My protege has been very reliable. I have kept up with changing the oil every 3000 miles and change the other fluids as scheduled. When I first purchased the car, I'd crank the engine and couldn't hear it running. Now many miles later, I can hear just a small purr. I've had no transmission problems and no problems that have left me stranded. I'm hoping this car will last til over 200k and then I'm buying another Mazda.
Inside is roomier than the Honda Civic which was the same price at the time. PLenty of trunk space.