Honda and Toyota look out
By colt933 on
2003 Mazda Protege5 4dr Wagon (2.0L 4cyl 5M)
We bought the P5 new for my wife. She drove a '94 Miata daily for years so this Mazda was a no-brainer. Still have the Miata. This is the most reliable car I have ever owned including 3 Hondas, except for maybe the Miata. The only items that have failed and needed replacement are the O2 sensor, starting battery, and a window regulator. I do all maintenance myself - which is minimal. I've put synthetic oil in since the first oil change. At over 100k miles the brakes still have 40% life and the clutch is still strong. It doesn't need new shocks/struts either. We typically get 32-34mpg on the highway. It is starting to use some oil - but we've had it for 7 years!
The zoom-zoom ad campaign was right. This car is a blast to drive - very capable and confidence building. The exterior and interior styling are great too. Invest in some good sport tires. The brakes and suspension are great. Mazdas compare favorably to Honda and Toyota, especially used prices.
OEM tires were lame as with most cars. Cup holders are not very usable. For those who complain about tire pricing, go up one size in tread width and down one size in sidewall and you will find a whole world of tire options!