In the first six months from launch in June, 1997, 13,717 Scenics were sold in the UK. Another 35,090 were registered in 1998, and year-to-date sales are approaching 24,000. And where there's demand there's competition - eventually. One of the latest is Mazda's five-door Premacy, built on the 323 platform, but taller in the body and slightly longer. It's a five-seater. Mazda's message to those who want seven is 'buy our new MPV'. That's due to go on sale here on January 1, 2000.
The Premacy line-up has just GXi and GSi trims and three 16-valve engines - 1.8-litre 100bhp petrol, 1.8-litre 115bhp petrol and 90bhp 2.0-litre direct injection diesel, the latter available from January. Prices begin at ú14,375 on the road for the 1.8 GXi. Our test car, the range-topping 1.8 GSi with automatic transmission, costs ú17,220 delivered and comes with an impressive standard specification list.
And this Mazda's multi-purpose credentials include 100 different seating configurations, obligatory cup-holders, storage boxes and cubby holes, as well as the ability to accept loads up to 2.6 metres long, should drivers ever feel the urge to haul an 8ft 6in pole with the doors closed.