Mazda is weighing consumer reaction in Chicago and several other cities to see if a small minivan-like vehicle on sale in Japan and Europe could sell in the United States.
The front-wheel-drive Premacy, shown at the Chicago Auto Show, features five-passenger seating, rear seats that can be removed individually and a front passenger seat that folds forward to allow space to carry a ladder or other long cargo.
The vehicle on display featured the sports and aero package, which consists of a front air dam with fog lamps, sculptured side sills, a lower rear valence and a spoiler above the rear window.
The vehicle is based on the Protege platform. But the Premacy wheelbase is 2.3 inches longer, while its length is 5.2 inches shorter. The Premacy is powered by a 130-hp, 2.0-liter double-overhead-cam four-cylinder engine that is teamed with a four-speed automatic transmission.
Mazda expects to decide within 90 days whether it will sell the vehicle in the United States. Sales could begin in less than a year, said Robert Davis, vice president of product strategy and development for Mazda North American Operations.
A spokesman said that if the Premacy is sold here, prices would likely start at about $17,000.