If you want a very dependable car, this is it! The DX model doesn't have all the bells and whistles, kinda a pain without power windows or locks. The giddy-up is slower in high traffic, but responds when needed. The interior space is limiting on long trips, but those inconveniences are minor disabilities. The overall economy is awesome (38-42mpg). You can't go work with this car - I travel 200 miles daily and have had to to little with this car. Routine maintenance (oil, tire rotation, etc). I drove 1100 miles this past weekend and couldn't be happier with the car - super hot and muggy outside and the car was perfect! I'd go anywhere with this car. 98K miles and going very strong
The obvious favorite feature is the fuel economy. With the price of gas going crazy, I laugh when I fill up the tank for $25. This car always starts and runs quietly every trip.
A little more comfort in the seat and interior leg room space could be better. On long trips, you need to stretch out. I'd pay for more comfort.
I had the base model for 3 years and had very few problems with it. A few heat shields came loose due to rust, and the muffler and main exhaust pipe had to be replace. Also, within the months of owning it, I had problems with it stalling in wet or damp weather. I replaced the spark plug wires and distributor and also sprayed it with ignition protector, but the problem always seemed to come back. The 1.5 liter is underpowered, especially with the auto trans. Handling is decent (typical for a compact car), but road noise seemed a little high.
Great on gas (averaged 30 mpg) CD player (which I installed) Fairly light car (improves handling/braking)
- Wish I had an interior trunk release - Larger base engine - Alloy wheels are UGLY
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.
Excellent vehicle with excellent fuel efficiency. I have a manual with 130K miles and still getting 38+ MPG. Exhaust manifold and alternator replaced in addition to routine maintenance. Simple car that continues be reliable and efficient.
I bought my Protege (automatic, not manual) new in 1996, and although one of the buttons on the factory stereo stopped working within one year, I haven't had any major trouble out of this car for most of its life (first actual breakdown occurred in 2010, and wasn't a major system). I am only just now looking to replace it! The ride is responsive and the suspension is nice and firm, and though the 80hp engine is pretty sluggish, that never really bothered me. A simple, practical, reliable vehicle! The one caution I would have is that it has burned through several "lifetime" mufflers, always in the same spot--probably a design flaw. Otherwise, can't complain!
Front seat has lots of space for its size/class. The trunk is huge! It handles nicely on turns, not a lot of lean/sway. Good steering/handling if I have to make a fast dodge.
The seatbelts lock up way too easily and tend to go "boa constrictor" on larger people. The back-seat belts are also hard for my kids to latch because the receptor ends tend to slip under their booster seats. Hopefully the seat belts improved in later models! The problems I have had to fix have been muffler replacement (every 4-5 years, even on "lifetime" mufflers); mysteriously fouled spark plug wires (1x); and the a/c compressor (which is belted with the drivetrain so the car won't run if it's not fixed).
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