We have owned our 2000 DX with auto transmission for 14 years and 227,800 miles. Other than a new ECM about 8 years ago we have only completed oil changes every 3k miles and the occasional brake job (all completed by me).
At 225,000 I decided it was time to replace the ORIGINAL timing belt (which, believe it or not, didn't look too bad). At that time I also replaced the following: Valve cover seal Spark plugs Cam seals Crank seal Water pump Timing pulleys and tension spring Struts Control arms with lower ball joints Replace 4 Qts tranny fluid Outer tierod ends New driver side axle
I completed all the work myself and it was fairly easy to complete..... All for about $800 in parts. If you are a do it yourself type of person then this car is for you. Very easy to work on.
I drive this car 60 miles per day and am confident it will make it to 300,000 miles.
We purchased our Mazda protege off a classified site for $1100 Canadian. It was as is but only required two tires and rear shoes for safety. We've had our protege for just over a year now and it has required minimal repairs such as front stabilizer links serpentine belts (there are two, there small and they tend to break). The 1.6L with the 4 speed automatic is good on fuel both in the city and the highway. The car had 249 000kms on it and it now has 305 000. It handles well in the winter but ONLY if winter tires are equipped. Currently the car runs and drives but when the temperature drops below -5 C the thermostat sticks open and we don't get any heat. I'd recommend this car to anyone. At 305 000 kms we decided to finally retire the protege. It still drove fine but required front struts, rear brake job and rear wheel cylinder (its leaking like crazy and required brake fluid every two weeks, both rear bearing had 1/2 inch of play, the steering rack leaked at each inner tie rod and every single speaker was blown, and there were two holes in the frame due to the rough winters. but it just kept on going!
We have had this car since it was new 11 years ago - it replaced another just like it that died on us, and it now has 224,500 miles on it. Though we are looking for a new vehicle, we plan to keep this one as a second vehicle for use locally. I was amazed that you give mpg as 25 - 27; we've never gotten less than 32, usually more, up to 38! Perhaps part of that is my exclusive use of Mobil 1 oil; with the vagaries of gas pump shut-offs, regardless, I feel 34-35 mpg is what we have (and continue to get) for mileage. Driving it's been a pleasure, though it's showing signs of age - noisiness, mostly.
Snappy acceleration and good steering control; handles well on slick, snowy roads as well as dry pavement.
I keep vehicles a very long time. This 2000 Protege DX was purchased used in 2002 and has been a reliable ride ever since. I mount 4 snow tires every winter and hold my own with the mid- size SUVs in Colorado winters. As an older woman taking solo road trips, I've laid the seats down in this hatchback sedan to sleep in the "capsule" when the tent was blowing away. I would never buy a car I couldn't sleep in! Don't know why I get an incredible 38-42 mpg, but I do. At 155,000 miles I replaced the clutch as the manual transmission took a beating on 1-70's slow crawls up into the mountains winter & summer. I'd keep her until 300,000 if I didn't have to go to an automatic for health reasons.