Fantastic car for a purist. Well-balanced. Has the most wonderful steering feel ever. Reliable. Doesn't rust as much as my other car--the 1996 Honda Accord. 8.5 secords to 60 mph, .8g skidpad with stock tires, 16.9 seconds to quarter mile... but oh, how heavenly does it corner. I even prefer its engine sound to the newer Proteges. 30 MPG highway.
Friends at church gave us this car. I replaced 1 tire that had separated. It has a smashed front fender from a previous wreck. It handles like a go- cart and has plenty of pep. I am 6'3" and near 300 lbs and this car is comfortable enough for long trips. It has the 1.8 litre engine and 5 speed manual transmission. With 210,000 miles,the oil still looks like new when changed after 3000 miles. At about 190,000 miles the radiator was replaced due to a crack. Soon after that the water pump went out. I did the work myself. It is a well used beater but still drives like a new car. If I had to buy a small economy car for a college student, this would be it.
We have consistently gotten a 36 mpg average with mostly city driving. On long trips with lots of open road that goes to 40 mpg.
Considering that this is a very high mileage little economy car, with no major work ever done on the engine, I can't think of anything more I could ask from it. It really is a great car.
I now have 254000 miles on my 1991 Protege DX. The car is simply the best vehicle I have ever owned in my lifetime. The only major replacement was an exhaust system at 175,000 miles. Other that that its been the simple wear and tears such as brakes, etc. I was a freak with the protege a bit. I would always change the oil at every 1500 miles. My goal is to reach 300,000 with the baby. Her body is still solid and I get compliments from the Mazda dealers on her all the time. The only problem I have is the same as others I read...when it rains bad the windows also fog inside too. That has only started to happen within the las 8 months.
Fun to drive... the car just zips around. The gas mileage is still fantastic too
None - American automakers and today's auto industry needs to make a car like the 1991 Mazda Protege DX again.
I really loved this car -- it was my first new car. I loved its performance, it was great on mileage, lots of room, well designed ergonomically. My experience with this car is that these cars are built to perform, but not to last. My story: the car started to burn oil at 45,000 miles and the issue was a valve problem following a $1200 valve job (thankfully the extended warranty covered it sans a $200 deductible) then 2000 miles more and another valve job (same $), it still burned oil. Fed up, I decided to dump the car for an Acura Integra which I'm still driving at 150,000 miles.