I have had my 2003 ES for a month now,
do not buy anything until you drive a
protege'! I am 6'3 and 310 and I can
actually move the drives seat FORWARD
and still be comfortable! I refused to
get anything but a manual so while the
HP output could be better,the manual
provided plenty of low-end and highway
passing power. I have run my car hard
both in the city and on the highway and
only gone under 30mpg once. This cars
handling is UNBELIEVEABLE! I took a 90
degree banked corner at about 40MPH and
the car stuck to the road like a
suicidal squirrel. My wife loved my car
SO MUCH that we went back to the Mazda
dealer and got her a Mazda 6!
handling, manual tranny, handling,
exterior and interior styling, and oh
yeah....did I mention the handling?
The stereo, while it doesnt "suck",
comes close. Sound output and dynamics
are weak. The suspension is so tightly
tuned (my key to the death turn above)
that you bounce a bit on the highway.
Make the 2.4L found in the 6 standard
and you'd get more power on less gas.