I've test-driven Toyota Matrix base, 2002 Honda Civic LX and Mazda LX (all
auto as gf wanted) before my final purchase of this Protege LX. Base Matrix
was $16,000 plus, Civic LX was $15,000 plus, Mazda LX was $14,880 b/f tax
to me with alloy wheels. Man, price was the prime deciding factor at first.
Then, after test drives, I found that the Matrix's 130 horses was not enough
to move the 2800-plus lbs of the auto, Honda - Na! No torgue! Protege won
with 135 torgue and 130 hp for its 2700 lbs for the auto. Man, the
road-holding is great! Fun-to-drive little car!
Good sound system - enough boss to entertain during your ride! Wonderful
braking power !!!!! If you read Car and Driver October 2002 issue, you see
that they agree too.
A 2.0 liter 250+hp turbo-charged engine to complete with WRX, Lancer and
SRT-4. Not the 170hp Mazdaspeed. A 2.3 liter 350+hp turbo-charged
engine to complete with M3, IS430 and C320 AMG