1993 Mazda Protege DX 1.8 from North America


Very reliable and cheap to maintain


Replaced the clutch at 250,000 miles.

General Comments:

Bought this car for 850 almost two years ago. I have driven this car everywhere and it has been very reliable. I always get tempted to buy another car, since it looks a little rough, but this car will not die! I always come back to my senses not to get rid of a good car that is cheap on gas, just because I want something more sporty. I will drive this literally until it dies. I'll then look for another 92-94 Protege.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 14th February, 2014

1993 Mazda Protege DX 1.8 SOHC from North America


I love this car!


Occasionally my 1993 Mazda Protege will throw a spark plug. In the 17 years that I have owned it, it's happened 3 times. Each time I found it in the engine compartment or on the ground, and just put it back in. Now I know that when the engine has a rough idle, it's time to tighten the plugs.

There is a slight oil leak now that my current mechanic can't locate, due to some careless work done by another shop. I don't know what they did, but it's leaked since I took it there for a new valve cover gasket, and they claim it isn't their fault. Needless to say, I'm never going there again. And yes, my current mechanic has replaced their valve cover gasket.

Overall, my Protege been fantastic mechanically, and the interior and paint look great.

General Comments:

Best car I have ever owned! Hardly any mechanical problems, and always starts immediately. The original mileage estimates were 23-33 city and 30-42 highway. I keep it tuned up, so I consistently get 30 mpg city, and often get 40 mpg on the highway.

Most importantly, it's a blast to drive. Peppy, great handling, does well in rain or snow.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 8th January, 2011

8th Jan 2011, 21:34

My first car was a manual 93 PROTEGE LX, which I bought in 2000. Sold it 2 years later to buy a 98 626, which I regretted later. You must drive very little to have less than 120,000 miles in 17 years; hope you reach 200,000 with the same performance!

10th Jan 2011, 11:23

I bet that the threads for the spark plugs in the head are cross threaded or stripped. Let your mechanic insert a repair kit. Be careful not to over tighten the plugs.

1993 Mazda Protege LX 1.8L DOHC from North America


The car gives a desirable balance of performace, economy, comfort, and style


Radiator leaked; replaced with all-metallic unit ~120000.

CV joints and half-shafts replaced ~165000 miles.

Air intake hose (from the airbox/mass-flow sensor to the intake manifold) began to crack and leak with age and heat at ~180k, resulting in stumbling and stalling, reduced fuel economy, and causing the transmission to hunt down to second speed much of the time. After a few months with duck tape around the cracks (which helped), the $50 replacement from NAPA made all of that go away.

Horn switch isolating foam collapsed last night (which led me to this site.) I made the added-foam repair today and we'll see whether I need to go spend the $14 for the horn switch assembly.

Poor bodyshop work after a sideswipe collision in '93 caused rust in the right quarter panel and rear strut towers. This hasn't stopped us yet.

The sunroof and windows have developed a lot of drag, so that the sunroof can't be driven by its motor anymore (but I can use the manual crank) and the window motors strain to raise and lower the glass, especially in cold weather.

General Comments:

The dealer service for the first 120,000 miles included not only oil changes every 3k, but thorough seat/door/hinge/latch/body lube as well as all the mfr-recommended stuff. With this kind of care, and gentle driving, this car remains reliable.

It's nimble, comfortable, peppy without danger, secure in snow, reliable and economical (35 mpg hwy), and good-looking. Our LX has power windows, locks, mirrors and sunroof, auto trans, and power steering and brakes. And retractable cupholders. And adjustable lumbar support. The passive shoulder belts are preferable to airbags, and the lack of the more-recently developed ABS hasn't hurt us yet; Mazda brakes have always had very good feedback and modulation. The stem-mounted light and wiper controls are superior.

In my opinion, Mazda is the most undervalued marque in the market. (No offense to Hyundai and Kia)

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 21st December, 2010

21st Dec 2010, 20:36

Style? What are you talking about? This is one of the most bland, non-descript cars ever.

22nd Dec 2010, 09:30

Style is a matter of preference. I like the style of that generation of Proteges. It borrowed quite a bit of the Mercedes Benz 190 of that time. That's o.k. to me, because I don't expect a cheap car to be a leader in style.

The reviewer may put some silicone lubricant on the window surrounds to reduce friction.

I don't agree that automatic belts are preferable to air bags. Your shoulder belt is automatic, but you still have to manually buckle up the lap belt. If you don't, you could slip under the shoulder belt and strangle yourself in an accident. I prefer 3 point belts and airbag combined.

I agree the Proteges of all vintage seem under-rated. You have a nice car, keep it up!

8th Jan 2011, 12:14

I think my '93 Protege is a beautiful car, but what's even more beautiful is what's under the hood. Best car I've ever owned!