MPVs are tools of transport. They offer generous
space, versatility, with occupant safety high in the
list of priorities. Styling is therefore an important
factor to set one MPV apart from another, performance
less so considering the audience that MPVs attract.
But such is the level of competence available from
car makers these days, SUVs and MPVs have as much driving
dynamics as cars. The Mazda Premacy is one such example.
Sleekness is not usually associated with an MPV,
but in Premacy's case, it possesses one of the more
slippery shapes around, with a profile that is relatively
low slung, if not sporty. Trimmings around the Mazda
are all done tastefully (yes, very little of the dreaded
chrome bits), and the rear light cluster is especially
nice, with no resort to any crystal light treatment,
yet looking throughly contemporary. A handsome minivan
if you ask us.
Based on the 323 platform, the Premacy slots in between
a mini MPV and a full-sized one. While Mazda is happy
to point out that its MPV has the capacity to seat
seven persons, many buyers of the Premacy will no
doubt detach the third row seats altogether to free
up room for luggage, since they do not offer much
legroom to begin with. We're glad to note that removal
and re-attachment of the rear bench is a simple procedure
and can be achieved by one person.
Tipping the scales at only 1330kg, the Premacy is
considered a lightweight in the league of MPVs. With
130bhp from the 2-litre twin cam four-cylinder engine,
the Premacy picks up speed quite effortlessly and
builds up a head of steam even after the national
The driving experience is akin to a hatchback, but
with the bonus of an excellent view out. There is
little pronounced roll or dips when pushed, and the
damping is relatively firm, which also translates
into a less cosseting ride that softer sprung minivans.
More surprising is that the Premacy eschews the trend
of locating instrument displays in the centre of the
dashboard, though the steering column mounted gear
level and foot operated parking brake are obvious
cues that it's a minivan.
The gamut of minivans over recent years has many
spoilt for choice, and Mazda's presence in this segment
has wanted somewhat since the success of the infamous
MPV (the vehicle, not the genre). With lots of kit
(dual airbags, sunroof, body0kit, BS etc), usable
practicality, solid driving dynamics and an attractive
price tag, the Premacy is primed to recapture some
past glories for Mazda.