1998 Mazda Protege SE from North America


Great first car!


From the time I purchased the car the check engine light was on, it was later disconnected.

This car in particular seemed to rust very quickly, even after perevious rust spots were fixed.

There was a constant problem with the emergency brake.

The timing belt blew at 190,000km and brakes were replaced then also.

New alternator at 225,000.

Both front ball joints rusted through, sub frame rusted through, steering fluid leaking and brake lines started leaking all due to age of car.

General Comments:

This car held up very well in my opinion, and I beleive that the winter conditions contributed to my rust problem.

My protege was a great first car and I'm sad that I have to part with it, it was always very reliable and I would buy another Mazda in a second.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 4th November, 2007

1998 Mazda Protege from North America


This is a fantastic little car


One major tune up after 65000 miles of driving and that is all I have ever had to do to this car.

General Comments:

This was my first car and I could not have wished for a better one.

Even with sporadic maintenance, never had to do repairs or replace parts.

Great on gas; I drove from Colorado Springs to Santa Fe on one tank.

If you are looking for a vehicle for your high school or college student, buy this car.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 30th September, 2006

1998 Mazda Protege DX 1.5L transverse 4 from North America


Solid reliable economical transportation


An exhaust bracket came loose in the engine compartment and rattled in a specific RPM range at 50000 miles and had to be tightened back down.

The windshield wipers drive belt rotted away around 70000 miles and had to be replaced.

The air compressor clutch seized up, and eventually the compressor itself did too. At 90000 miles the belt that drives the compressor and power steering gave out. I chose not to replace it as highway mileage increased; the car now gets an incredible 44 miles per gallon at 75 MPH.

General Comments:

The 1.5L engine doesn't produce a whole lot of power, but coupled with a manual transmission and decent tires, respectable acceleration can be had if desired.

Unless, that is, your 6'4" 320# brother-in-law is riding shotgun.

I'm 6'2" myself, and any air fresheners had to be hung in the back seat because they were just too close and overpowering off the rear-view mirror.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 1st August, 2004

21st Jul 2009, 08:53

"air fresheners had to be hung in the back"

You may avoid this problem entirely by using deodorants in both arm pits. Caution: internet humor!

1998 Mazda Protege DX 1.5 from North America


A practical car that is fun to drive


The switch plate on the driver's side door broke.

The battery needs jump started often. Even with a new battery I cannot leave the dome light on for more than a couple minutes.

General Comments:

The seats aren't very comfortable. The padding is stiff and I often hit my elbow against the center console.

The car does not like to accelerate when taking off from traffic lights or merging onto the interstate. Once it gets going though, it will move alright.

I am happy with the CD player. That was an unexpected bonus when I purchased the car.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 10th March, 2004

1998 Mazda Protege DX 1.5 naturally aspirated from North America


Economy car that changes expectations


The EGR valve failed.

The exhaust manifold cracked.

Both items were listed under TSBs from Mazda. There is no fix for the EGR so you just have to wait for it to fail again. The exhaust manifold is available on the aftermarket, but with an improved design that prevents the same stress cracks.

I have replaced the timing belt/water pump, clutch, brake shoes/rotors and shocks... all due to age. The axles were replaced when the clutch was done, but the worst part was that they were frozen to the wheel hub. I had to take it to a machine shop to be pressed out.

The check engine light is also a bit of a pain. I bought a code reader because the cost of getting the code read each time got too expensive. Several codes have popped up once, but never again, leading me to believe the ecu is overly sensitive.

General Comments:

This car was purchased as a daily driver/work commuter. I didn't expect very much from it, but it has grudgingly earned my respect.

The 1.5l motor is grossly underpowered off the line, but once moving, it is responsive enough.

The stock 13" wheels should be replaced immediately. They howl in protest at anything more than gentle driving. A set of 14" alloys from a Miata make a good replacement.

The car has responded very well to suspension modifications. Aftermarket performance springs, struts and a OEM rear sway bar from an Protege ES have gone a long way to making it handle like a much more expensive car. I also installed a strut tower bar for good measure.

The interior IS cheap. I picked most of the parts from a LX in a junkyard. The higher quality parts (seats, trim options) make for a much more comfortable car.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 12th October, 2003

19th Nov 2009, 17:15

"There is no fix for the EGR so you just have to wait for it to fail again."

I think there is a fix for many cases. See '98 Protege, "Lovely Little Runner" including comments.