I purchased my Protege5 as a new model after doing considerable research. I found it to have more features for the dollar than any of the competition. After 120,000 miles, it has been almost bullet proof. The only issue has been warping front brake rotors. Coming from an amateur racing backround I can say that it handles as well as cars costing 10s of thousands of dollars more and consistently get 34 mpg to boot. The only thing I wish it had more of is horsepower.
Handling, reliabilty, fuel economy, styling. At 5 years old it still looks contemporary.
Move the radio antenna. Placement is just dumb. The Mazda3 has now addressed the lack of power issue.
† Edmunds.com received the highest numerical score in the proprietary J.D. Power 2014 Third-Party Automotive Website Evaluation Study℠. Results based on responses from 3,381 responses, measuring 14 companies and measures third-party automotive website usefulness among new and used vehicle shoppers. Proprietary study results are based on experiences and perceptions of owners surveyed from January 2014. Your experiences may vary. Visit jdpower.com.