2001 Mazda 323 Protege Shades 1.6
Comfortable and reliable
Only owned the car for 8 months, purchased from a dealer. When I went to get a roadworthy to sell it, the front brakes required machining and new pads. Either the dealer covered that up or they happened to wear particularly fast.
The boot release also stopped working for a while, my mechanic discovered that the safety lock (on the actual boot latch) had somehow triggered, and once taken off, the release worked normally.
Only owned for a short time, but otherwise faultless.
I found the car quite big and roomy for a small car, but it handled well and was gutsy enough for a 1.6L.
Having also driven a 1.8L the difference is noticeable, but not earth-shatteringly so. The 1.6 obviously gives better fuel economy (I averaged 7.2-7.5L/100km highway driving with A/C on). Curiously I found that a relaxed driving style didn't significantly help economy (compared to aggressive driving).
The interior is plain, but functional. The Shades model is second from the top (SP20 is highest) and has electric windows and velour trim. I replaced the stock CD player (wouldn't read all CDs) with a Pioneer head unit.
I found the car quite comfortable to drive in. Four adults can travel comfortably. It also makes a great car for a small family, there are three anchor points for child seats in the back row. The rear seats fold down in a 60/40 split and armrest folds down where the middle seat is.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 18th May, 2009