2002 Mazda Protege LX from North America


Far and away the best econobox out there


Nothing major has gone wrong with this car. Its simplicity practically guarantees flawless operation.

Small gripes include: squeaky driver's seat, small rattles emanating from the dash and the rear.

Bumper paint seems thin and cheap and therefore chips easily.

General Comments:

I bought this car for my wife and I cannot understand how someone could spend his/her $15k on another car.

The Protege looks simple and clean - no irrelevant body molds, no weird light fixtures, not trying to emote through its grille (see Neon, Civic). Its materials inside and out are of high quality - no cheap plastic, thick steering wheel, great dash material, durable seating material. Its ride is a tad hard, but at the same time sporty. Its steering is telepathic. The engine has pep, especially at low revs. The seats are very comfortable. It comes with all the proper options (power mirrors, locks, windows, CD player, AC, cruise control). The transmission is simple and provides smooth shifts.

Mileage is of some concern as I average 25 MPG where the competition probably gets at least 30 MPG.

I have had no problems with the car so far. I recommend this car for anyone.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 28th October, 2003

2002 Mazda Protege LX 2.0 from North America


Zoom, Zoom, Zoom: Just Like In The Commercial!


Paint chipped all over.

General Comments:

I had this as a rental this month after my beloved Camry was totaled by a hit-and-run driver.

It is a pretty good car, especially great for my long (~50 miles round trip) commute. It got pretty good gas mileage, for the amount I drove it. However, I understand other cars in this class get even better and I only have the mid-size class to compare it to.

The ride is pretty stiff, but the handling is very responsive. Road noise was pronounced (although that's typical for a compact).

The automatic transmission isn't so hot though, as it seemed I had to do a good deal of revving before I picked up speed. Then, when I did get up to these ludicrous highway speeds it shook and rattled all the way. Despite this, it was an absolute BLAST to drive. And to be fair, such hard acceleration probably would have killed the engine on any of the other cars in the same class.

The Protege is a great looking car, and I wasn't ashamed to be seen climbing out of it. The car was roomy enough for me and all the junk I had in it, and the seats were comfortable enough for a compact. However, the radio reception was pretty poor and gave off some kind of static even when it was turned off.

It took the rough treatment I gave it, so I'll probably be back when I can afford the insurance! The insurance rate on this car, especially for young people, is a BEAST!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 22nd October, 2003

24th Oct 2003, 17:42

Go back to a Toyota... Mazdas don't cut it in the long run and their build quality is nowhere near as good as Toyota or Honda! Those transmissions often simply quit within 70k miles (you felt it already) and repairs are way expensive.. if you can't afford insurance you sure won't be able to afford fixing a Mazda every month. Good luck!

2002 Mazda Protege 5 2.0 from North America


Overall, it's a great car, but ...


I live in Colorado, and during the winter, If the heat is switched to the windshield defog position, it forces the intake of air from the outside.

Therefore, if you are stuck in a highway commute, there's no solution, but smelling fumes from traffic. Really annoying...

The A/C is not powerful enough, and it takes a loooong time to cool the cabin. The flow is insufficient to the back seats.

The low-profile tires lasted only 20k miles, and are very expensive to replace.

I didn't realize how bad the tires were until I got caught in small "incident" during a snow storm. I lost control at a very slow speed and ended up hitting the curb. Front axle broke, 600 bucks to fix.

If you get the sunroof, the wind deflector is definitely required, for about $60.

General Comments:

The stereo and the speakers are not that great, but I never bothered to spend more money on that anyway...

Despite all of these complains, I would recommend it: For about 17.5 k, with a 100k Miles extended warranty, it is a great buy.

Overall, it is a very nice car. It averages about 29 Mi/gal in a commute/city traffic. Very nice looking and it has a GREAT interior finishing.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 18th May, 2003

24th Jun 2003, 11:41

The reason the heater forces the intake of air from the outside when switched to the windshield defog position is because when you use the re-circ option in the winter it will fog up your windows! So it's a smart design, albeit an annoying one when that clunker in front of you is burning oil.

Solution? Switch out of de-fog and hit the re-circ until you pass the stinky car!