Midsize SUV; Built in USA
  • 2-door wagon
  • longitudinal front-engine/rear- or 4-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $1,000 – $2,100*


1991 Mazda Navajo


1991 Mazda Navajo


1991 Mazda Navajo


1992 Mazda Navajo


1994 Mazda Navajo

Pros:
  • Acceleration
  • Antilock brakes
  • 4WD traction
  • Passenger and cargo room
Cons:
  • Fuel economy
  • Noise
  • Ride

All told, this is a modern, competent 4×4 that stacks up well against each of the 1991-94 competitors. Because Ford’s Explorer and Mazda’s Navajo are so similar in construction and operation, the best choice might be the one with the lowest price.

Overview

Mazda bought Explorers from Ford, then installed their own grille, taillamps, and minor body trim. Only a 2-door wagon was offered, whereas Explorers could also be purchased in 4-door form. Built by Ford, the 155-horsepower 4.0-liter V6 drove either a 5-speed manual gearbox or a 4-speed automatic transmission. All models had Ford’s part-time electronic Touch-Drive 4WD system. Rear antilock brakes were standard, operating only in 2-wheel drive. Navajos seated four. A split folding rear seat could be folded down for extra cargo space.

Yearly Updates

1992 Navajo
A rear-drive version and a base model joined the Navajo line for 1992. The new base model was called DX, whereas the plusher carryover model adopted an LX designation.
1993 Navajo
Four-wheel antilock brakes went into all ’93 models, operating in both 2- and 4-wheel drive. Following the lead of Ford with its Explorer, Mazda now claimed a 160-horsepower rating for the Navajo’s V6 engine.
1994 Navajo
For its final season on the market, DX and upscale LX editions again were offered, each available with either 2WD or 4WD.

Engines

longitudinal front-engine/rear- or 4-wheel drive

Through its relatively brief lifespan, Navajo came with only one engine: an overhead-valve, 4.0-liter V6 that developed 155 horsepower and 220 pound-feet of torque. By 1993, the engine’s rating grew to 160 horsepower, but otherwise nothing changed. Navajos might be equipped either with 5-speed manual shift, or an optional 4 speed automatic transmission. Four-wheel-drive models have Ford’s pushbutton-controlled Touch Drive system.

ohv V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 4.0/245
Engine HP 155-160
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 220
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
4-speed automatic
17/22
15/20
16.8

Road Test

Weighing more than 3800 pounds in 4WD trim, a Navajo puts quite a strain on the V6 engine. Regardless, ample low- and midrange torque yields satisfying acceleration in most situations. The 4-speed automatic transmission shifts smoothly and quickly downshifts as needed. Fuel economy is below par. We averaged just 16 mpg in a 4WD model with automatic.

The 2-door body suffers a rather choppy, bouncy ride–though no worse than some rivals. Rear antilock braking does little for either stopping distance or steering control in “panic” situations. So, we recommend a 1993-94 model with the 4-wheel ABS.

Four adults ride with plenty of head and leg room in a carlike interior. Despite a front passenger seat that tilts forward, entry into the rear of a Navajo is rather difficult. Step-up into the Navajo’s interior is tall, but not really bothersome. Cargo space is generous.

Ratings

Model Tested: 1994 Mazda Navajo automatic

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.

Performance

Acceleration - 4
40%
Fuel Economy - 2
20%
Ride Quality - 3
30%
Steering/Handling - 3
30%
Quietness - 3
30%

Accommodations

Controls/Materials - 4
40%
Room/Comfort Front - 5
50%
Room/Comfort Rear - 3
30%
Cargo Room - 6
60%

Other

Value - 3
30%

Total: 36

Specifications

2-door wagon
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
102.1 175.3 70.2 68.1
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
69.5 19.3 4
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
39.9 39.1 42.4 36.6
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 1994 Navajo 2-door wagon

NHTSA

(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - 3
60%
Front Passenger Injury - 4
80%

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
N/A0%
Rear Passenger Injury - N/A
N/A0%

HLDI

(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision 88
Injury 78
Theft 86

Trouble Spots

Air conditioner
Description: Water may drip onto the floor when using the air conditioner because the evaporator strip seals were not properly positioned at the factory. (1995-96)
Hard starting
Description: The engine may not want to start or cranks for a long time then stalls, because of a sticking idle-air control valve. (1994)
Radiator
Description: The radiator may leak in cold weather because of a bad seal between the tank and core. (1995-96)
Steering problems
Description: Noise and reduced steering control results from internal seperation of the front suspension radius arm bushings. (1991-94)
Suspension noise
Description: A chattering noise from the rear during tight turns after highway driving is caused by a lack of friction modifier or over-shimming of the clutch packs in the limited-slip differential. (1991-94)
Suspension noise
Description: Some of the frame rivets work loose and must be replaced with bolts. (Welding is not approved.) (1991-94)

Recall History

1991
Description: Front heat-shield extension may damage or puncture plastic fuel tank.
1991
Description: Rear-bumper reinforcement may develop fatigue cracking under extended trailer-tow service.
1991 w/automatic transmission
Description: Vehicle may appear to be in “Park” position when gear is not truly engaged.
1991-93 w/factory-installed sunroof
Description: Sunroof’s glass-panel assembly can separate while vehicle is moving, due to incorrect hinge engagement.
1991-94 in Southern California
Description: Studs that attach master cylinder to power-brake booster can crack after extended period; fracture could cause units to separate.
1992-94
Description: Bracket welds for liftgate’s hydraulic cylinders could fracture, permitting bracket to gradually bend; could result in liftgate falling unexpectedly.
1993-94 w/manual transmission
Description: Parking-brake pawl can slip.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.

Pricing

Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.