2003 Mazda Protege - Consumer Reviews

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7 of 7 people found this review helpful
Wow, this car is fun to drive!
By delrey on 11/14/12 20:50 PM (PST)

Vehicle

2003 Mazda Protege LX 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 5M)

Review

This car is a lot of fun to drive. The handling, steering, and road feel are top notch for this car, especially for this class. It puts some newer and more expensive cars to shame. With that said, the car wasn't perfect. The best gas mileage I could get was 28MPG. Despite regular detailing, the car had a decent amount of rust. I went through front wheel bearings like crazy and I had to replace my front struts twice within the 130,000 miles of ownership. Interior is rather nice for the year but the radio is quite weak. A fun car to drive with minor flaws.
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1 of 9 people found this review helpful
Don't Get One
By historiker33 on 09/15/12 19:37 PM (PDT)

Vehicle

2003 Mazda Protege LX 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 5M)

Review

In 2 years, Ive gone through: 2 wheel bearings Front axle alternator Seat belt $900 valve job Heres the bad thing, and BE ADVISED: A valve job on these cars will often result in the piston rings going bad; this happened to me. There is no easy fix for this - the car needs a new engine and smokes like crazy. The newest versions of these cars are now 13 years old. Do not buy one
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Never Again!
By elyarne7 on 03/09/11 13:19 PM (PST)

Vehicle

2003 Mazda Protege LX 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 5M)

Review

I bought this car with 29,000 miles on it. That was 3 years ago. It now has 90,000 miles on it. It has only had problem after problem - battery, multiple wheel bearings, tire links, brakes, alternator. The alignment is easily messed up. The car is not well made - it's cheap, lightweight and already starting to rust. It's a money pit. Do not buy it! Oh, and my Mazda is the automatic, not 5-speed standard.
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2003 protege nightmare
By scott on 06/23/10 18:18 PM (PDT)

Vehicle

2003 Mazda Protege LX 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 5M)

Review

I bought this car with 15 miles on it. I've put alot of miles on it. currently i have just under 141, 000. I've had to have the front bearing replaced 4 times! on each side. i've had the alternator replaced twice. i've changes the oil tank because it actually rusted through, as well as the front exhaust at the intake manifold. i've changed both the oxygen sensor and the speed sensor. I've also changed the radiator twice. this is a car i've changed the oil and other scheduled maintained every 3-4k miles on it! I can;t believe it got this good of a reliability rating on Edmunds because mine has been a nightmare. plus mine is currently rusting to crap.....what happened?
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Best car I have owned, hate to see it go
By Peter on 04/04/10 08:08 AM (PDT)

Vehicle

2003 Mazda Protege LX 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 5M)

Review

I have owned the Mazda Protege LX for seven years now, I purchased the vehicle in 2004 with only 20k for the mileage and I currently have over 195K on the vehicle now. Besides normal wear and tear parts that you expect to wear out, I haven't put more than like $100.00 into this vehicle. I always changed my oil regularly and did other minimal scheduled maintenance like filters, plugs, trans fluid, etc....and this vehicle owes me nothing. The gas mileage was good, I was getting about 28mpg on the highway and about 22 to 24mpg city depending on how fast I was driving. I also put sporty aggressive tires on it and it greatly improved the driveablitity, I put the Yokahoma "S" Drive tire on
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Maybe the perfect "cheap" car
By FenderCalderon on 11/16/09 01:11 AM (PST)

Vehicle

2003 Mazda Protege LX 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 5M)

Review

A picture of this car should be alongside the dictionary entry for reliable. In 5 yrs the only unexpected repair was the main engine belt -and it was probably my fault. After owning a lemon it feels great knowing you can rely on this car. As far as routine maintenance goes you can DIY and save even more money. The interior materials won't be winning any prestigious awards but regardless for a car in this price range the interior is more than ok. I like to have fun when I drive and this is a good car for that; just don't expect to have great gas mileage this way. Sometimes I think the car may be boring but when I find an open stretch of road to let 'er rip I always end up smiling.
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gas tank leaking & rust
By fuel tamk leaking on 08/24/09 12:40 PM (PDT)

Vehicle

2003 Mazda Protege LX 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 5M)

Review

This car Just over 5 years old, the gas tank was leaking, cost me $1400 to replace the pump, gas tank and etc. Complained to Mazda company, but they did not care. I will not buy any Mazda again. The Mazda company cut too much cost to build this Protege, not only the rust on the gas tank, but also other areas. I make a big mistake to buy this mazda protege. Gas tank leaking is a safety issue!! I can accept other problems, but not gas tank.
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Nice looking car but some major problems
By LUKISS on 07/22/09 17:35 PM (PDT)

Vehicle

2003 Mazda Protege LX 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 5M)

Review

I bought the LX 2.0 in 2007 with 60,000 K's on it. About 8 months later, anytime it rainied either overnight or in the day the car was parked, when I started up the car it would shake and sputter then the engine light would flash and then stay on. Oh and the big hit was when the transmission went on the car from a worn seal that probably costs .25 cents, it ended up costing me $2000.00 to get fixed and this was in April 2009 with about 98,000 kms on it. A friend has a Mazda Tribute and was having the same problems when it rains, it shakes and sputters. NEVER WILL I BUY A MAZDA PRODUCT AGAIN
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2003 Mazda Protege
By Buzz Wichmann on 02/28/09 18:02 PM (PST)

Vehicle

2003 Mazda Protege LX 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 5M)

Review

This is a fun car to drive .. not as fuel efficient as my 96 Protege was but the better looks on the 2003 model negates the lower mpg rating for me. Still 34 highway/24 city not bad .. roomy comfortable car despite being so small with good sound system - highly manuverable as well with tight steering
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Some flaws after a few miles
By Cheaprick29 on 08/10/08 22:25 PM (PDT)

Vehicle

2003 Mazda Protege LX 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 5M)

Review

I bought this car about a year & 1/2 ago. Paid $8k w 55k and now has 82k. The A/C doesn't work on 2 or 3 setting. The transmission makes a 'growling' or humming noise and continues to get worse the more I drive it. The trunk leaks due to a faulty trunk seal; My car smells like mildew all the time because water gets under the carpets. Had to replace the drive belts around 60k due to squeaking. Hit curb and cost $3800 to fix; not the best car to get into an accident in due to thin sheet metal. Other than that, the car is a great car. I switched out the stock head unit for a Pioneer; the CD player didn't work properly. I like the aux connection on my new head unit.
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