Head gasket required replacement at 103k miles, timing belts changed at same time, then had radiator problems. Those three things cost well over $1000 to repair, and the radiator/cooling system still is not 100%
Engine mounts completely rotted out at 120k miles, and there is now a grinding noise in the front end drive train. To repair those two things is going to be another $1000 at least.
Get flat tires about once every two months. Tires wear out fast, and are expensive to replace because of their unusual size.
We got this car based on reviews and I had previously owned a Mazda MX6 that was a great car, but this Protege5 has been a lemon.
Were it not for all the mechanic troubles, it's a fun car to drive that handles really well. I really like to drive it around town because it is agile, small (but still enough room in the back for strollers etc.), and quick enough to get moving. It handles well at high speed, and gets consistent gas mileage in the high twenties low thirties range.
I wish it wasn't such a bugger mechanically, otherwise I think it's a nice little car. We have dumped $2000 in to repairs in 2 years + replacing tires every few months.