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.
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