I work at a car rental company at an airport, so I drive brand new 2011-2012 cars all day long. This car is on par with these brand new cars, in my opinion. Everything about it is wonderful. The features, the handling, the styling, the utility, the mileage!. It's by far my favorite car to drive out of all I have driven!
I purchased my 2003 Mazda Protege5 in 10/2002 and have been glad every day since! I have had the clutch replaced in the past 2 years along with the compressor and the catalytic converter and the drivers side widow thingy. I feel like after 7 years, this is normal. The head-light bulbs have been a bit of a nuisance, having to replace frequently, but being able to replace them myself, i'm just out the cost of the bulb, which isn't much. If you know the car has had regular maintenance, it will not let you down.
I drove this car for three weeks. I loved it. Unfortunately a guy turned in front of me without looking. My car got totaled. This car saved my life. The paramedics could not believe how much the car was squished and not me. Besides the normal symptoms of a crash, I am way better than I should be. This is one amazing car in all aspects.
I bought my 2003 P5 new...have had for 10 years now. It has 287,000 miles! I plan to get as many miles as I possibly can out of her. It is a manual trans and I've kept the timing belt replaced at regular intervals and have only ever used synthetic oil. The thermostat quit once but was a very simple fix. The headlight have always been a headache. I used to would have to replace them seemingly constantly. I love driving this car and don't feel like I will ever like another car as much as I like this one...unless it was a suped up chevelle or something :) cheap car, cheap on gas & fun to drive.