The transmission went out early on, which started a chain reaction of other problems months to follow. This car was nothing more than a money pit and certainly not one worth investing in. I've replaced just about everything in the car besides the engine, which I hear is something Mazda actually does fairly well. I ended up finally trading the car in at around 153k miles. It seems like a lot, but not considering maintenance costs.
In addition to the reliability issues, the interior was cheap and started to literally fall apart. Poor mpg as well. The only positive thing I can say about the car is that it was kind of fun to drive and had nice acceleration. It felt like a go-kart.
Acceleration and responsive handling
I love my Mazda. I bought it used in 2004 with 25,000 miles on it. It now has 88,000 miles. I have only replaced brake pads, tires and one hose in addition to oil changes. My engine runs flawlessly. I get better than rated mileage. She handles great for a sub-compact. Has road feel instead of the numb feedback of a Toyota. The stick is smooth with shifts. Seats are comfortable. I will keep it until it dies since it has no resell value. I hope to get at least another two years.
It is not a quiet car.
Lots of road noise.
It is rusting at the bottom of the doors an wheel wells.
i had a 03 protege dx for about 5 years...would still have it but someone rear ended me and totaled it. pro's- good gas mileage..great head on look...reliable con's- poor seal on windows lets water it...not alot to it so highway and windy driving can create some excitement...lots of whistling and humming noises come from the engine at around 60k miles.... put around 50k on this...not major repairs...replaced brake pads once...tires once...changed the oil...never stranded or failed on me...some minor issues but a solid car for the category.
head on look, gas usage, reliable, trunk seems big
noisy engine+trans, poor seals on windows creating noise and leaks
I have had my 5 speed for 5 years and absolutely love it. Pros: Decent gas mileage, (not as good as a Corola, but more fun to drive) Fun to drive, responsive handling, good road feel comfortable seat. Good shifter. Very reliable, (just brakes and tires are the only parts replaced. Con. Noisy to ride in.
I have a paper route; that is 60 miles a night of continuous stop and go with a heavy load of newspapers. This car never complains. Still has excellent get up and go with almost 150000 miles of hard driving. Never been in the shop for anything aside from a belt replacement and an AC recharge. Most reliable and solid little car I've ever owned. No rattles, clunks, or squeaks to drive one crazy. I love this car.
The handling in amazing, the turn radius being extremely tight and takes turns like a dream. Roomy interior for its size. And remarkably good gas mileage in stop and go driving. The gear box in tight and responsive without much fuss.
The headlight assembly could be a little friendlier when it comes to changing the bulbs and the fuel mileage at highway speeds could be upped a bit. But otherwise its a fantastic driver!