My first car was an '83 VW GTI. This car reminds me of it in many ways. Great fun to drive. Reasonable straight line speed. An absolute blast in the twisty bits. Excellent ergonomics. Even the bad points are similar: too-low gearing (too many rpm's at highway speed,) and so-so mileage (I get mid to high 20s for mixed use, and maybe 30 for highway.) This is my first Mazda, after 6 straight Hondas, and it is so much easier to work on compared to Hondas. I just changed brake pads and coolant in this car and a Honda Insight last weekend. Wow, what a contrast! The caliper swings up & stays up, out of the way. The coolant doesn't need to be filled and bled from four different places. Kudos Mazda!
Body style (I need 4 doors, and I want a hatchback; not many of those around.) Handling. Sunroof. Easy to work on. Comfortable seats. Good visibility.
I am probably one of the few people to put this many miles on a car in just a few years. I have 180,000 miles on it and the car never quits. Other than basic maintenance I have had only two problems in all my miles. 1) Power steering pump started leaking and 2) rear brake caliper froze (probably due to Chicago winters). The engine is still strong. The wear ability of the products used to build this car is superior. The car interior still looks very close to new. I canít say enough about this car. If you're looking for a reliable, fun to drive, fuel efficient all around do everything car, look no further. The problem will be trying to find one. They only made them in model year 2002 and 2003.
5 speed manual - great 3rd gear ratio. Handles like a Vette (perhaps better in some tests -YES I have driven Vettes to be able to say that!).
Not such low profile tires would soften the ride. It doesnít bother the driver because the driver is enjoying driving). Passengers may find it a bit harsh because they are just sitting there doing nothing
I just bought my Mazda, used of course, and I just love it. Something about the Protege5 that has everything I need. Sleek look, great for towing and moving, fun to drive. I love it! I just wish they made newer models.
Stumbled upon this car and never considered any other. It called my name. Very fun to drive, peppy and reliable. Very stylish, have had strangers tell me it's a cute car. Takes corners beautifully, but it's a rough ride on our freeways. Rather bouncy, like a truck. (Maybe it's the freeways?) And the tires wear out quickly. But with the sunroof, tinted windows, and CD changer, I'm a happy camper. The hatchback and seats fold down to an enormous amount of space for storage.
Sunroof, CD changer, fabric seats, cuteness, compactness, gas mileage, and the hatchback.
This is the best overall car I have owned for everyday use. I just purchased 2007 Speed3 with turbo which is obviouly a faster car. However, I like the PR5 because it drives like a go-kart. Original power was good but added a turbo muffler, cold air intake and had the computer reprogammed. Total cost was $800 which was well spent. I have plenty of power to pass on So Cal highways. I have 143,000, same clutch and only water pump had to be replaced. With slight modifications which I did, the car is great: fun to drive with its cornering ability, highway over 32 mpg if I keep the speed under 80. A great, dependable fun car. Speed3 is faster, but PR5 is easier to drive.
Corner and handling ability. Sounds great with muffler and cold air filter intake. Mazda has more useable torque power at lower rpm to not notice any lack of power driving in town. More than adequate cargo space when I put rear seats down.
Mazda could have added a little power but the Toy Matrix had similar hp unless you purchased the larger engine for much higher price. If you think the car is underpowered, add the aftermarket changes I did, you will want to keep the car forever.