The Mazda Premacy is a compact MPV that has been in production since 1999. Now in its third generation, its Japanese technical gadgetry and construction make it one of the leading marques in its class, on the forecourt. The body shape throughout its history has always stuck rigidly to its sweeping aerofoil shape and long flowing lines that cut the air.
The Premacy is based on the standard Mazda station wagon chassis and, if desired, its second and third rows of seats are easily stowed away to make a spacious commercial vehicle. After 10 years, it received its third facelift with the launch of the Mazda5 at the Geneva Car Show in 2010. While much of the Premacy remained the same, it received an overall softening of its shape, with a new front grille and bumper.
Over time, Mazda has designed six trims for the Premacy, including the entry-level Atlantis, GXi, nippy Sport, GSi, GXE, and the GSE at the top of the range. The cockpit possesses plenty of legroom and has comfortably positioned, adjustable seats, and the raking steering wheel gives lots of options for personal settings. The dashboard is a little on the simple side when compared to similar models but has all the essential controls, laid out in an easy-to-view format.
Engine performance in the Premacy is offered with either the 115BHP 1.8L petrol or the 2.0i diesel engine, while gearboxes are available in the 6-speed manual and 5-speed automatic in the Touring and Grand Touring versions.
The 2.0L diesel offers the best performance overall, especially when cruising ahead on long highway trips. The eco-friendly Hydrogen RE Hybrid has been on the market since 2007 and runs equally as well on hydrogen or petrol. Its additional 110-litre gas tank gives extra mileage to the 60-litre petrol tank.
For fuel economy, both manual and automatic come out with an average of 10L/100km around the city, the highway results drop to 7.0 and 7.8L/100km respectively. The acceleration of the Premacy goes from 0 to 100 km/h in 10.5 seconds and has an average combined range of 716km. The CO2 emission ratings for the vehicle come out at a level of 178.6gCO2/km for the normal petrol engines.
The interior does exhibit the occasional wind and road noise at higher speeds, especially the diesels, but this can be cut down by installing double thickness window seals. There are also issues over reduced feedback through the steering wheel as to car handling, although there is little effect on the car’s performance as a result.
All models of Mazda’s latest Premacy come complete with air-con, front and side airbags, remote locking and electric front windows, while the higher spec trims have electric rear windows, traction control and alloy wheels as standard features.
There are a myriad of extras new owners can order and some do come as standard with certain trims. As a family people mover, the addition of Isofix child seat anchors is a welcome sight for some, as is the sunroof for long summer drives. Climate control is available in the Sport and GSE and as an extra in the GSi model.
By the second generation, Mazda introduced another in-car entertainment system screen in the middle seat, making sense as this would be more of interest to rear passengers, especially children, than to the driver. MPV cars are marketed at a family audience and so safety is a valuable commodity; the Premacy receives a creditable three-star ANCAP rating, and with all-round airbags, ABS and traction control, it provides a safe environment for driver and passengers alike.
The Premacy’s main opposition in the MPV market includes the Opal Zaphira, Toyota Ipsum, Renault Scenic and Citroen Xsara Picasso. It also has the Ford DMAX as a distant cousin being built to the same form on the Mazda architecture. The Premacy doesn’t include the additional, novel storage bins of the likes of the Renault Scenic, and its rear seats are not as responsive as the ones in the Opal Zaphira.
Where the Premacy does score high is on driver and passenger comfort, with both interior space and its feel on the road providing a leisurely ride. It copes well with uneven roads and its performance over long trips is more than a match for its rivals. The Premacy isn’t the top-of-the-range MPV but for its price, you get a well-equipped, spacious, comfortable, and cost-effective car.
Its residuals perhaps do not hold up as well as the competition, but its price in the second-hand market makes the Premacy a bargain purchase; it’s definitely a MPV worth taking a look at.