I just bought one. It was the best investment I have ever made. I paid $400 for it on Craigslist because it needed repairs. The parts were cheap. I ended up spending just $300 to replace the rear struts and springs, all four brake pads and rotors, headlights, spark plugs, air filter and replaced all of the fluids. Now it runs like new which is surprising since the engine and transmission have never been replaced or rebuilt. Some of the reviews I have read stated that the acceleration is sluggish but that has not been the case with the 1.8 liter engine paired with a 5 speed. The best part is that I was able to get close to 350 miles on a single tank of gas and it cost about $30 to completely refill the tank. The only problem I have had other than the usual protege suspension and rust issues is that it is a little cramped when getting in and out due to the steering wheel being a little low. I would recommend this car 100% to anyone looking for a cheap reliable car.
What i like about this car is the sunroof and all the power options.On really bad freeways the car is really bumpy i think it might be the struts or a motor mount i don't know but it really bad over 45 MPH. But for around 1,500-2,000 dollars these are a reliable small little car with Fair MPG and easy to work on.
Sunroof, power options, Cloth Seats.
Suspension (struts,Shocks Etc..)Less rust around wheel wells.
I bought my 96 Protege in 2003 with 89,000 miles on it. I junked it in 2006 with almost 200,000 on it. I never had it in the repair shop once while I owned it (except for oil changes) and it never stalled on me or failed to start. When I dropped this car off in the junkyard I was almost in tears. The motor was in PERFECT condition, never ate oil or even sputtered, I didn't have to drop a dime into the engine on it. The only reason I had to get rid of it is because I drove it so hard the doors were literally falling off of it (string held them closed). I can not stress enough how much I loved this car. I drove it through hell and back- albeit pretty slowly-the car is underpowered-and it never quit.
Gas mileage (over 30 mpg). Reliability--never stalled or failed to start.
little more power in the engine---other than that the car is PERFECT!
This mazda I bought at 48,000 miles back
in 2001. The car has 85,000 miles on it
now and still runs great, even without
the standard 60,000 mile tune up. Oil
changes been made, and brakes replaced,
tires, fluids, etc.. Smooth ride for a
compact class car, but if they would of
added some cabin insulation it would be
nice, but motor runs quiet at highway
speeds and around town. It is a zoom
zoom car, but if you have weight in the
trunk, or people in the back seat,
expect to floor it if you want to get up
to freeway speed before merging.
Good Automatic transmition, quiet
engine, doesnt leak any fluids,
Reliable, gas tank could be a little
bigger, Low Fuel light doesn't work,
Mazda wants $86 for labor, and $1.75 to
replace bulb. :-/
Front cup holders near center console
flawed design, CD stereo gets really hot
when you take out CDs almost hot enough
to burn you, Cruise control on steering
wheel is almost impossible to see at night.