Zingy powertrain, despite lackluster performance data. Large inside. Fun to drive.
Average crash scores. No de-powered airbags.
A CD player is standard on ES and LX. It also comes on DX models equipped with an option package.
We've been unfair to the Protigi in the past. A couple of years ago we criticized Mazda for requiring consumers to buy the top-of-the-line ES to get the goodies on the options list, and we complained about the Protege's price, which had pegged this smart sedan near the top of the compact sedan cost list since its debut in 1995.
These days, compacts regularly top $15,000 with a modest load of equipment. Mazda has been pricing cars more aggressively, resulting in better values despite the fact that all Proteges are shipped to the U.S. from Japan. Incentives and subsidized leases make the Protege even more desirable.
Not that the car itself isn't appealing. The Protege boasts the largest interior in its class, and J.D. Power and Associates found that the Protege finished among the top ten cars in a recent Initial Quality Study. For 1997, exterior styling was spruced up with a new front bumper, grille, fenders and headlamps. Inside, a revised dashboard made it easier to operate climate and stereo controls. New wheelcovers gave the LX a more upmarket appearance. This year, a CD player has been added to the standard equipment list of the LX and ES. It comes on the DX too, but only when ordered with a Convenience Package.
Protege is available in DX, LX and ES trim. DX is very basic, nothing more than a price leader powered by an adequate 1.5-liter 92-horsepower engine. LX is the most popular Protege, and it comes standard with cruise control, power windows, and a CD player. Step up to the ES, and you'll get a mini sport sedan equipped with a 122-horsepower 1.8-liter engine, disc brakes all around, air conditioning and the ticket to fun times behind the wheel.
Fully loaded, the ES nearly reaches $19,000 including destination charges. While the ES is our favorite, we recommend the more sensible LX for budget-minded shoppers. Decently equipped with automatic transmission and antilock brakes, buyers can get into the LX for less than $16,000 sticker. That's still a good chunk of change for a small sedan, but not unusual in 1998. Take the Protege for a test drive, and find out if this attractive little Mazda is right for you.
Read what other owners think about the Used 1998 Mazda Protege.
The car has been very reliable as others have mentioned, however this is transportation at it's most basic level. This car is a noisy tin can on wheels. Radio must be cranked in order to overcome excessive road noise. Car lacks power even with the larger 1.8L engine and is really not that great on gas. I rarely take it on highways and my wife refuses to drive it at all because of the "Tin Can" feel. With that said, it is a reliable beater for local commutes but would not take this car on long trips.
4.75 out of 5 stars
Love my 5 year old Protege!
DX 4dr Sedan
I have had my car for over 5 years now,
bought it with 30 miles on it. I drive
it about 11,000 miles a year. This car
has been so good to me. I have only had
1 minor problem so far with it, the
shifter froze one winter and wouldn't
shift, but that was fixed years ago.
This car has been so dependable, I
would recommend to anyone.
3.63 out of 5 stars
Reliable, fun, needs more power!
DX 4dr Sedan
This is my 5th Mazda, 2nd Protege. Fun
to drive, but, even with the manual
transmission needs more umph! The 13"
tyres don't grip the road very well, so
I replaced the wheels with alloys and
used the stock LX/ES sized tyres of
185x65x14 and it made a considerable
improvement in handling and braking.
But, inspite of the manual
transmission, its a loud vehicle; I
installed Dynashield Extreme and other
sound insulation products to kill the
road noise. Reliable, has only needed
regular maintance in 101,000 miles and
a battery. Was totaled in a accident,
so I looking for another to replace it.
4.88 out of 5 stars
LX 4dr Sedan
Bought the car at 71,000 miles. It's been trouble free with only preventive maintenance needed. The 1.5 is underpowered, but the 5-speed makes it fun to drive. This car also gets great mileage (30 mpg city/highway mix, 37 mpg all highway). Roomy car (I am 6'5"). Very very practical car.
The Used 1998 Mazda Protege is offered in the following submodels: Protege Sedan. Available styles include LX 4dr Sedan, DX 4dr Sedan, and ES 4dr Sedan.
Pre-owned Mazda Protege models are available with a 1.5 L-liter gas engine or a 1.8 L-liter gas engine, with output up to 122 hp, depending on engine type.
The Used 1998 Mazda Protege comes with front wheel drive.
Available transmissions include: 5-speed manual.
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Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you
that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make
higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand,
can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a
new car every three years or so.