1997 Mazda Protege LX 1.5 from North America


Outstanding! Cheap, utterly reliable transportation


The air conditioning stopped working about 4 years ago, I've made no attempt to repair.

Replaced cracked exhaust manifold.

General Comments:

This car is dirt cheap to own/operate. Literally years go by without me spending a cent on auto repair other than oil changes.

Excellent gas mileage. Over ten years I averaged at least 30 (up to 32) mpg city, and maybe 35 on highway. Recently made it from Las Vegas to Tucson AZ on one tank of gas (42 mpg, honest. I drove carefully though).

I do absolutely nothing to maintain this car, and it just goes. I change the oil twice a year with the cheapest oil they sell. It is 60,000 miles overdue on its 60,000 mile route maintenance, and just doesn't stop.

Has held up to inconsiderate use/abuse extremely well. Electric windows, dash lights, head/tail/blinkers, fans etc - all work. No broken knobs or switches, no cracks on the dash or interior except where I've been putting my elbow on the drivers side arm rest for a decade. Upholstery doesn't show much wear at all.

It's no luxury car: simple interior, pretty high amount of road noise. Seats are reasonable comfortable I guess. Not really stylish.

My goal with an automobile is to spend as little time and money on it as possible. I have neglected this car as much as any one could, and it in turn has been perfectly reliable and fully functional for eleven years (except the air conditioner, which I never tried to fix since that would involve money). You'd think it would be a total junk bucket, but it's just a great, solid vehicle. Love it, and will only buy Mazda's now.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 21st April, 2009

1997 Mazda Protege LX 1.5L from North America


Good on gas, but one thing after another


This car is just one problem after another.

Trunk does not open, alternator went, power steering is going, had to replace battery, the check engine light came on and went off for about 4 hours, then right back on.

I am lucky if the car will go above 70mph, and when it even comes close the car shakes.

The whole wiper system went and had to replace that.

The car also starts making loud noises around 60 mph as if there is a hole in the exhaust (which there isn't).

You can shake the steering wheel without the tires turning, but they wobble as if they are loose?

Maybe I got the bad seed out of the bunch, but either way I'm not happy with the car at all.

General Comments:

Never buying a Protege again.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 10th March, 2009

24th Jul 2009, 14:36

O.k. you have a vehicle with 100,000 miles on the clock and some wear on the steering, most likely tie rod ends.

Did you get any work done regarding the engine? Plugs, timing belt, etc?

1997 Mazda Protege ES Sedan 1.8 from North America


Never ever a Mazda again


All four rotors and pads have been replaced at 150k - $600.

EGR Valve @ 125K - $450.

Mushy brakes, master cylinder at 155k - $350.

Alternator ~ 160K - Rebuilt for $150.

A/C compressor @ 160K - ~ $600 job, didn't even think about fixing.

General Comments:

Compared to my 94 Protege, this car is a piece of junk. Sluggish, gets poor fuel economy and very expensive to repair.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 27th January, 2009

6th May 2009, 16:44

Considering your repairs are all above 100K miles I wouldn't complain. Any Car, Any year with over 100K miles are fair game with repairs...

2nd Mar 2011, 09:56

That's normal there guy! Those needed at that mileage. Although I would comment that the price of the work is pretty high. But then again, must be a dealer.

2nd Mar 2011, 14:45

Dealers like to replace parts. I cleaned my EGR valve and scraped deposits out of the passages. It works just fine, and the expense was limited to a few bucks for the gasket.

6th Mar 2011, 01:45

Speaking of which, a mechanic told me I may need a new cat and/or EGR valve, because of slightly high NOX emissions (fails smog). All I did was clean the MAF sensor, that took care of the smog check! Fixed the slight high NOX, costing only $7 to buy the MAF sensor cleaner. (And I still have lots of it left)

7th Mar 2011, 13:41

Exactly! It is always worth attempting a simple fix first. I also used a "Seafoam" treatment on our cars and they all run smoother now. The "Seafoam" treatment removes carbon deposits.

Midgrade gasoline helped my Mazda Protege as well.