In February 2006, the third generation Mazda MPV went on sale in Japan, having debuted earlier in October 2005 at the Tokyo Motor Show. It was powered by either a four-cylinder MZR Direct Injection Spark Ignition (DISI) 2.3-litre naturally aspirated engine or the turbo version of the same. The second row reclining seats featured an unusual retracting footrest feature. The gear shift was moved from the steering column to the center console, much like most other minivans by Japanese automakers today.
The third generation MPV was available only in Japan, China, Hong Kong, Macau, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia and New Zealand. It was known as Mazda8 in Hong Kong, Indonesia, Macau, and Malaysia.