1989 Mazda MPV Overview
The Mazda MPV was one of the earliest Japanese vans to reach the U.S. market, and among the first to be designed specifically for North American buyers. Built from the ground up and based on Mazda 929 sedan's platform, the MPV was a rear-wheel drive vehicle (until 2000, when it would become a front-wheel-drive), and for the 1989 model year was a three-door vehicle, with two front doors and a third rear door on the passenger side. Unlike many vans of the era, however, the MPV's third door was hinged like a conventional car door, rather than being a sliding door.
The MPV was available with either two-wheel or four-wheel drive. The two-wheel drive version came with either a 121-horsepower, 2.6-liter four-cylinder engine or a 150-horsepower, 3.0-liter V6. The four-wheel-drive model was available with the V6 only. A five-speed manual transmission was standard on the two-wheel-drive models, while a four-speed automatic was standard on the four-wheel-drive version.
Standard features for the MPV included bucket seats, power brakes, a tilt steering wheel, power steering, and a cassette player. Air conditioning, cruise control, power windows, and power door locks were among the options.
Critics were generally positive about the MPV in its first year, and at least one car publication named the vehicle to its 10 Best list for 1989. For the most part, drivers were also positive about the MPV, with many current drivers noting that their vans have held up well over the years and are still running fine.
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