Published on February 1st, 2017 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
Mazda Premacy 7 seater came 16-years too early
16 years ago Mazda had a vehicle on sale just like the best selling Honda BR-V. It was a compact 7 seater with a 2-liter engine. However, Mazda was 16 years too early in introducing this family vehicle and so the Nissan Livina which came 8 years later was well received by the Malaysians buyers and it sold very well.
Even from before….way before, Mazda made perfectly good products, however in the early years it lacked that extra something that tempted people to buy them here in Malaysia. Call it inadequate marketing, weak advertising or poor brand presence, but Mazda could not translate product development into huge or even significant sales locally.
Local distributor Cycle and Carriage had great hopes for good consumer demand when they introduced the Mazda Premacy some 16 years ago in a market that had a huge thirst for MPV vehicles. Even better if the vehicle carried 3 rows of seats, which the Premacy did with some squeezing.
Whether or not the third row had any significant use or not was not of primary concern. At the showroom level, buyers were just eager to drive away in a vehicle that had the option of extra seating and if the MPV tag could be had it was a conversation piece at family outings and birthday parties. The Premacy was somewhat of an oddity as it was in real motoring terms a station wagon car with a bench seat for two added in the luggage area. This means that with the seat up, luggage capacity is reduced to duffel bags and small hand carry bags. If the need arised for additional seating this 3rd row will only accommodate a small child or at best a teenager with no eating disorder. If an adult needed to fit in then they had to be really small in size or have a really good yoga instructor.
The engine that sat under the stylish hood was a 2.0-litre power plant that provided enough grunt for this MPV. The Premacy was a proper stand-alone Mazda product with no product shared in the Ford stable. Initial impressions were generally favorable at launch and some buyers rushed to pick up the limited fully imported units that were offered. However interest thinned out and the remaining units needed more time and effort as the market segment received more tempting alternatives from Hyundai, Kia, Renault and the parallel importers. Space and the lack of rear air-conditioning vents reduced its appeal and the Mazda badge snobbery also reduced buyer interest.
One area where a used Premacy suffers from is the usual older Mazda plastic quality. It is best in the first few years of ownership however after 12-16 years on, it shows wear in scratches and being easily marked under heavy use. Check the interior for tears, stains and broken off fittings, and also inspect the rear luggage area and the seat backs for signs of damage when loading and unloading bags and knock down furniture. 3rd row bench seat also needs to be carefully examined to make sure its gears are in proper working order and the seat is still useable. Insist on a service history from a reliable workshop or even better from an authorized center. Mechanically the Premacy benefits from Mazda’s usual reputation for quality and long mileage acceptance.
Finding a used Premacy is easy today and values are surprisingly sensible. A year 2000 unit will fetch somewhere around RM17,000 whilst the face lifted year 2003 model with a deep front and rear air dam and subtle side skirts will fetch RM25,000 or so. With 5-spoke alloy wheels and plusher leather clad upholstery this should be the one to look for in the used car market.