1989 Mazda Protege Review

1989 Mazda Protege SE 1.8 OHC from North America

Year of manufacture1989
First year of ownership1990
Most recent year of ownership2003
Engine and transmission 1.8 OHC Manual
Performance marks 9 / 10
Reliability marks 10 / 10
Comfort marks 9 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 10 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
9.5 / 10
Distance when acquired810 miles
Most recent distance197000 miles
Previous carMazda 626


The most dependable car I've ever owned


Water pump failed at 137,000 miles.

A/C began leaking a little in 2001, switched to R-134a in 2002, finally had to replace the compressor, evaporator core and dryer in 2003.

Seat-belts were fixed in 2002 as part of a recall.

Alternator was replace at 178000 miles in 2002.

Added a cruise control for highway driving in 2001.

The manual shift linkage is getting very loose at 196000 miles.

Replaced disc pads at 90,000 and 170000 miles.

Radiator replace in January 1996, 2001 and again in 2002...plastic cracks and leaks.

General Comments:

This car has been put through the wringer and refuses to do. I've spun it out on dry pavement (no impacts)...my wife has spun it in the rain and fetched it up against the guard rails... at it keeps running.

This is the original clutch and transmission and no slippage.

The motor uses about 1qt of oil/3000 miles. 20w/50 Mobil 1 w/Mobil 1 filters every 6-7K miles.

I'm going to drive this car until the wheels fall off- at 36mpg highway and 30mpg in town I'd be an idiot to trade it in on a $20K car that gets 20mpg and have that fat payment every month.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 4th August, 2003

Average review marks: 9.5 / 10, based on 1 review