2000 Mazda Protege DX 1.6 from North America
High quality, ergonomics, handling, comfort, and reliability in an inexpensive, handsome package
The glove compartment latch has failed, so the box cannot be opened. I have not been to the dealer to have this remedied as yet. The box has no lock, it's just a pull-handle-to-open arrangement.
Overall, for nearly 24,000 miles, the car continues to operate flawlessly. 15,000 mile service and the suggested fuel injector cleaning service (add $80.00 to the 15,000 service cost) plus my oil changes are all the expense that has been necessary.
The engine would be found marginal by many people, I'm sure, but I'm accustomed to it. Performance is adequate, but occasionally zippy if I rev high in each gear and am on fairly level ground. Car suffers if in hilly country, but is fine elsewhere.
Manual transmission is neat and precise, a complete pleasure to use. I much prefer its feel to that of my friend's Audi TT.
Clutch will emit a sweet, vegetable-tinged odor if I have to do slow, back-up maneuvering to park. This happens fairly readily, not after minutes of maneuvering. Clutch doesn't seem to like being slipped. Since I always shift to neutral when at stoplights and stop signs, never "ride" the clutch to hold the car in place, I never have occasion to smell this at other times. There is no sense of bad performance beyond the odor-it works fine.
I continue to delight on a daily basis in the quality, thoughtful ergonomics, and comfort of the car.
Its hauling capacity is amazing. Through the split, 60/40 rear seat I've carried some 8' 2"x4"'s. I can easily fit my road bicycle (wheels quick-released, of course) in the trunk, add the wheels, some soft luggage and so forth, and close the trunk. Large rectangular guitar case will fit in under the bike, if I wish!
Oh, the CD player has functioned fine for 20+ months now, with daily use... that's a lot of hours. I am well pleased with the stock sound system, haven't given a thought to any change.
There may have been a slight fall-off in cornering and lane-change firmness with its age-shocks may not be keeping the car as sharp as it was when brand new. Still handles well, entirely predictable and controllable under all conditions.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 19th April, 2002