1992 Mazda Protege DX from North America


Wonderfully reliable car


I needed two new CV joints at approximately 95,000 miles.

I got a new radiator at 170,000 miles.

I changed the timing belt at 65,000 miles and 130,000 miles.

I have had intermittent trouble with the blinker for the last 50,000 miles or so. (Never with a mechanic present!)

The driver seat-belt guide/track broke at around 60,000 miles.

My horn connections melted while it parked in 120 degree F heat!

The paint job is terribly faded and the bumper paint peels and chips. This is the most annoying thing about my car.

Other than the above, I have only gone through lots of tires and brakes (I lived in the country,) 2 batteries and lots of oil changes.

General Comments:

Despite all the negative comments above, I love this car. In respect for her age, I call her grandma.

She has never let me down, nor abandoned me on the side of the road.

She handles well, has tight steering, and is very comfortable to drive.

The interior looks great for her age, but the exterior has been terrible since year 2. The bumper paint started chipping, even before the rest of the paint started fading.

This is a great car for the price. I hope to keep her for another 171,000 miles.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 13th November, 2002

1992 Mazda Protege LX 1.8L DOHC from North America


A quick, comfortable, economical car


The only real problems I have had with the car are the CV joints and ball joints.

Otherwise, I have only had to do routine maintenance.

General Comments:

The Mazda Protege really is a typical '90s Japanese car- reliable, very comfortable, and boring to look at!

However, the LX model has much to write home about- standard 4- wheel disc brakes, 14" wheels with H- rated tires (DX model has 13" wheels) a nice 1.8L DOHC engine that has lots of power, tight suspension, and all the power trimmings!

The Protege LX is a pretty quick car, although all the power is up in the higher RPM ranges- typical of a free- breathing, small- displacement engine. It handles very well, and the brakes bring it to a halt faster than any other car I have driven.

The seats are comfortable, and the controls are well- placed and clearly labeled.

My only complaints:

1.The noise- at higher speeds, there is quite a bit of engine noise. This is because the car has such low gearing- a plus for performance, but I will say that 3500 RPM at 70 MPH is a little high. This car screams for a 6th gear!

2.This car could be a little less serious. I realize it's a four- door sedan, but its general nature is just a little too buttoned down for a car that performs this well. Give it the spirit of a VW Jetta, and it would be perfect.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 18th September, 2002

1992 Mazda Protege LX 1.8L DOHC from North America


Quick, comfortable, economical, and CHEAP. Need I say more?


Power seat belt line came out of the track.

Passengers side power window getting worn out and very slow.

Ongoing problems with the turn signals (i.g. only the passengers side one works)

Rear speakers both broke in the same place. A small plastic piece that held the wires up broke off on both speakers one a few months after the other. This caused the wires to touch bare metal on the speaker magnet. This caused the whole stereo to go out. Fixed them with some electrical tape. Took about five minutes.

Normal wear and tear items (brakes, tires, timing belt, etc.)

Had to replace water pump when engine started overheating at 100000 miles.

Radiator corroded at 110000 miles, caused more overheating. I fixed it easily with a radiator flush and one of those fix-leak liquids.

Had to replace CV joint at 98000 (probably my fault considering how much I rodded it).

Every once in a while it will suddenly start choking itself. Every time you hit the gas pedal it seems like it floods itself or something. Any ideas?

General Comments:

I love this car!

I know it seems like there is quite a long list problems I have had with the car, but most of those were not very serious (I with my limited mechanic abilities) was almost always able to fix them myself. All in all this car has been extremely reliable considering how bad I treat it.

With the bad part out of the way now I can talk about what I love about this car, THE PERFORMANCE.

Performance: I have never driven a car that handles as well as this one. It is so much fun to drive, and the up-level 1.8L DOHC makes sure that you will be extremely pleased when you put some spirit into your gas foot. If you are looking to buy a Protege from around the 1992 model year I very much recommend the LX.

Comfort: This is a very comfortable car. Once again in this area I would recommend the LX. The seats very supportive and I love all the cool options like power everything (including the sunroof), and the stereo was pretty powerful before I put a different cd player in, It was too powerful and blew the speakers. I like the interior colors too (blue and tan with black highlights). The rear seat is easily comfortable for two adults even on longer trips. Pretty much all is good except the seat fabrics on the front two seats are starting to wear, and of course the cheesy blown speakers suck.

Affordability: This car is moderately cheap to own. The gas mileage is great on the highway. I get on average about 27 mpg on the highway and that is running between 80 and 90 mph with occaisional triple digit romps. In town I get about 18-24 mpg, but, once again, it would probably be a lot higher of I didn't beat this car around. It's just too tempting to give the guy in the Mustang next to you a butt-whooping, or at least a run for his money. For the price I can't think of many cars that offer this much substance for the price. I paid $2850 for this car when it had 90000 miles on it. The only problem is that my loan, at 30% interest, will dictate that I end up paying about $6000 for it. Oh well, as long as this car keeps going like this, it'll be worth it.

Overall View: Though I have had a few problems with this car I still absolutely love it. The FEW shortcomings are easily overshadowed by how much fun this car really is. You wouldn't expect that a cheap little rice-burner compact would be this fun to drive, but it is. If you are the type of person who wants a car with enough room for all their friends, enough power to make you smile as you blow away that chick in her pretty white Mustang, Is is cheap enough to buy and own that pretty much everyone can afford it, look no further.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 1st August, 2002

10th Sep 2006, 14:45

I echo all of the above comments. After nine years and 115,000Kms, I’m very pleased with the DX model (1.8 single cam 16 valve).


- Cylinder Head Gasket

I have changed the cylinder gasket at 170,000 KMs since number 1 cylinder compression was 20psi down from the others and there was an oil leak at the gasket of the same cylinder (plus, I discovered oil in the radiator, all signs of a head gasket leak). As I disassembled the engine, I found a pool of oil inside the plenum in the intake manifold *this could explain the sudden engine choking on acceleration* where it sloshes into the intake runner cylinder head. The source would be from the PCV. It takes years for this oil to build up though. Discovered very little wear on the cylinder bores and a very clean oil pan after changing oil & filter every 5,000 KMs. Cylinder head in very good condition after machine shop check it and performed a valve grind/minor planning.

Ground out the exhaust manifold – bit of a messy casing around the O2 sensor and matching to the down pipe. Matched the throttle, intake and exhaust pieces.

- Rear radio speakers

Same problem of breaking plastic wire brace.

- CV joint boots

Changed Cv boots after driver’s side outside boot cracked.

- Very minor surface rust

Repaired three minor spots around the front windscreen.