I bought the car 4 years ago. Recently, the engine started making a loud sound and it seems that it may cost me over $1200 to repair it (with only 86,000 miles on the engine). I was hoping to keep the car longer. At this level not sure if I'm willing to spend that much money on a car that's only 4 years old. What would happen in few months if I fix the car! Would it brake again! This is a major maintenance for a car this new. So I would have to say that Mazda Protege5 is not a reliable car or I'm an unlucky guy! I hope my comments helped.
Nicer interior than the Toyota Matrix or Honda Civic. Not as much plastic look in it.
I now have 85k on this car. I change the oil every 3-5k miles and change the antifreeze and air filter at the recommended intervals. That's it. Changed the brakes (pads only) at 60,000 miles. That's right, original rotors. I had to change my last GM's at 20k because they warped (under-designed). Kuhmo tires only cost $68 and I put 50k+ on my last set vs the original tires without much change in performance or ride quality. This is a great car and the 28-30 mpg couple with low maintenance costs makes it very economical. And oh yeah... it's fun. Nimble and sporty.
Handling, head and leg room. I'm 6'2 and comfortably drive this car 20k per year. Fold down rear seat make it great for carrying cargo. I've picked up stuff for home improvements and packed it with stuff to go camping. Best of all, its sporty.
First new car that I have ever purchased. I have enjoyed the sportiness of this car. Decent gas mileage. I've used this car for my personal use as well for work. I have only had to do one repair in the 5 years that I have owned it (replaced erg valve) other than general upkeep.
Styling, fun to drive, good handling, great sound system.
Tires are expensive and wear quickly, there are no shops that stock them so they have to be ordered.
I purchased this car used with about 50,000 miles on it. After 2 years and 25,000 more miles, I had absolutely no issues with this car. I couldn't have asked for more for the money that I spent. Leather seats, in-dash CD changer, sunroof... even the stereo system was good. To top it off I averaged around 30 MPG with mixed driving (I thought it would do better but couldn't complain). Unfortunately, I was just rear-ended and the car was totaled. I am seriously considering buying another Mazda as I was very happy with this car.
Very reliable, leather seats, in-dash CD changer, cargo rack, cargo room.
Better gear ratios (the engine was at 3500+ RPM at freeway speeds). Engine noise was a bit high as well.
This car was bought new in July '03 and I have only put 37k on it. The biggest problem I have with it is that it handles so well, and is so confidence inspiring that you will burn through a set of tires in no time! Though the Mazda3 is bigger, more powerful, better handling, and more refined, the newer 3 seems to have lost some of the MP5's spunky character. This is a car that begs to be thrown into corners - one of the more engaging drives this side of a BMW 3 series. I am 6'7" and my wife is 5'; we can both get comfortable in this car - this one doesn't have a sunroof, which cuts in on headroom a bit.
Styling, handling, reliability, comfort, precise manual shifter, utility, generous sized seat cushions, convenient in-dash CD changer, red interior lighting, STRONG brakes with excellent feel, perfectly weighted steering with fantastic feedback, great directional stability.
Minor nitpicks: no door lock switch on passenger side, seats could use a little more lumbar support, variable intermitent wipers wouldn've been a nice option. Also, the oil filter is a pain to change. Ride can be buzzy on coarse pavement. A little noisy on the hwy. MPG could be better.