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What Car? says

3 out of 5 stars

For The Premacy is a reliable, well equipped and soft-riding MPV

Against It won't excite you, and rivals offer greater flexibility and refinement

Verdict It could be more practical, but it's cheap to own and should run and run

Go for… The 2.0-litre petrol if you can afford it; otherwise a 1.8

Avoid… The slow and noisy diesel, despite its tempting fuel economy

Mazda Premacy MPV
  • 1. Rear seats can be removed to create a generous load space, but you'll need somewhere to store them
  • 2. Listen out for the heat shield protecting the fuel tank, as it has been known to come loose and clatter
  • 3. The diesel engine has plenty of low-rev grunt, but it can get breathless at higher speeds
  • 4. The dashboard is dreary and the driving position would benefit from a reach-adjustable steering wheel
  • 5. If you can stretch to it, go for the 2.0-litre petrol rather than the 1.8
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Mazda Premacy MPV full review with expert trade views

'Dull but worthy' sums it up nicely.

The Premacy came as both a five- and a seven-seater, with the two rearmost seats removable in the latter. Once these seats are out, there's a generous load space, but you'll have to find somewhere to store them. The rival Vauxhall's Zafira's fold-flat rear seats are far more user-friendly.

You don't get any Renault Scenic-style hidden storage bins in the Premacy, either, although there is some stowage space around the driver. On the positive side, the controls are logically laid out, with chunky switches and buttons for all the major systems, but the dashboard is dreary and the driving position would be much better if the steering wheel was reach-adjustable.

The drive puts comfort first, which is no bad thing in an MPV, although that does mean it's not great fun when just the driver's on board. The Premacy copes well with most bumps and makes a cosseting motorway cruiser, but there's too much wind and road noise, plenty of body roll through corners and poor front-end grip.

Trade view

Martin Keighley

Not a popular buy new so few around. Reliable

Martin Keighley
Valuations expert,
What Car? Used Car Price Guide

The Premacy originally came with 99- and 113bhp 1.8-litre petrol engines. A 99bhp 2.0-litre diesel quickly followed and the more powerful 1.8 petrol was replaced with a 129bhp 2.0-litre unit in November 2001.

Even the 1.8s are reasonably flexible, but if you regularly travel with five on board, it's worth spending a bit more and getting the 2.0-litre petrol. As for the diesel, it offers plenty of low-end shove, but can get breathless at higher speeds. It's also noisy all the time, whereas the petrols are refined.

All models are fitted with six airbags and three-point seatbelts for everyone, but diesel cars miss out on the traction control system fitted to petrols.

Other standard equipment includes all-round electric windows, an alarm and remote central locking, but GSi, GSE and Sport trims have climate control instead of the basic air-conditioning fitted to other models. GXE and GSE-trimmed versions have seven seats, while the rest have five.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Not in great demand, 1.8 GSI the easiest to retail

James Ruppert
Used car guru

The Premacy was a slow seller as a new, but this limited demand is good news for second-hand buyers because it means prices are low.

Running costs should be reasonable, too. Our favourite engine, the 2.0-litre petrol, is the least fuel-efficient option - along with the 113bhp 1.8 it replaced - yet it still averages 33.6mpg. The 99bhp 1.8 is hardly any better at 34.0mpg on the combined cycle, but the diesel is far and away the most economical, at 49.6mpg.

The 1.8s and 2.0-litre diesel also attract a modest group 6 insurance rating, while most 2.0-litre petrol models sits in group 7. The one exception is the group 8-rated Sport trim.

Finally, Mazda dealers have some of the quickest repair times out there and their hourly rates generally undercut those of rival manufacturers. It's worth shopping around to make sure you get the best deal come servicing time, although you're unlikely to save more than a few quid by going to an independent Mazda specialist rather than a franchised dealer.

Trade view

Martin Keighley

Not a popular buy new so few around. Reliable

Martin Keighley
Valuations expert,
What Car? Used Car Price Guide

Mazdas tend to perform well in the annual JD Power Customer Satisfaction Survey and, according to information supplied to us by Warranty Direct, the company makes some of the most reliable cars around. The Premacy is a prime example.

Some interior trim rattles have been reported and the heat shield protecting the fuel tank has been known to come loose and clatter. As a result, cars built before June 2000 were recalled to have the rivets that secure it replaced.

However, that's about as serious as the problems seem to get, and all we'd recommend is that you check any used car hasn't suffered too much from years of family (ab)use.

Likewise, it's worth paying attention to servicing records, and you want to get a car with a full history, but with timely maintenance and a bit of TLC, it could very well outlast your need for an MPV.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Not in great demand, 1.8 GSI the easiest to retail

James Ruppert
Used car guru
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