1997 Mazda Protege LX 1.5L from North America


Big bang for the buck: easy to drive, incredibly reliable, roomy interior


Air Conditioner Compressor went out around 70,000 miles. It took out a few belts with it when it died.

A/C Compressor is making a rattling noise again. The right most A/C vent in the car appears to be having issues with blowing (loose belt?). It's Texas, it's hot; I work the A/C hard in this car.

Transmission is sticking. There are times when the car "bucks" and refuses to change gears.

All other damage was caused by myself, including a hole in the exhaust pipe ($325 to replace), worn brake pads and drums, busted front light, cracked windshield (around 100,000miles), and paint damage on the front bumper.

General Comments:

This car is incredibly reliable. All issues with this car have generally been caused by normal wear and tear on the engine.

I have hit 126,000 miles without any major breakdowns other than the A/C compressor going out on my car. My parents cannot say the same about their Fords, which always have problems.

My check engine light appears to be ultra-sensitive. It came on when I lost my gas cap the first time; that's when I learned about how it is pressure sensitive. It came on again for no real reason; fortunately, the mechanic didn't charge me extra for the test they use on it. Finally, it's currently on again and I'm not sure why. The car has not changed in drive quality at all since it appeared.

My car is beat-up, scratched up, and dented in multiple places. I was rear-ended two times and the bumper barely showed any signs of damage (it dropped about an inch after the 2nd accident). I had it repaired of course since the offending party's insurance was going to pay for it.

The brakes are great. Everyone who drives my car remarks on how tight they seem.

The engine is a bit sluggish. It is a 4 cylinder 1.5L sedan after all. I wish it had more get up and go, but it's just not going to have sporty performance.

My only beef is with the quality of how the exterior parts fit together. The trunk does not seat perfectly flush into the back, even though the car was never in an accident prior to my purchase of it. The bumper has the same issue, though I think that's in part to it being replaced.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 26th October, 2004

10th Aug 2009, 01:59

I agree these cars are very reliable! One of my close relatives used the protege as a commuter from Sacramento to San Francisco 6 days a week! No problem at all, except the routine maintenance.

1997 Mazda Protege LX 1.8 liter 4 cylinder w/122 HP from North America


THUMBS UP for Mazda!


Replaced spark plugs and got a new battery.

Needs new sideview mirror.

Wipers will not park.

Rear trunk keyhole will not work.

Power lock button does not work.

3 scrapes.

Cracked windshield.

That's it!

General Comments:

It is a reliable little car! The only incentive that made my Dad buy this car was it was cheap. $2500 (CDNdollars).

It is a beautiful red and has a neato spoiler.

The car is peppy and accelerates well and handles very good with the 14 inch rims.

The only things I do not like about the car are...

The cup holders. What a joke??!! Can't hold a coffee cup or a large glass.

The wiper arms are attached to the motor by means of a nut. A nut?!?! I had the darn thing unscrew on me when traveling on the highway and it was raining! I have a GM Chevrolet Citation and it has a spline so it does not slip or come loose!

The throttle is waaay too sensitive and it is hard to keep a constant speed. For this reason, I use the cruise whenever I can. If the car is in 'Park', just tapping the throttle makes the RPM jump to 3000. Maybe I am just being picky or am more used to driving the Citation.

The engine can get a bit noisy and shaky whenever it goes past 4000 RPM; nothing to worry about though.

I like the exhaust note when the RPM are around 4000 or higher. And no, it does not have any of that riced up crap; it uses a stock exhaust.

Simply put, this is a nice reliable little car that gets GREAT fuel economy and is GREAT in comfort. I really like the flexible steering wheel and the feel of it.

The seats are buckets and have VERY good support. The only thing I HATE is it does not have an armrest on the right. If that center console is supposed to be it, then it is the poorest excuse I have ever seen..

I really like the seats; they have good lumbar support as well as thigh support. I am a bit of a small person and although the thigh support is good, it may not be for taller people.

Steering is tight, and has a good grip and road feel.

The suspension is good and is tuned more for comfort than handling and I like it. I usually travel over bumpy roads and it is excellent.

Braking is very good. It is better than the Aerostar and emergency stops without locking the wheels are superb!

I need to state that the car was abused. The sideview mirror has been broken off and there are 2 scrapes on the car. There is one on the rear bumper too. On the top of the driver's side door, I can notice a dent where someone tried to get into the car after locking their keys inside. Come on! If I locked my keys in the car, I'd pay a locksmith to make a new key and it would cost approximately 40-50 dollars. It is better than smashing the window or putting a dent in, both which are VERY costly to repair.

Again, I want to emphasize that this car is one of the best bang for the buck. I swear, I only pay 25 dollars to fill the tank and it goes a long way!

Good job Mazda.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 13th July, 2004

25th Nov 2009, 09:04

"The throttle is waaay too sensitive and it is hard to keep a constant speed. If the car is in park, just tapping the throttle makes the rpms jump to 3000."

That doesn't seem unusual for Mazda Proteges. I fixed mine with a thorough cleaning of the throttle body and lubricating the throttle cable.