New Car/Review

WOMAN ON WHEELS: 1999 Mazda Millenia

By Laura Heilig - The Car Chick

Mazda has earned a reputation as a manufacturer of good economy cars (Protégé, 626), sports cars (RX7, Miata), unique vehicles (MPV minivan), and the luxurious Millenia. The Millenia is as nice a luxury car as you can find, and at a reasonable price. It's unique, but Mazda is famous for building unique vehicles. And as a teacher, I'm not thrilled about the unique spelling of Millenia, but if Mazda wants to continue to use that name on a car like this, they have my permission.

DRESS

The interior of the Millenia is accented with bright chrome. It adds class to what could be a compact class car. At first glance you think you're sitting in an Infiniti. Interior upholstery was beige leather. The seats were lighter in color than the dash and steering wheel, etc., but it was a combination that looked good. I liked the white background of the gauges.

The exterior was snow white with pearl and sand underneath. The bright chrome wheel covers added a nice touch.

This was a comfortable roomy car all around. I liked the feel of the steering wheel and the legroom in the driver's seat. It was very easy to find and use the controls.

Millenia has a large trunk and also has a "pass through" if you want to carry long objects such as skis without leaving them outside in the elements or messing up the exterior look of the car with something line a ski rack.

ACCESSORIES

I was disappointed with some of the accessories in the Mazda Millenia. For example, the remote keyless entry didn't unlock very well. I had to push the button several times to make it work.

The radio with CD and cassette was a sharp upgrade, but it didn't have much range. For example, I couldn't pull in my local stations when I drove slightly out of range. Other cars have radios that can pull in the local stations from as far away as 50 miles.

Other accessories were excellent, though. For example, the cruise control switches were mounted on the steering wheel, which made them easy to use. There are two cupholders in the console. They are built into each other and fold out. Both can be used at the same time. The console storage unit can hold six or seven CDs. The arm rest storage is neat because it's hidden and because it hides stuff on both sides. It would be a nice feature for the rear doors as well.

I love seat heaters, especially in the winter.

Mazda put the remote trunk and fuel filler release buttons on the door. This is a practical location and once you remember where they are it's then best place for them.

SHOES

The six-cylinder engine in the Millenia looks humungous under the hood. For me, this car definitely has shoes that fit me. I looked forward to getting in the car to drive long distances, like in my morning commute. The Millenia had quick and smooth acceleration and excellent handling.

The only downfall was that it might have been too smooth. For a leadfoot like myself, the acceleration is so solid you don't want to stop. This is a luxury car that drives like a sports sedan.

I averaged around 27 mpg in the Millenia. The EPA numbers are 20 mpg city and 28 mpg highway. Most of my driving was highway driving.

PURSE

The base price for the Mazda Millenia is $31,045. With the options (heated seats, heated mirrors, chrome wheels, Four Seasons package) the bottom line on the sticker was $32,675.

I think this car is priced right for its styling, its comfort, and its drive. I'd pay $32,000 just for the drive alone. The options are worth the extra money because they make life easier in the winter.

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