For the small amount of time that I've owned this car, it's absolutely fantastic! However, this car has been in our family ever since 2002. It has an automatic transmission and everything in the car is going strong even after 190,000 miles! This car has battled through many trips from New York to Florida and the only problem during all of those trips was that the driver's side window ceased to function. It was promptly fixed and works as good as new! The story on this car is that my parents had bought this vehicle new the year this came out. This car has mostly highway miles. 3 days a week, it travels 140 into the city and back home for the past 9 years. Never has it broken down!
I love the way this car accelerates and handles. The modest 2.0 engine the Protege uses is a real champion! The low profile tires are a tad costly, but they look really good with the sporty style of the vehicle. Room and comfort in the front two bucket seats are great!
In 2005, the radio one day just refused to work. The LCD panel wasn't working, and the volume controls just had a mind of it's own. Fortunately we had the radio replaced with a Sony X-Plod system and that unit brought out the true sound of the stock Mazda sound System. So perhaps a better head unit would be my only complaint about the Protege.