I was interested in the Protege with the 2.0 engine because of its incredible reliability and performance, but it has a very nice complex style for a car this size. I suggest this car if you hesitate between a Honda Civic, a Protege 2.0 and a Nissan Sentra. And for young drivers, the insurance is pretty low compared to other vehicles. In the 5 spd manual, unlike other cars in that class, you still feel the torque in 3rd and 4th. The LX model is very comfy. And for the admirers of audio systems, don't underestimate the Protege's. I plan on keeping it stock because I love it so much.
The torque on the 2.0, the audio system, the interior/exterior style, the comfort.
On the 5 spd manual, move the shifter a little foreward. As it is as most people complain about the fuel economy... you can't have everything, a 2.0 engine will suck up more gas than a 1.6 but you do have more horses.