The best car no one is buying – Move over Civic and Corolla
The trunk latch no longer COMPLETELY closes without tinkering. We usually have to ask a mechanic to close it.
OK, I've never owned or driven a Civic, but I do have a '99 Corolla, so I can say with certainty that the Protégé (LX) is a much nicer car.
The only thing about this car that drives me crazy is the plastic shield over the instrument panel, which vibrates from time to time during idle. Wind noise is a bit high as well, but then we have a roof rack on the car.
Fuel economy has slipped in the 110,000 miles we've owned it; but this may be attributed to the addition of the roof rack and the need for new transmission fluid. The trans fluid may also be why the car is not shifting as efficiently as it used to. Even so, this car has power on tap for a 4 cylinder. Some things I love:
- Superb handling (car is built on the Miata platform)
- All power options, including keyless entry
- MOST interior space of any car in its class and year (our Corolla has no rear leg room in comparison)
- Engine still sounds close to new after 136,000+ miles
- Very comfortable on long drives (2 – 3 hour trips)
- Trunk no longer FULLY latches due to rust (although mechanics always seem able to get it to close)
- I lost a small clip for the headlight assembly, so the beam is out of alignment (not Mazda's fault on that one)
That's really it. To this day I would buy a 2001 Mazda Protégé ES (last year before they switched to Mazda 3 series) in a HEARTBEAT.
My mom actually has a 2001 LX and it is just as nice as ours (if not a bit nicer, because it only has 30K on it). My experience with the Protégé has made me a Mazda fan for sure.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 4th June, 2008