Co-developed by Ford and Mazda, first-generation models had sound handling and braking, impressive cabin space, and adequate acceleration with the optional 3.0-liter V6.
Downsides include a stiff ride and noisy interior.
Other engine choices included a 2.0-liter four-cylinder, and a Hybrid that arrived in 2005 to return 26 mpg in our tests.
Major virtues include commodious cabin space and quick acceleration (in V6 models).
However, these are offset by a stiff ride, a noisy interior and flimsy plastic trim.
A tip-up in the government rollover test and a Poor in the IIHS side-crash test without side and curtain airbags are concerns.