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2001 Mazda Protege Sedan LX 4dr Sedan (1.6L 4cyl 5M)
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.
2001 Mazda Protege Sedan LX 2.0 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 5M)
My dad bought a gold '01 Protege brand new when I was a kid. It was never driven much, mainly used as a backup car. When I got my licence it was my ride to high school and in general as I hated driving my mother's van. I drove it for a year before my dad traded it for a 2012 Honda CR-V. It did its job fine, got me to school and back without fuss, was fun to drive with the 5-speed and great on gas. The only problem I had was the alternator crapping out in the middle of the freeway and I had to have it towed. Apart from that it was pretty reliable. I'd recommend it, just watch out for rust problems and keep it to a meticulous maintenance schedule. Also not the best car to learn stick on.
On a good day the ride was actually pretty good despite the stick shift. It was pretty fast with the 2.0 and handled great. It was a good commuter car for a high school student. It was also quite roomy, I'm 6'4 and fit just fine and it had room for 3 friends in the back and wasn't too bad on an hour long road trip. No major problems except the alternator, nothing about the rods, struts or anything like a lot of reviews I've read. It's a fine first car as long as you take care of it
Not the best car to learn stick on. The clutch is touchy and the car itself didn't take too kindly to me at first. I learned in driver's ed and we got along better. Watch the original parts as the alternator that died hadn't been changed. Also watch out for rust. Proteges have been notorious for rust problems and ours was no exception, that's partly why we got rid of it. The ride was pretty bumpy at times, when my dad got the CR-V all my friends said they didn't miss the Mazda and TBH, I didn't either. I guess I just have higher standards with cars.
2001 Mazda Protege Sedan ES 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 5M)
I have zero regrets about keeping this car for 130K. I have had to put new struts on it to rejuvenate the ride but it was worth the expense. If you are looking for one, I suggest trying to find an ES because it has ABS and side airbags. The ABS saved me from a collision once for sure. If I am going to drive around in a little car I need a few modern safety features. The ES does require more expensive tires but Kumho makes a tire that fits the ES rim that has been a decent tire me. Unfortunately, this car is not good in snow with the factory rims/ tires. I bought snow tires on steel rims to put on in winter when the car was in Wisconsin.
Steering and handling are excellent for an inexpensive car. Great seats with lots of adjustablitiy.
The 5th gear is to small as it revs rather high at 70 MPH. If you need to drive really fast for long trips like in the western states you may not like this car as much as I do. Unfortunately, this car is not good in snow with the factory rims/ tires. I bought snow tires on steel rims when I had the car in Wisconsin for 4 years.
2001 Mazda Protege Sedan LX 2.0 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 5M)
Good quick car to get around the city and beat other cars to a parking spot. handles good and can take tight turns that you couldnt do with most vehicles. For a 4 cylinder this car can move when you need it to. Most 4 cylinders dont have the best highway driving but this car accelerates good at higher speeds and passes with ease. I dont recommend it though if you will only be using it for highway driving because the ride is a little bumpy. I dont really care much for the mpg because for a car this size you expect it to have better gas. When i bought this car i was a little skepticle but it turned out to do what i needed it to do and i gave i just sold it in good condition with 173000 miles.
Quick, peppy, reliable, easy to park, cheap
better gas, not very comfortible ride
2001 Mazda Protege Sedan DX 4dr Sedan (1.6L 4cyl 5M)
Of all the purchasing decisions I have made in my life, choosing the 2001 Protege 5-speed DX has probably been my single best decision. I bought it used with 64k miles; it looks and runs the same after 96k miles. Replaced brakes, shocks and battery when I bought it, timing belt and other belts just now. Nothing else. My two longevity tips: use synthetic oil and hand-wax it. The only issues: The famous digital clock problem expanded to the entire radio, which now fails to operate. More road noise than I'd prefer on the highway. First signs of rust showing near the wheel wells, probably from winter salt.
Superior driver legroom for a small car.
Eliminate window air noise at highway speeds.
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