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New Mazda Biante Minivan Sales in Japan Double Expectations in First Month

Orders for the new Mazda Biante minivan in Japan were more than double the target in its first month of sales. Orders have surpassed 6,000 units since the Biante was launched in Japan on 8 July 2008.

Mazda Biante 20S (FWD model with 2.0-liter direct injection engine, five-speed automatic transmission and factory-installed options).

Two engines are available on the Biante. The MZR 2.0L DISI (direct injection spark ignition) engine provides a balance of high torque, environmental performance and fuel economy, while the MZR 2.3L engine offers excellent acceleration.

The FWD models come with an electronically-controlled five-speed automatic transmission. Wide gear ratios improve low-speed acceleration and the higher fifth gear ratio assures better fuel economy when cruising. On models with the 2.3-liter engine, the transmission also features a manual mode for sportier performance. (4WD models are equipped with a four-speed automatic transmission.)

All model grades qualify as Super Ultra-Low Emission Vehicles (SU-LEV), achieving exhaust emissions that are at least 75% lower than Japan’s 2005 regulations. Additionally, FWD models with the 2.0-liter engine meet Japan’s 2010 fuel economy standards plus 20% making them eligible for Japan’s Green Tax exemptions.

To date, 90% of orders have been for models equipped with the 2.0-liter direct injection engine. Approximately 65% of customers have opted for the 20S grade, followed by 26% who chose the 20CS grade and 9% who selected the 23S.

While most customers who selected the Biante have families and are in their 30s and 40s, orders have been placed by a wide range of people. Customer feedback indicates that the main reasons for choosing the Biante are its exterior design, spacious interior and quiet cabin.

The Biante offers the most interior space in the 2.0-liter to 2.3-liter engine minivan class (3 rows of seats, domestically manufactured passenger vehicle) based on cabin length, height and width.


Does this mean the US version will finally be available with a 2.0L engine? It is the size I would expect if I were to buy a van (Odyssey, Caravan, and Sienna are just way too big) but I always felt the fuel economy was just too poor with the 2.3L engine...of course Mazda has never been known for having the most fuel efficient vehicles.

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