People power

Power for the Mazda comes from the previous 6's 2260cc in-line 4 with 163bhp at 6500rpm. With just 203Nm of pulling power, the motor is a tad lacking when called upon to hurry. 0-100km/h is quoted at a yawning 13.3 seconds with top speed rated at 170km/h. With 1780kg of metal to haul off the line, it's no surprise that the 8's performance numbers are rather underwhelming.

Toyota has a knack for not quoting any performance numbers for its models and the Previa is no exception. Despite it being 65kg heavier than the Mazda, the Previa feels sprightlier off the line. We'd estimate it to be roughly half a second quicker to 100km/h from rest than the Mazda. The VVTi 2.4-litre motor is shared with the likes of the Camry and RAV4, making a reasonable 168bhp, five more horses than the Mazda unit can muster. With 224Nm on tap at 4000rpm, the Previa's motor offers more pulling power than the Mazda's 203Nm but the latter is produced at a lower and more useable 3500rpm.

The Mazda's four pot unit is smooth and refined in the way it operates when compared to the 6's 2-litre unit. It remains almost silent at low revs and as the engine speed increases, it'll stay unflustered and seems unstressed by the task at hand. The Previa's motor sounds relatively unstrained when you work it hard but the motor is certainly more vocal than the Mazda's when it is delivering its goods.

Power is delivered to the front wheels via conventional automatic gearboxes in both MPVs. The transmissions are both smooth operating but with five ratios to play with, the Mazda's offers a good blend of fuel economy and performance. The Toyota's box only offers four gears in comparison the Mazda's five. Both boxes feature ‘+/-‘ manual mode for drivers who are in a hurry to ferry their load of passengers to their destination - but no steering wheel mounted paddles in both cars though.

Despite it being a people carrier with no sporting pretensions, the 8's suspension is a sophisticated combination of MacPherson struts and a multi-link rear. Drive the 8 hard and you'll feel some of its girth and height despite the chassis engineers' best efforts in instilling some Zoom zoom into the 8's handling. It rolls quite a bit in the corners due to its relatively tall height. The steering lacks feel and sharpness but is pretty accurate. In terms of ride comfort, the 8 certainly doesn't disappoint, offering passengers a pliant and serene ride at both town and highway cruising speeds.

The Previa offers a comfortable enough ride as well despite its less sophisticated torsion beam rear suspension set up. If the 8's steering lacks feel than the Previa's helm can be considered to be dead and totally lifeless. Body control is also noticeably not as competent as the Mazda's - the Previa's body can lean noticeably more than the Mazda's when driven hard around corners.

The brakes on both cars feel powerful and hence convincing enough to stop these MPVs even if they are fully loaded. The Mazda offers the better pedal feel of the pair hence it is easier to modulate braking power in the 8.

 


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Engine

Engine Capacity 2260cc
Engine Type Inline 4
Power 163bhp @ 6500rpm
Torque 203Nm @ 3500rpm
Power to Weight 91.6 bhp per ton

Performance

Acceleration 13.3s (0-100 km/h)
Top Speed 170 km/h
Fuel Consumption (combined) 10.3 km/L

Misc Technical Data

Transmission 5 -speed Auto Tiptronic
Drive Type FF

Measurements

Body Type MPV
Dimension
(L x W x H)
(4860 x 1885 x 1685) mm
Wheelbase 2950 mm
Kerb Weight 1780 kg

Brakes