My fourth consecutive Mazda. Still very reliable at 112k miles, only routine maintenance performed thus far. ES model's 2.0 motor is peppy even with the 4-speed automatic. A major negative is road noise. DX & LX Proteges were already noisy and the ES model's low profile tires take it up a notch. That's why I only rated the car a "5" for comfort.
Reliability, reliability, reliability!
ES model eats low profile tires. Always wearing unevenly, I've had four sets of rubber in 100k miles. Road noise is so bad its hard to have a conversation, even on a cell phone. Gas mileage is abysmal for a car this size, I'm averaging about 25mpg with 20/80 city/hwy driving.