We bought our Mazda brand new off the lot. Our commute to work and back is nearly an hour each way and 9 mths out of the year is during the harsh canadian winter so we needed something that could stand up and be reliable. Our Mazda was nothing less then that. Being young drivers with our first car we weren't quite aware of "regular scheduled maintance" - we just drove. Our car currently has 256,000 kms on it and the only thing we have replaced was the alternator last year. This car is amazing, it's been in the ditch twice, hit a deer and yet the darn thing keeps on going. It is going in for its second tuneup of its lifetime this Thursday so we can get another 256000 from her
Still has a lot of "get up and go", even though it's 7 years old it still looks current. Love the dependability and the comfort in knowing that it will start everytime!
Center armrest! For those long drives we use a pillow inbetween the seats. We're also having the issue with the headlights. We no longer have "high beams", we were told it is a wiring issue within the dashboard and would be costly to fix.
This car is OK. It has a bunch of little problems. (keyless intry works some of the time, CD player's volume goes up when turned down, CD plays some of the time. CUp holder sucks. AC is loud as can be yet doesn't blow that much air. Dealerships don't want to fix things under warranty. They can't find anything until repeated trips are made. No loaner cars offered even for multiple day factor fixes. The plastic clips that hold panels on break randomly and just fall off. This from a guy who Meguiar's his car inside/out + engine. I should have bought that used Toy Avalon or new Honda civic.
intermittent peppiness, larger interior than honda civic, sound system is pretty good when you can get it to play at the desired volume.
fuel economy is a joke, I've never gotten the 26 mpg on the sticker and I baby it, better cup holder, better dealership training, better interior design and reliability, mazda should own up to mistakes and fix them, comfortable seats w/ adjustments that do something, keyless entry to work everytime
Exercise caution buying this car model. It ran fine until it hit the 7 year mark. In the past year I have had to replace all four suspension links, gears 1-2-3 and bearings in the transmission, front exhaust pipe, rear right suspension, an oxygen sensor, and now the brakes are going bad. Also, Protege's are not built for salty winter road conditions! It appears as though the lemon age for these cars to go sour is around 6 years. Inquire about prior repairs before buying. Not recommended - it reminds me of my first car, a 1994 Ford Taurus. I will not be buying a Ford or Mazda again in my lifetime.
Interior looks nice, roomy in the back seats, nice trunk space, and easy on gas.
Poor mechanical design, rusts easily in Canadian winters (even when well cared for), bad transmission, expensive on repairs.
Just bought this used to act as commuter car. Styling is more boring than white paper. Engine is very loud at highway speeds. For a small car, gas mileage isn't too impressive. Probably due to the fact that engine is around 3500 RPM's when cruising @ 70 MPH. Fairly agile and nimble. Fun to drive backroads, unless you have a lot of hills, then expect a struggle. Not too shabby as a commuting car, but I'm glad this isn't my pride and joy.