I bought this car used 4.5 years ago and I couldn't be happier. I did a lot of research before hand and this car just completely blew away the competition in safety, looks, and pure driving enjoyment. My husband is used to his truck, but even he loves the pep of this car. Now that gas has skyrocketed, I'm getting an even better deal, averaging 27 mpg in town/30 hwy. I dumped the standard sport tires after replacing each one twice in short order. They are super responsive, but very expensive and low longevity. I replaced a broken thermometer on it about 15 months ago (~$90 with labor) and that has been my only cost, other than reg. maintenance.
Fun to drive--very agile and responsive, great gas mileage, incredible amount of cargo room, roomy for tall people (I'm 5'9", husband is 6'2"), sporty look and feel, very intuitive controls, high safety ratings, engine has great pep for 4 cyl.
Standard sport tires are expensive to replace and wear out/blow out fast. Rubber mat for cargo area should be standard, roof racks make sun roof unbearably noisy on highway
I purchased this car brand new. I have put 148,000 on it, and it is very reliable! Besides regular oil changes, haven't had to do anything else. I have only had to replace a thermostat! It's wonderful! Definitely have gotten my money's worth!
Upon retirement I wanted to replace my Explorer with a sporter car. One that would carry 2 sets of clubs, a push cart and luggage. Vacation and golf were 2 things that was on my mind. I found that in my 02 Mazda Protege 5. I could not have been happier. I don't know if I like the body style of the new 5, but I love the looks of my car.
5 sp interior.
I'm in the process of replacing the shift knob, the lettering has worn off.
I bought this car used, and have loved it ever since. Very reliable - the car has 80k miles on it, and other than normal wear n tear, everything is great! It's a blast to drive, and I really look for curves to really enjoy the handling.
Steering and handling are superb, as nice as other, more expensive cars I've owned. Supportive seats - I'm 6'1" and it's very comfortable for me. Love the style of it, too, and the fact that they aren't all over like other models. 5 speed is smooth.
Wind noise with roof racks can be excessive. Could really use a 6th gear for highway cruising. Even obeying posted limits, it hits over 3,500 rpms.
Outstanding build quality and handling. Dumped the original equipment Dunlops in favor of less expensive/better wearing Kumhos, and this has eliminated the hydroplaning issue as well. A true overdrive 5th gear would help the gas mileage. This is the car which helped make Mazda: other than the Miata, before this retooled Mazda sedan debuted in 2002, there was nothing in the Mazda stable to make good on the Company's "Zoom-Zoom-Zoom" ad campaign. Actually prefer the P5 to the second-gen Mazda 3 - yes, the 3 more refined, and with more horses, but the 130 HP P-5 has a kind of teenage spunk, whereas the 3 more the mature adult.
Great ergonomics - the passengers in the rear might not always appreciate the ride, but the driver will always enjoy the finely tuned suspension in the twisties.
This thing has eaten low beam head lamps since it was under warranty. Also, eats spark plug wires-- the twin-pack of coils failing?