My 2001 Mazda Protege has been my main car since it was new; it recently passed the 100K miles mark and is still going strong. The ABS is vital for winter driving. Never been in a serious accident. Still has good pick-up and responsiveness. Hard to imagine getting a better value for a car than this.
Major repairs so far: Transmission got replaced about five years in. Front brakes replaced last year. It definitely needs new struts and perhaps shocks at this point; the handling has deteriorated some.
Minor issues: Digital clock stopped working immediately. Rust around the wheel wells starting about 3 years ago. The hubcaps won't stay on at all anymore.
Very responsive and easy to handle. ABS and cruise control come in handy. There's plenty of leg room for tall people in front (my spouse and I are both about 6'). The windows in the back go all the way down, which kids and dogs both appreciate.
Compared to other cars on the road, this one looks very basic and no-frills. I happen to like that.
Road noise -- Got to turn the radio way up when on the highway. It's finally starting to get to me. Lack of road noise is the first thing I notice now in newer cars.
Overall my Mazda performs well, but body rust is a BIG problem. I only have 100,000 KM on it but it started to rust the 3rd year I had it. I had a special rust coating applied at the time of purchase but the dealership will not honor it until there are holes in the body. For that reason I will not buy another Mazda.
I love this car. I bought it used with 48,000 mi. Now it has 115,100 mi. It is so great on gas and now with gas prices being almost $4.00 I am not feeling as much pain as others. I've had minor problems, unexpected issues but other than that I am satisfied with it. I've added a couple of different things to it like, a spoiler, euro carbon fiber tail lights, wind visors, tinted windows etc. I also replaced the radio because the factory radio was messing up on me big time. You would press clock and it would show the CD track # and vice versa. So I replaced it. Just recently got a new paint job and it looks even better!
Gas mileage, reliable, cool and the moonroof. It's also a good looking car, especially in silver.
More room. My husband is 6'5" and we have to take breaks on long trips because there isn't enough room for his legs to stretch. Better radio, factory was good for a while but not that long. Better cupholders. A large cup tips over because of the way the display is built.
I love my Protege I bought it for 3500 and it was worth it, I though it would have problems after so many miles but to this date I have only replaced the fan belts. It really could use a 6th gear, but over all I love my car! Great air condition the only little problem it has is where the clock is the numbers fade.
Sun roof, manual transmission, fuel economy, and has great air condition (I'm from Texas and it cools right away)!
6th gear, better radio, And less noise when driving over 80 mph.
I bought my Protege new and have had very little trouble with it. I usually get 32-33 mpg on the highway (occasionally 35-36) and 25 in the city. It accelerates well and handles great. Plenty of head room and great visibility. Sunroof still works perfectly after 7 years, no leaks. CD player's LCD screen often goes partially blank until I push on it. Right rear door power lock broke around 60k. Replacement tires (195 55 15) are expensive.