I bought this car without truly being interested in a Mazda Protégé, just interested in a small, inexpensive, economical way to get to work. I had never owned a Mazda before, but the Protégé seemed like exactly what I was looking for. Six years and 95,000 miles later my Protégé runs just as well as the day I brought it home, and is still just as fun to drive. All I do is keep up with oil changes, and keep putting new tires on it. Ive replaced the brakes once. This car has been amazing. Would love get a the new Mazda 6, but find it hard to get rid of the Protege when it still feels like a new car.
The handling is amazing. Feels like a much faster car that it is. Front seats are comfortable for long trips. The dashboard layout is simple and functional. The 17" rims and side marker lights make the car look serious.
130 HP just isn't enough. Back seat is tight, even with small kids that don't need booster/car seat. MPG could be better.