My large almost new Ford was totaled by a drunk driver. The driver's insurance company would only rent me a car for two weeks but they did give me a good payment for my car. I wanted to take my time selecting and buying a new car so I decided to purchase a cheap car and then sell it after I got the new car. I bought my 2000 Mazda Protege for $2,500 in 2012. At the time the car had 151,000 miles. As I drove the car I began to really like it. It handled great, it was dependable, it looked good, and the gas mileage was outrageous ( 27 city 40 hwy). I have the automatic. Eventually I forgot about another car because I liked the protege so much. I looked at my gasoline bills and saw that in the past 4 years, I have saved $8,000+ in gasoline costs as compared to the Ford. Same basic driving routine. Mostly city some highway. On one trip, I was able to drive the back road highways at 55 MPH (no hills) and I got 42 MPG. I love the way the car feels inside. I have owned several Porsches and this car feels like a Porsche to me. It is super easy to park. When I see a space I just pull in. No parallel parking required. It looks really small, but if you check out the actual dimensions it is about the same size as most cars these days. The visibility is incredible. It is like you can see everywhere which is why the car looks small. The top part of the car is high (including the glass) and the body is short (like a Ferrrari). The car now has 181,000 miles on it an in the 4 years since I have owned it I have had no repairs at all. The car has never let me down. I have another car and a newer pickup truck but I always find myself driving the Protege because it is so much fun. All I have done is replace brake pads and shoes, tires, oil, belts, and hoses. No smoke from the exhaust, uses no oil, lots of power, idles smooth, nice transmission shifts, drives like a new car. If the car made it to 500,000 miles I would not be surprised. The guy I bought it from later told me he was sorry he sold it. I am only the third owner. My future plans are to have the car repainted (although the paint still looks good but not perfect) in a two tone factory color option and put some good wide alloy wide wheels and tires on it. I would also like a high performance exhaust system. The upholstery is like new, no tears or anything. I like this car more than any car I have ever owned. Every time I get into the car all I think is " this car has saved me $6,500 for the pleasure of owning and driving it".
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.
I bought my car brand new in Nov 1999. Regular maintenance (oil changes @ 4000 to 6000 miles), radiator flush, timing belt, etc, per manufacture's recommendation. This is my second Mazda (first was '84 Mazda 323 sedan-also brand new- drove over 250,000mi). My Protege has the original transmission (5speed manual) and engine. This car has spent 12 of it's nearly 16 years in northern winters. It's spent most of it's lifetime outdoors (no parking shelter) and started every time. Nothing has failed while driving. When the vehicle warranty expired, I prefer working with an outside mechanic shop. Yes, the car has rust, and has more exterior noise than the first day I drove it off the lot. There are a few small issues w/electronics (occasionally cd player doesn't work, & occasionally driver door lock must be manually operated). Minor stuff. The car starts every day, gets decent gas mileage. I'm still hoping for 400,000 miles, though it's possible the car may not make it. In any case, my experience is, that Mazda makes a fantastic product. If you're looking for value and reliability, this is the brand.
Purchased my 2000 protege with the proper 5-speed manual in late 2012. Ever since I purchased it I had no mechanical problems. The 1.6ZM Engine runs like clock work and is zippy,the ride is somewhat comfortable, there are no squeaks and rattles, . However, I wish this car had more power.Another issue is rust. I noticed that the protege has the tendency to rust around the rear wheel arches. I talked to an auto body shop and they told me that Mazda during assembly the wheel arches had two pieces of metal spot welded and over time water and debris would seep in between the spot welds causing it to oxidize. Other than those two minor issues this vehicle is one of the most reliable and tough.
I like the exterior look the front looks somewhat aggressive and you can find eye-lids to make it more aggressive. despite being 15 years old, I can still find JDM (Japanese domestic market) parts for my protege after doing some research. I also found out that this car has many other names like Mazda Familia (Japan)manufactured from 1963-2003.5 , Ford Tierra, and Mazda Isamu Genki (Taiwan)manufactured from 2000-present day with parts! If you have a protege try to research foreign parts. You'll be surprised at what you'll find.
Next time, I would like the engine to have more power!