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.