1997 Mazda MPV

  • 1997 Mazda MPV Base Passenger Minivan

    Base Passenger Minivan

    • MAX MPG
    • SEATS
    • ENGINE
      3.0L V6
    • MSRP
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1997 Mazda MPV Review

A multi-purpose vehicle that's perfect for people with active lifestyles.

Reviewed by Automotive on


The 1997 Mazda MPV is short for ""Multi-Purpose Vehicle,"" and is a minivan with sedan-like comfort and ride quality. In 1996, an exterior redesign made it look more like a sport-utility vehicle. Marketing soon began to market it as a sport utility van to catch a piece of that burgeoning market niche.

The Range

Body Styles: van
Engines: 3.0-liter V-6
Transmissions: four-speed automatic
Models: Mazda MPV LX, Mazda MPV ES

What's New

The 1997 Mazda MPV now offers four-wheel anti-lock brakes as a standard include on all models. With the exception of the two-wheel-drive LX model, all models now have an All Sport trim, which has a grille guard, flared fenders, a roof rack, alloy wheels, stone guard, special graphics, polished wheels, and a rear bumper guard.


The 1997 Mazda MVP is somewhat shorter in length than the standard Dodge Caravan. All models ride a 110.4 wheelbase with 15-inch standard tires. Trim levels were streamlined in 1996, and for 1997, the DX is discontinued. The luxury ES and equipped LX are the two remaining trims.


The 1997 Mazda MPV LX come standard with eight passenger seating whereas the ES models seat seven passengers. Wide and super comfortable bucket seats are up front, and the cabin is well equipped and cozy. Visibility from the driver’s seat is terrific, while the instrument panel is simple to understand but ergonomically off. The sliding heater controls and the buttons for rear wipers and differential locks are not easily reachable from the driver’s seat. The base model comes standard with power windows, mirrors and locks, air-conditioning, AM/FM radio with cassette player, power steering, tilt wheel, and cruise control. Options include rear air-conditioning, keyless entry system, and floor mats.

Performance & Handling

The 1997 Mazda MPV is equipped with a three-liter V-6 engine that accelerates nicely. The performance of four-wheel-drive models may be slightly hindered by the extra weight. Fuel economy isn’t all that strong in the four-wheel drive vans either. The four-speed automatic transmission is the lone available transmission choice. The shift lever is steering wheel mounted, which expands legroom and leaves space for a variety of items between the front seats. One advantage of four-wheel-drive models is the fact that optimal low-speed traction can be achieved through the dashboard switch that locks center differential.


All 1997 Mazda MPV’s come standard with four-wheel anti-lock brakes, driver and passenger front airbags, and fog lights. NHTSA crash test ratings gave four stars for both driver and passenger safety in frontal impact crashes.

EPA Fuel Economy

Mazda MPV LX two-wheel-drive: 16/21 mpg city/highway
Mazda MPV LX four-wheel drive: 15/19 mpg city/highway

You'll Like

  • Four doors
  • Seven passenger vehicle
  • Available as two-wheel drive and four-wheel drive
  • Towing capacity of two-wheel drive

You Won't Like

  • Overweight
  • Overpriced
  • Underpowered

Sum Up

A multi-purpose vehicle that's perfect for people with active lifestyles.

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