I bought the 02 Protege new and had it only 2 days when the stereo shorted out. Then the CD player broke after they fixed it. Five months later the stereo went out again and then driving the car from Arizona to Chicago the engine blew because of a bad head; now when the car goes above 60 it shakes very badly. The rims also rusted, more than any other car I have owned during winter. The heater also smells very bad when it gets to about 30 degrees outside.
It's my first car. Bought it new in August 2002. Have been driving it ever since then and no real problems occured. If I have to be really picky, then here are some minor issues: (1) twice in winter morning, with temperature at around minus 20 celsius (I live in Toronto), the stereo stopped functioning --- the problem disappeared next day. (2) experiences over snowy roads is not as good, especially when making turns, the car could slide sideways. (3) My girl friend complained that air circulation is restrained in certain modes; from reading the reviews here that seems to be a common complain, but it didn't bother me that much. Overall, the car has been fun to drive and reliable.
The exterior design. I like the look of Proteges better than the newer Mazda 3.
More horepower out of 2.0 L -- that seems has been done in Mazda 3. More powerful air conditioner. Better fuel economy.
I bought this car to replace my old 2002 Toyota Celica GT (engine went at 19,000mi). I had looked at other cars, namely the Audi A4 but decided against it due to high maintainence costs. Then I looked at this 2002 Mazda Protege ES which provided a BMW like driving experience along with an attractive, sporty interior/exterior. I have had this car almost 7 months; there have been no problems whatsoever. Which is suprising since I learned to drive standard on this car. You would think all the bucking, stalling and over revving would have damaged it, I guess not. The car is as strong as ever *knock on wood.* Great car for the money.
Sporty interior; handling is exceptional for a car in this class; attractive exterior; very comfortable.
Been a great, fun and reliable car. I
really enjoy the look of the exterior
and the interior has done extremely
well. It runs solid and true, may not
be the fastest out there, but then
again that wasnt its goal! If your
looking for something that isnt a
driving appliance- has reliability and
is safe, check this one out.
The seats (to me) are very
comfortable. Had a bike accident a
short while after getting the car,
really messed up my back and sitting
for a long period of time is
tough...but not in this car- great
support where you need it.
TIRES...these stock Potenzas wear out
quick! I only got about 30K from them
when I was honestly expecting around
50K. I have BF good's on there now, so
heres hoping for longer life. The
stock cd player has a mind of its own
at times...otherwise the rest is great
As of today I have 54683 miles in less
than two years and not one problem
with the vehicle. I do primarily
highway driving and I change the oil
every 5k. This is the first Mazda I
have owned and it will NOT be the
For an economy car this thing handles
like a dream!! The steering is taught
I find the interior to be great too.
Whether it's the fat steering wheel,
or the seat fabric, or the white
gauges, I like it!!
Better fuel economy would be nice. I
average 25-27 mpg on the highway. The
car runs 3600 rpm at 80 mph in 5th
gear. So, there's a lot of engine
noise and I also think that
contributes to the poor fuel economy.
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