatic transmission incorporates Slope Control, which stays in fourth gear to avoid unnecessary shifts while climbing. A recalibrated performance-oriented suspension is supposed to reduce body lean without negatively affecting ride comfort. Mazda claims that the MPV is lighter in weight than its competitors, and it has a “trimmer exterior” to yield more responsive handling and easier parking.

Two trim levels are available: the base LX and upscale ES. Changes for 2003 include a newly available DVD entertainment system, electric sliding side doors that are optional for both models, and standard 17-inch alloy wheels for the ES.

Exterior
Appearance changes to the MPV in 2002 were minimal. Riding a 111.8-inch wheelbase, it stretches to 187.8 inches long overall and is slightly shorter in length than the Dodge Caravan. The LX rides 16-inch alloy wheels. A power glass moonroof is optional.

Interior
Seating for seven occupants is provided, with captain’s chairs in the front and middle rows. The second-row’s Side-by-Slide bucket seats not only slide fore and aft but also together to create the equ...

Vehicle Overview
Mazda reworked its front-wheel-drive MPV midway through the 2002 model year with engine and performance enhancements. The automaker said its “right-size minivan is reinvigorated with the soul of a sports car.” That’s Mazda’s defining statement for every vehicle in its lineup.

The 3.0-liter V-6 engine generates 200 horsepower vs. the previous MPV’s 170 hp. A five-speed-automatic transmission incorporates Slope Control, which stays in fourth gear to avoid unnecessary shifts while climbing. A recalibrated performance-oriented suspension is supposed to reduce body lean without negatively affecting ride comfort. Mazda claims that the MPV is lighter in weight than its competitors, and it has a “trimmer exterior” to yield more responsive handling and easier parking.

Two trim levels are available: the base LX and upscale ES. Changes for 2003 include a newly available DVD entertainment system, electric sliding side doors that are optional for both models, and standard 17-inch alloy wheels for the ES.

Exterior
Appearance changes to the MPV in 2002 were minimal. Riding a 111.8-inch wheelbase, it stretches to 187.8 inches long overall and is slightly shorter in length than the Dodge Caravan. The LX rides 16-inch alloy wheels. A power glass moonroof is optional.

Interior
Seating for seven occupants is provided, with captain’s chairs in the front and middle rows. The second-row’s Side-by-Slide bucket seats not only slide fore and aft but also together to create the equivalent of a bench seat. The Tumble-Under third-row seat folds completely into the floor. Maximum cargo capacity totals up to 127 cubic feet.

Dual sliding side doors are standard, and power operation is optional. The windows in the sliding doors can be lowered — a feature found in the previous MPV but not available in competitive minivans.

Standard equipment includes air conditioning, a remote entry system, cruise control and rear privacy glass. The LX has a CD player and cloth interior. The ES adds leather-trimmed seats, rear air conditioning, side-impact airbags and an eight-way power driver’s seat. An in-dash six-CD changer and a rear-seat video entertainment system are optional.

Under the Hood
The MPV’s 200-hp, 3.0-liter dual-overhead-cam V-6 engine mates with a five-speed-automatic transmission.

Safety
Antilock brakes with electronic brake-force distribution are standard. Side-impact airbags and traction control are optional in the LX and standard in the ES. The front seat belts include pretensioners.

Driving Impressions
Mazda’s minivan slows down significantly on steep upgrades, but engine noise is modest. The automatic transmission tries hard and reacts promptly. More oomph is evident on gradual inclines, but the MPV doesn’t feel power packed.

Handling is the agile MPV’s foremost virtue. This minivan whips through curves like a capable sedan, and it remains impressively flat. Top-notch steering response is precise and confident. Ride comfort is especially good and exceptionally well controlled. It’s easy to feel the taut suspension, but passengers won’t experience much harshness.

Though it is quiet overall, you can hear road noise and some engine growl when the gas pedal is pushed hard. Wind noise can also get bothersome. The seats feature comfortable cushioning and very good support.

 

Reported by Jim Flammang  for cars.com
From the cars.com 2003 Buying Guide
Posted on 2/26/03

Consumer Reviews

What drivers are saying

4.5
16 reviews — Read All reviews
Exterior Styling
(4.4)
Performance
(4.2)
Interior Design
(4.3)
Comfort
(4.3)
Reliability
(4.5)
Value For The Money
(4.7)

Read reviews that mention:

(5.0)

The Ford engine, 3.0 lt. is excellent, reliable

by Martinez from Los Amgeles on June 12, 2018

Best I have ever owned, took a few trips to northern Mexico, very reliable, never had a problem. Very roomy, good for an extended family Read full review

(4.0)

Replacement for my Dodge Grand Caravan

by Mustangconnor from Surrey, BC on June 3, 2018

I lost my 2007 Dodge Grand Caravan to a lady whose runaway vehicle had no brakes when she hit me. I bought a used 2003 Mazda MPV DX with just over 100,000 miles to pull our pop-up trailer and second ... Read full review

Safety

Recalls and crash tests

Recalls

The 2003 Mazda MPV currently has 0 recalls


Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

The 2003 Mazda MPV has not been tested.

Latest 2003 MPV Stories

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The MPV received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker

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