At $4,500, Is This 1992 Mazda MPV a True MVP?

Unlike a lot of minivans of the era, Mazda’s first family hauler offered swinging doors in place of sliders.

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Today’s Nice Price or No Dice Mazda MPV is being offered by the seller for their mom. We should all be nice to our moms, but that doesn’t mean we’re not going to pass judgment on this old-school minivan’s price.

Buying a manual transmission car before you know how to drive a stick is sort of like buying a house with a pool with the plan in mind to eventually learn how to swim. What if you don’t enjoy it? What if you’re too uncoordinated to pull it off?

Yesterday’s 2005 Subaru Legacy GT sported a manual, and the reason given for the sale was the need for an automatic for the seller’s wife. Their loss is somebody’s gain since the car looked to be in pretty decent shape and had respectably low miles. At $8,500, that worked for most of you, earning the Legacy a solid 70 percent Nice Price win.


Like stick shifts, minivans really aren’t that big a thing anymore. Sure, there are a few available, but not the cornucopia that once existed. Minivans have been around since the ‘50s, at least, despite the odd opinion of the unwashed masses that the concept was invented by Chrysler in the 1980s. In truth, before there was the Dodge Caravan and Plymouth Voyager, there were VW Type 2s, Chevy Corvans, Ford Falcon Club Wagons, and even Dodge’s own A100. All of these were of a similar size and capacity as the FWD Chrysler vans, but for whatever reason, lots of people imagine the Minivan got its start during the 1980s.

It was in fact, more of a renaissance, and by the early 1990s every automaker worth its salt needed to have a minivan in its lineup. For many of the Japanese manufacturers, this was a fairly simple task. Nissan, Toyota, and Mitsubishi simply repurposed home-market cab-over vans for U.S. consumption. Mazda took a different tack, however. Instead of leveraging an existing JDM model or cookie-cutting the FWD/sliding side door Chryslers, it built a special three-row van designed specifically for the American market. Mazda based it on the 929 platform, which allowed for V6 power and the option of AWD at a time when other manufacturers were only able to make do with four- and two-wheel drive.


Mazda’s first minivan, the MPV was different in another way too. Back in the ‘80s and before, almost all minivans had four doors — including the one in the back. That means no access to the rear seating area from the driver’s side. The MPV followed this formula, but instead of having a sliding door for rear passengers, it had a more traditional swinging door with available movable glass. Later models would get an additional door on the off-side in certain markets, but it wasn’t until the completely redesigned second-generation model that it received sliders.


According to the ad, this two-tone green and silver 1992 Mazda MPV has been owned by the seller’s family since new and was the whip of choice for the seller’s mom. It sports a clean title and a modest 99,734 miles on the clock. The paint isn’t in all that great of shape, showing a serious breakdown of the top coat on most of the horizontal surfaces along with significant patches of fading undercoat around that. On the plus side, the handsome factory alloy wheels look to be in great shape and it looks to have all its trim and lights.


For the van’s age, the interior looks spectacular. Leather upholstery covers all three rows in a fancy two-tone that matches the plastics of the dash and door cards. Only the third row shows significant wear, likely owed to egress challenges. It still looks comfy as heck back there. There are also power windows and locks, and A/C. All the comforts of home.

Motivation is by way of a 3.0-liter SOHC V6 with three valves per cylinder. According to the factory, that makes 150 horsepower and 170 lb-ft of torque. Mated to that is a JATCO four-speed automatic. The van is rear-wheel drive only.


The ad claims the van “Runs and drives excellent” and says that it has a new radiator and hoses plus four original keys. The tires are also said to be nearly new, with “95%” of their tread left.


Who might gravitate to a cool old minivan like this? Wait a minute, did I just say “cool old minivan?” Yep, minivans are cool. Get over it. The question is: could this one be worth $4,500?

What do you say? Could this MPV find a new home at that $4,500 asking? Or, is this minivan saddled with a maxi-price?


You decide!


Facebook Marketplace out of Downey, California, or go here if the ad disappears.

H/T to Don R. for the hookup!

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