Mazda For 2001
By Carey Russ
After several quiet years, Mazda is busy. It has its first sport-utility in several years with the new Tribute, and the Millenia luxury sedan, B-Series pickup, and Miata sports car have significant revisions for 2001. Look for a new version of the small Protege sedan to have some surprises when it debuts. The MPV minivan was all-new last year.
Like many other small SUVs, the 2001 Mazda Tribute has a unit-construction chassis and fully-independent suspension for car-like ride and handling characteristics. And it has SUV style, space, and interior versatility. But it is a Mazda, and all Mazdas have a little bit of the soul of a Miata in them. This means that the Tribute's suspension is tuned to combine comfort with sporty handling, and that it has a little more performance than is common in the small sport-ute class. The standard 130-hp 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine is energetic, but the available 3.0-liter V6's 200 horsepower eclipses almost everything else in the class. The Tribute holds five people, and features a flip-and-fold rear split bench seat with reclining seat backs. Three trim levels are offered, with a choice of front-wheel drive or a sophisticated all-wheel drive system.
Mazda's luxury sedan has seen little change since its introduction in 1994, but it's a new millennium, and so there is a new Millenia. It has more contemporary styling outside and a new interior with more luxury and comfort features. Increased chassis rigidity and a revised four-wheel multilink independent suspension give it a quieter ride and sportier handling. A 170-hp 2.5-liter V6 powers the regular model, while the Millenia S continues to use the innovative "Miller Cycle" 210-hp, 2.3-liter V6.
More is better when its horsepower in a sports car, and the Miata gets 15 more horses under its hood for 2001 courtesy of a new variable valve timing system for its now 155-horsepower 1.8-liter engine. A six-speed manual gearbox, previously offered only for a limited-production model, is now available for the LS model. Chassis rigidity has been increased and the brakes are larger. The front styling is subtly new, with a Mazda five-point air intake being the major change.
The three models of Mazda's B-Series compact pickup have freshened exterior and interior styling and more power for 2001. The B4000 has a new 4.0-liter V6 with 207 horsepower, 45 more than last year. The B3000's 3.0-liter V6 is boosted to 150 horsepower, and the entry-level B2300 has new 140-hp 2.3-liter four. Three trim levels, cab choices including regular and both two- and four-door extended, and two- and four-wheel drive give the B-Series broad appeal. The new Dual Sport model has 4x4 styling and ground clearance and a 4x2 drive train.
Mazda Specifications 2001 Tribute ENGINE 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder Peak horsepower: 130 @ 5400 rpm Peak torque, lb-ft: 135 @ 4500 rpm 3.0-liter V6 Peak horsepower: 200 @ 6000 rpm Peak torque, lb-ft: 200 @ 4750 rpm DRIVE TRAIN Front-engine, front- or all-wheel drive 4 - speed automatic, V6 only 5 - speed manual, I4 only CHASSIS & SUSPENSION Unit construction Front suspension: independent MacPherson strut Rear suspension: independent multilink BRAKES Disc/drum, antilock standard EPA ESTIMATED FUEL ECONOMY City / Highway: I4: 22/26; V6: 18/24 Fuel tank: I4: 15.3; V6: 16.4 gallons Millenia ENGINE 2.5-liter V6 Peak horsepower: 170 @ 5800 rpm Peak torque, lb-ft: 160 @ 4800 rpm 2.3-liter supercharged Miller-cycle V6 Peak horsepower: 210 @ 5300 rpm Peak torque, lb-ft: 210 @ 3500 rpm DRIVE TRAIN Front-engine, front-wheel drive 4 - speed automatic CHASSIS & SUSPENSION Unit construction Front suspension: independent multilink strut Rear suspension: independent multilink BRAKES 4-wheel antilock disc EPA ESTIMATED FUEL ECONOMY City / Highway: 20/27 Fuel tank: 18 gallons