History of the Millenia
In 1993, Mazda began building a luxury car for sale under the brand name Amati. Other Japanese carmakers had already successfully launched luxury lines: Nissan had its upscale Infiniti line, Toyota was selling the Lexus, and Honda had introduced the Acura. The Mazda-built Millenia was one of three models planned for the upscale Amati line, but it was unfortunate timing for Mazda, as a 2008 downturn in the world-wide economy prevented the launch of the new company.
Mazda was already busy building its first new cars for the luxury market. In 1983, they released the Millenia in Europe as the Mazda Xedos 9 and in Japan and Australia as the Eunos 800. Two years later, the Millenia launched in North America. Because it was developed for a more demanding market than its typical Mazda customers, the Millenia was engineered to a much higher level of perceived quality than Mazda cars of the past. The Millenia featured higher quality interior plastic panels, a tighter fit and finish on exterior body panels, and thicker paint. The Millenia was Built for only nine years, Mazda ending production with the introduction of the 2002 Mazda 6, which was actually a replacement for the Mazda 626.
Features and Performance
The Mazda 2.5L V-6
The Mazda Millenia was a well-built car, and it was a heavy car. It came with a fuel-thirsty 2.5 L (250 cubic inch) V-6 transverse-mounted front-wheel drive engine. The engine only produced about 170 HP, a slight performance hit noticeable in the heavier car. But the Millenia was about luxury more than performance. Three models of the Millenia were offered; the base model, a mid-level, and the top-of-the line "S" model. My Mazda was the mid-line, which featured all the expected comforts of a luxury model: power windows, power door locks, power steering, power assisted anti-lock brakes, traction-control assist, rear-window defogger, intermittent wipers. cruise control, a combination keyless entry- and alarm system, leather seating, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift boot, and heavy weight high-quality carpet.
The leather-wrapped dashboard was clean and streamlined
It also included features not commonly expected. When you shut the car off, the steering column would rise out of the way to give your knees plenty of room to get in and out. It would slide back down into driving position when the key was inserted. The climate control system was thermostatically controlled. Once you set the temperature, you could let it do its thing. The system would adjust automatically, blowing heat to the floor and windshield in Winter and chilled air through the dash vents in Summer. In between, it would adjust the hot-to-cold-air ratio and the blower speed automatically. The Millenia also had tinted windows and a power moonroof.
Comfortable luxury cabin
Soft leather rear seating
According to the CarFax, my Mazda was a high highway-mileage car that was originally purchased for fleet use. I don't know if it was a company car or rental vehicle, but it still looked great. one of the first things I did was take out the rear seats to install a subwoofer annd upgraded speakers. While I had the seat out, I notice a black box attached to the trunk frame labeled "Madza Keyless Entry System". I called the seller, but he said he did not have any keyless fobs. I went to the dealer, and they said they could sell me replacement fobs at $120 apiece, and programming by a technician would be $60 each. I went on eBay and bought two key fobs for $12. The seller sent me written instructions on how to program them. It involved turning the ignition on and off and pressing the door jamb button for the overhead lights. I followed his instructions, and the doors locked and unlocked. I had successfully purchased and programmed two keyless fobs on my own for $340 less than the dealership had quoted me.
Where is it Now?
Totalled after near head-on collision
Unfortunately, the Mazda was struck almost head-on when we lived in Northern Virginia. The driver's side wheel mounting was torn loose, the fender and door badly damaged to the point the door would not open, and all six air bags deployed. The car was a total loss, and I replaced it with a 2007 Toyota Corolla that I eventually gave to my son.