Mazda For 1997
By Carey Russ
Highlights of the Mazda line for 1997 include the MPV All- Sport, a redesigned Prot‚g‚, and minor changes to the 626, Millenia, Miata, MX-6, and B-Series pickup trucks.
The Mazda MPV minivan has been available in 4-wheel drive form since shortly after its introduction in 1989, making it an attractive alternative to a sport-utility for people who live in or travel to inclement climates. The All-Sport appearance package was introduced as an option late last year. Capitalizing on the popularity of the sport- utility look, the All-Sport package includes a grille guard, stone guard, fender flares, body cladding, and larger wheels and tires. All 4-wheel drive MPVs and rear-wheel drive ES models will come in All-Sport trim for 1997.
All MPV models feature four swing-out doors for easy access and a 3.0-liter V6 engine. Because of its rear- or four-wheel drive, the MPV is better suited for towing than most minivans.
The Prot‚g‚ has more interior space than other cars in its class, and one of the largest trunks. And, under the hood of the sporty ES models is a slightly detuned Miata engine. Three trim levels, DX, LX, and ES, are offered. All have new front styling and a revised interior for 1997.
Mazda's sporty but practical mid-sized 626 is the mainstay of the company's line. It is designed to appeal to a wide range of people. Available in two trim levels with a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine and two trim levels with a 2.5-liter V6, the 626 has gotten a freshening of the front end styling this year. The V6 engine has more horsepower, and a limited-edition appearance package is offered on the LX model.
The stylish Flat Rock, Michigan - built MX-6 sports coupe comes with a choice of 2.0-liter 4-cylinder or 2.5-liter V6 engines. The V6 has more power this year, and all models so equipped now have a rear spoiler.
At the top of the Mazda product line is the Millenia luxury sports sedan. Offered with a 2.5-liter V6 or in upscale trim with an innovative 2.3-liter Miller-cycle V6, all Millenias get new headlights and wheels this year. There have also been refinements to the interior.
A couple of years ago, the Miata stood alone as the only affordable sports roadster sold in this country. Several other manufacturers now offer similar cars, but at substantially higher prices than the Miata. The Miata remains the best-selling two-seat roadster in the world. For 1997, a new Touring Package has been added that includes popular comfort and convenience options.
Mazda's American-made pickup line is available as the B2300 with a 2.3-liter 4-cylinder engine or as the B4000, with a 4-liter V6. Two trim levels are offered for 1997, base and SE. B4000 models can be had with a 5-speed automatic transmission.
Regular cab, extended-cab, and 2- or 4-wheel drive models are available.