2000 Mazda Protege LX 1.6L 16v from North America


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.

General Comments:

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)

Minor issues:

- 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

23rd Aug 2009, 21:33

How can it be based on the miata platform? It's a FWD car. Miata is RWD.

2000 Mazda Protege LX (ES model in the States) 1.8 from North America


Best car for the money we have owned!


Very little.

Not much at all until after 200,000 kms.

Replaced manifold gasket.

Replaced Struts.

Replaced timing belt (regular service)

General Comments:

These are great little cars - we sold our 89 Mazda 323 with 430,000 km (266,000 miles) and the kid that bought it drove it for another year or two. If this one goes anywhere near this, it will be great. They have been known to go 600-700 thousand kms (brother-in-law is a Mazda mechanic on the other side of the country.)

We have been extremely happy with the vehicle (We are glad we bought this model as it needs the 1.8 engine attached to a 5 speed).

While it is slower off the line - it is very comfortable at higher speeds and passing vehicles, and at 38 miles to the gallon on the highway, we have been more than happy.

With the sunroof, spoiler and low profile tires on the 15" rims it looks good too. Even our 16 year old daughter loves the car and wants it when we are done with it (and no, not just because she will get it cheap).

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 14th May, 2008

2000 Mazda Protege ES 1.8 from North America


Excellent value


Oxygen sensor in cat. converter bad at 90,000. Never replaced - I just drive with the check engine light on.

Car has had 3 CD players from the manufacturer. Current one is also broken.

Chronic alignment problems.

Tires from the manufacturer were cheap, hard, and needed to be replaced at 20,000.

New alternator at 160,000.

Problems with heat/air-conditioner fan at 150,000. Air-conditioner has always been weak.

Replaced numerous other components including drive axle, suspension parts, removed heat shields.

Brakes were hard to get used to at first - them seemed soft.

Numerous dash lights are burned out.

General Comments:

This car has only stranded me once at 160,000 miles when the alternator went bad. It has been stored outside in Minnesota since I bought it with 7 miles in 2000. Overall, very high quality car. I have bumped a few other cars at low speeds, and it has been rear ended. For $14,000 brand new in 2000 - great value.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 12th May, 2008