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The Mazda Premacy is a compact MPV built by the Japanese manufacturer Mazda since 1999 and now in its third generation.
The first generation Premacy was built in Japan and exported to Europe and Asia. A re-badged version was sold by Ford in a few Asian markets (including Japan) as the Ford Ixion or Ford MAV.
The second generation is sold outside Japan as the Mazda5. Ford Lio Ho in Taiwan, which assembles Mazda5 for the local market, adapted a re-badged version as the Ford i-MAX in 2007.
The first generation Premacy was a two- or three-row, five- or seven-passenger vehicle, while the second generation adds a third row of seats for up to six passengers in American form, and seven passengers outside the United States. Both generations feature near-flat floors, folding or removable second row, and fold-flat rear seats.
When released in 1999, the Mazda Premacy was one of the least expensive seven-seaters available on market. The 1999 Premacy used Mazda's CP platform. It was available with either front or all wheel drive and was equipped with four-speed automatic transmission. As the Premacy was based on a sedan platform, it was less modular than some of its adversaries such as the Opel Zafira and Toyota Ipsum and was therefore relatively easy to maneuver. The second and third row seats could be folded and removed as on many other minivans.
This generation Premacy was also sold in some Asian markets as the Ford Ixion.
The first generation Premacy is still manufactured by China's FAW Haima Automobile where it is called the Haima Freema.
The new model has been for sale since summer 2005. It is now sold as the Mazda5 in all markets apart from Japan. While classified by Mazda as a mid-sized wagon, it competes with other vehicles classed as Compact MPVs in Europe, and is viewed as a mini-minivan in the United States. It is based on Ford's global C1 platform, meaning it shares many parts with the Mazda3. The Mazda5 replaced the Mazda MPV as Mazda's minivan offering in most export markets.
The Mazda5's closest relative is the European compact MPV, Ford Focus C-MAX, though the Mazda5 uses minivan-style sliding doors in the rear while the Ford has four conventional front-hinged doors. This version of the vehicle was also introduced for sale in the United States, making it the first compact minivan in that market since the 1994 Mitsubishi Expo (in the United States) and 1995 Nissan Axxess (in Canada). The Mazda5 is marginally larger than the 1984–1989 Toyota Van. Competition joined the North American MPV market in 2006 with Mercedes-Benz's B200 (in Canada and Mexico) and in 2007 Kia Motors followed suit with the 2007 Kia Rondo (in the United States and Canada).
In North America, due to safety regulations, the Mazda5 fits six passengers using three rows of seats, with two seats per row. Elsewhere, it is sold as a seven seater using Mazda's "Karakuri Seating System", which means the car has three rows of two seats, with the seventh seat a fold away jump seat in the centre of the middle row. The Mazda5 has three-point seat belts on all seven seats.
The middle row of seats recline and slide front-to-rear, and fold flat. The rear row also folds flat.
For the 2006 model year Mazda offered fewer Mazda5 options than in other markets. The North American version lacked the front-to-back roof rails that were included as standard in other markets. Other notable Mazda5 options not offered in North America included a back-up camera, power-assist side doors and even a choice of engine (2.3 L only). A second-row DVD entertainment system was eventually offered as a dealer installed add-on. Mazda produced a limited number of Mazda5 units featuring all-wheel-drive but this version was not made available outside of Japan for the 2006 model year.
For 2008, the Mazda Premacy/Mazda5 received a mid-cycle refresh with updated front bumper, wheels and rear LED lights for Touring and Grand Touring trim levels. The automatic gearbox was updated to five-speed. The interior received a few changes to the dash including luminescent gauges, an updated radio control layout with auxiliary input, a rear A/C vent, and center console, and a full set of armrests for the first and second seating rows on North American models. Mazda first released the 2008 Mazda Premacy in Japan, with other markets to follow.
For 2010, Mazda added electronic stability control and traction control to the Mazda5, safety features that were formerly cited as oversights on the vehicle.
The wheelbase is 2,750 mm (108 in) with an overall length of 4,610 mm (181 in). For the Japanese domestic market it is C model/F model – 4,505 mm (177.4 in) / S model – 4,565 mm (179.7 in).
Mazda was forced to recall[when?] the Mazda5 in the United States shortly after production began due to a risk of exhaust system fires, discovered by US Mazda engineer Curtis Lee. Owners that were not made aware of the manual shifting mode ("sport mode") of the 4-speed automatic transmission would mistakenly leave the shifter in that position, resulting in high temperatures as the car would remain in second gear. Mazda's solution was to add a heat shield around the muffler and to alter the vehicle's software to not allow excessively high engine speeds beyond a short period of time when in "sport mode". Although the five-speed manual transmission equipped cars would seemingly not need to be recalled, Mazda chose to retrofit all Mazda5 versions with the new parts and software. The company also gave customers US$500 (for Canadian owners, it is C$500) plus a loaner car while the problem was mitigated. 2,700 vehicles were affected.
The Mazda5 was named "Best New Multipurpose Family Vehicle" in the 2006 Canadian Car of the Year awards. Consumer Reports ranked the Mazda5 as the best "tall wagon" in their test, though the car failed to gain a "recommended" rating due to unknown reliability.
In April, 2006, the Japan New Car Assessment Program (J-NCAP) awarded the Mazda5 a maximum six-star rating for front-occupant crash worthiness. In Europe, the Mazda5 was awarded a maximum five-star "adult occupant" safety rating in September 2005 by the Euro-NCAP.
The third generation Mazda5 debuted at the 2010 Geneva Auto Show. This model received revised styling, marketed by Mazda as Nagare and Furai concepts. In Europe the new Mazda5 is offered with either a 1.8-liter four-cylinder or a 2.0-liter four-cylinder with direct-injection and Mazda’s i-stop start/stop technology, which will reduce emissions by 15 percent. Both engines include a six-speed manual transmission as standard, as well as new environmental friendly features.
For 2012 the US Mazda5 comes with a 157 hp (117 kW) 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine. A six-speed manual transmission is standard in the base model, with a five-speed automatic optional while both the Touring and the Grand Touring come with a five-speed automatic with manual mode. The third generation began sales in July 2010. The Mazda5 comes in three grades: 20CS, 20E, and 20S. The base model CS does not include i-stop.
The top performance version, the Mazdaspeed5 (or Mazdaspeed Premacy), will be launched two years after the launch of Mazda Premacy in Japan.
In June 2011, a Nissan version of the third-generation Premacy known as the Nissan Lafesta Highway Star was released for the Japanese market. Unlike the Premacy, the new Nissan Lafesta Highway Star ditches the Nagare design.
Beginning January 2013, for the Japanese market, the Mazda Premacy will receive a variant which comes with the SKYACTIV-G 2.0L engine mated to a 6-speed SKYACTIV-DRIVE automatic transmission. The SKYACTIV variant of the Premacy will have a fuel economy of 16.2km/L based on Japan's JC08 mode.
Mazda is developing a rival to the plug-in hybrid Chevrolet Volt; Mazda tests are sufficiently advanced that Mazda has a working prototype in a Mazda5 MPV bodyshell.
The Premacy Hydrogen RE Hybrid is a 2007 bi-fuel version of the compact MPV Mazda5, in which the two-rotor Wankel engine allowes operation with hydrogen or gasoline. The hydrogen tank with 110 liters at 350 bar stores up to 2.4 kilograms of hydrogen and is in addition to the 60 liter petrol tank.26
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