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 have owned this car for 10 years now and it has been nothing but good to me. I always took it to the dealership so anything related to maintenance and the few recalls were taken care of properly. I put a few modifications on it early on (Injen CAI, Racing Beat Catback Exhaust, Short Shifter) and have enjoyed even better performance and fun driving. Granted, this car is not going to win any drag races, but it is has decent pep and loves corners! Very reliable- never had anything beyond regular wear and tear in 10 years.
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.