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1996 Mazda Millenia Overview
Question: When is a Mazda 929 not a Mazda 929? Answer: When it's a Mazda Millenia. Teasing aside, Mazda's introduction of the '95 Millenia luxury sedan may spark a question or two when car buyers start comparing it to Mazda's 929 luxury sedan. With an MSRP of $31,995, the smartly appointed Millenia S is in the same ballpark as its older, similarly upscale 929 cousin, which starts at $35,795. The Millenia is available in three models: a base model with cloth interior ($25,995), a Millenia with leather interior ($28,895) and the aforementioned top-of-the-line Millenia S. The plush S model surely will butt heads in the showroom with its more established 929 stablemate. That's why Mazda is taking great pains to position the Millenia S as a sportier, more muscular alternative to the stately 929, while targeting buyers who are younger and more freewheeling than the comparatively genteel Mazda 929 owners. Actually, the Millenia S was conceived as the flagship model for Mazda's Amati luxury-car division. But when Mazda sat down and took a hard look at the bloodletting going on in the high-end market segment - where the Acura Legend, Lexus and INFINITI were slugging it out for an ever-skinnier slice of the pie - it wisely put its Amati Division plans on the back burner. Also to its credit, Mazda has equipped the Millenia S with a powerplant that not only distinguishes it from the 929, but also from every other entry in the luxury-sedan class. It's the Miller-cycle engine, which employs an air-compression technology that has never been used in a production auto before now, and which beefs up performance without hogging fuel. All Millenia models come equipped with quite an impressive list of standard equipment: dual airbags, automatic climate control, 4-wheel disc brakes with anti-lock (ABS), automatic transmission, alloy wheels, AM/FM/cassette sound system, anti-theft alarm, power driver's seat, and power windows and door locks. The leather-clad Millenia also comes with a power passenger seat, power moonroof and remote keyless entry as standard. Our Millenia S test car came with options that included a Bose audio system with a trunk-mounted 6-disc CD changer, a protection package that offered carpeted floor mats and alloy wheel locks, and the 4-Seasons package with heated front seats, a heavy-duty battery, heavy-duty windshield wiper motor and larger-capacity windshield-washer reservoir. The $425 inland freight charge brought our test car's total price to $33,450.