I bought this car in 2004 and kept it until this year when I unfortunately crashed it. It was a wonderfully reliable car in the 5 years I owned it. The battery failed once but I cleaned the alternator and it was back to charging just fine, and never failed again. Handled great except in rain, but that could have been tires and brakes getting old. Never had a problem with the CD player volume not working like some people have said. Interior and exterior was still holding up well. It only went into the shop once for regular maintenance though needed to go back for brakes and suspension. Definitely a much nicer car than my friend's civics and corollas, and just as reliable. I loved this car
Great sound from an economy sound system, good acceleration, and handling for its class, large trunk, comfy seats, reliability. Fun to drive, made me smile every time I drove it. I miss it already. Great safety I emerged from a 30 mph collision with an SUV also doing 30 mph untouched.
Loud road noise, though I grew to love it. better gas mileage, Overdrive button stopped working. Lights on the center console were starting to be finicky. Shocks were going at 120000 miles.
In the ten yrs.that I have owned the car, with the exception of when the battery "died" it has never failed to start and has never stalled. It's always been parked outside(in Mich.) The only major negative problem has been the suspension the last couple of yrs. Going over the slightest bump results in a very noisy and "rattley" ride.It sounds and feels like the suspension system has completely failed.I have about 90000 miles on the car.The car still looks almost like new (because of a paint sealant applied each year.) Never a problem with wheel alignment(never had it done).
I've had my Protege for almost three years, it's my first car and I will never buy anything but a Mazda. I have never had any problems with it except with the oxygen sensor, but I think that was a defect in the the replacement. Gas mileage is under par, especially on the highway. I did have to replace the radio because the volume would go up when I was turning it down and the CD player didn't play burned CD's and I was spending too much money on real CD's. Other than that, P cuts like a jack knife and is so fun to drive. Acceleration is excellent and the interior is perfect, not to mention that the outside is so cute :)
The front end: adorable. The bass in the sound system, speed and acceleration, the way it hugs the curves, size of the trunk, and size of the back seat.
Reliable transportation, like others noticed that volume went down when trying to go up. Then one day the cd player just quit. Not really happy with gas mileage - noticed that right away after buying it - not at all like my Civic. I had to fill up every third day with the Mazda - every fourth with a Civic. I get about 26 mpg.
Color, interior room, trunk space is surprising roomy.
I purchased this car a month ago and I have to say I feel like I made one of the best decisions in my life. The protege has not let me down and it has now 114k miles on it. I haven't had to replace anything and its still running great. I am looking forward to keeping this car for the rest of my life :D hopefully it will be with me for a long time to come.