New Car Review
1995 MAZDA MILLENIA S SEDAN
by: BILL RUSS
SEE ALSO:Mazda Buyer's Guide
The Millenia is the newest nameplate in the Mazda lineup. It follows the Mazda tradition of automotive products which feature innovative design and engineering concepts as well as precise fit and finish. Its flagship sports car, the RX-7, is the only car in current production to be powered by the Wankel rotary engine, and the S version of the new Millenia is the first passenger car to utilize the Miller-cycle engine. It is a unique variation of the normal four-stroke engine that uses a supercharger and revised valve timing to develop both increased power and fuel economy.
The Millenia is also an example of adversity turned to advantage. The adversity: Not too long ago Mazda was developing a separate, upscale division similar to those of other Japanese manufacturers. About that time the world economy took a nosedive, and although Mazda had the car, its potential market had greatly diminished. The project was cancelled. The advantage: With the car well under development, but without an expensive separate marketing network, Mazda could maintain its built-in quality, and distribute it through established dealerships at a substantially lower price. Thus the Millenia arose from the ashes.
APPEARANCE: While this all-new model is a blend of many familiar Mazda design features, it is designed to be uniquely Millenia. Its proportions are wide, sleek and low, and were selected for air flow efficiency (a Cd of .29) as well as increased cabin size and passenger space. From the front it displays a stylish grille and a host of integral wrap-around lighting. From the side its rounded wedge shape is apparent, and is set off by low-profile speed-rated tires mounted on multi-spoke alloy wheels. From the back its tall rounded rear deck is highlighted by prominent stop, turn and back-up lights.
COMFORT: The Millinea S is a luxury car that is designed to keep the driver and passengers comfortable, aware and alert. All of the expected convenience items are included in the S model, and about the only option is the upgrade Bose audio system with the trunk-mounted six-disc CD changer. Standard items include comfort-designed power adjustable front seats, leather upholstery, walnut wood console trim, glass sunroof, power windows, mirrors and locks, and remote keyless entry. Among additional features are a quiet climate control system with rear seat ducting, cruise control, a leather- covered power-tilt steering wheel, and easy-to-read instruments and controls.
SAFETY: The Millenia S is fitted with a full complement of active and passive safety features, many of which are not required by the government until the 1997 model year. On the active side it is designed for accident avoidance with surefooted handling, excellent powertrain characteristics, very good braking qualities and great all-around vision. Passive features include dual front airbags and three-point seat belts, a sturdy passenger cabin with reinforced pillars, headers, and bulkheads, plus under-floor frame rails designed to distribute crash energy, along with front and rear crush zones.
ROADABILITY: Crisp and precise concisely describe the Millenia's road handling capability. It is the result of engine-speed-sensing variable power assisted rack-and-pinion steering, a newly-designed multi-link independent suspension system, four-wheel disc brakes with ABS, as well as a stable chassis platform. A luxury-car quiet ride is due to extensive use of sound-deadening materials throughout the cabin area, plus weatherstripping near-flush glass, and very close tolerance door and body panels.
PERFORMANCE: The Millenia S is equipped with the smaller displacement and more powerful 2.3 liter, 24 valve, double overhead cam V6 Miller-cycle engine. This unique package delivers 210 horsepower and 210 pound-feet of torque, which is the amount of power normally expected from a conventional 3.3 liter engine. This torque is 1.5 times higher and the fuel efficiency is between 10 and 15 percent greater than a similar size conventional engine. The Miller-cycle powerplant's increased performance is due to the use of a Lysholm compressor and its related fittings, plus revised valve timing. Power to the front wheels is via Mazda's latest electronically controlled four-speed automatic transmission featuring automatically selected Normal and Sport shift models. A convenient Hold mode can be used for constant power in traffic or on upgrades, and for compression on downgrades.
CONCLUSION: Mazda has turned adversity to advantage with its new Millenia S luxury sedan. Using proven principles and innovative technology, and working to close tolerance in a new production facility, it has produced a viable new entry in the crowded luxury car market.
1995 MAZDA MILLENIA S SEDAN
Base Price $ 31,400 Price As Tested $ 33,025 Engine Type V-6, dohc - 24 v, mpfi, Miller-Cycle Engine Size 2.3 liter/138 cid Horsepower 210 @ 5300 Torque (ft/lbs) 210 @ 3500 Wheelbase/Length 108"/190" Transmission four speed auto w/od Curb Weight 3400 Pounds per Horsepower 16 Fuel Capacity 18 Fuel Requirement Unleaded premium (92 oct) Tire Michelin XGT V4 P215/55R16 91V M+S Brake anti-lock standard disc/disc Drive Train front engine/front drive PERFORMANCE EPA Economy - miles per gallon, city/highway/observed 20/28/22.9 0 to 60 mph 7.9 sec 1/4 mi (E.T.) 16.0 sec Coefficient of drag (cd) .29