I bought my car brand new in Nov 1999. Regular maintenance (oil changes @ 4000 to 6000 miles), radiator flush, timing belt, etc, per manufacture's recommendation. This is my second Mazda (first was '84 Mazda 323 sedan-also brand new- drove over 250,000mi). My Protege has the original transmission (5speed manual) and engine. This car has spent 12 of it's nearly 16 years in northern winters. It's spent most of it's lifetime outdoors (no parking shelter) and started every time. Nothing has failed while driving. When the vehicle warranty expired, I prefer working with an outside mechanic shop. Yes, the car has rust, and has more exterior noise than the first day I drove it off the lot. There are a few small issues w/electronics (occasionally cd player doesn't work, & occasionally driver door lock must be manually operated). Minor stuff. The car starts every day, gets decent gas mileage. I'm still hoping for 400,000 miles, though it's possible the car may not make it. In any case, my experience is, that Mazda makes a fantastic product. If you're looking for value and reliability, this is the brand.
Purchased my 2000 protege with the proper 5-speed manual in late 2012. Ever since I purchased it I had no mechanical problems. The 1.6ZM Engine runs like clock work and is zippy,the ride is somewhat comfortable, there are no squeaks and rattles, . However, I wish this car had more power.Another issue is rust. I noticed that the protege has the tendency to rust around the rear wheel arches. I talked to an auto body shop and they told me that Mazda during assembly the wheel arches had two pieces of metal spot welded and over time water and debris would seep in between the spot welds causing it to oxidize. Other than those two minor issues this vehicle is one of the most reliable and tough.
I like the exterior look the front looks somewhat aggressive and you can find eye-lids to make it more aggressive. despite being 15 years old, I can still find JDM (Japanese domestic market) parts for my protege after doing some research. I also found out that this car has many other names like Mazda Familia (Japan)manufactured from 1963-2003.5 , Ford Tierra, and Mazda Isamu Genki (Taiwan)manufactured from 2000-present day with parts! If you have a protege try to research foreign parts. You'll be surprised at what you'll find.
Next time, I would like the engine to have more power!
We purchased our Mazda protege off a classified site for $1100 Canadian. It was as is but only required two tires and rear shoes for safety. We've had our protege for just over a year now and it has required minimal repairs such as front stabilizer links serpentine belts (there are two, there small and they tend to break). The 1.6L with the 4 speed automatic is good on fuel both in the city and the highway. The car had 249 000kms on it and it now has 280 000kms. It handles well in the winter but ONLY if winter tires are equipped. Currently the car runs and drives but when the temperature drops below -5 C the thermostat sticks open and we don't get any heat. I'd recommend this car to anyone.
Two cup holders, four doors and it sips the gas. Reliable and roomy inside. The vehicle offers great visibility, acceptable handling and acceleration (until our front struts went bad).
A better serpentine belt system. The two current serpentine belts are weak and my research (as well as my own experience) tells me that the belts like to last about a year. Then they break and leave you stranded on the side of the highway in the middle of winter. Secondly, the serpentine belts do not have an automatic tensioner! You have to manually adjust the belts every so often to keep them tight or it'll sequel like a pig.
Timing belt needs to be done. Wish it was a chain.
I absolutely loved my Protege, it was very reliable, comfy, and fun to drive.
I put 150K on it. It also got excellent gas mileage.
It will not play burned cd's and had a year where I had to have the belt replaced a few times, since then it's been running like a top.
Just traded it in today for a newer car, but was sad to see it go.
I really hope it goes to a great home!
love everything about this car.
only thing they could do to make it better would be to have abs breaks.
We have had this car since it was new 11 years ago - it replaced another just like it that died on us, and it now has 224,500 miles on it. Though we are looking for a new vehicle, we plan to keep this one as a second vehicle for use locally. I was amazed that you give mpg as 25 - 27; we've never gotten less than 32, usually more, up to 38! Perhaps part of that is my exclusive use of Mobil 1 oil; with the vagaries of gas pump shut-offs, regardless, I feel 34-35 mpg is what we have (and continue to get) for mileage. Driving it's been a pleasure, though it's showing signs of age - noisiness, mostly.
Snappy acceleration and good steering control; handles well on slick, snowy roads as well as dry pavement.