2003 Mazda Protege 5 2.0 from North America


A great car at a great price!


Absolutely nothing!

General Comments:

Like all first time car buyers, I was very picky about what kind of car I bought. However, my 2003 Mazda Protege5 has proved its worth.

I do a lot of driving on a daily basis, and this car has gone along flawlessly.

It currently gets 28.6 miles per gallon, has excellent pick up (especially going uphill at low rpm), and has a stylish and sporty look.

Also, it has excellent cargo space, and for the low price I paid, it came with some awesome standard features.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 4th May, 2004

2003 Mazda Protege 5 2.0 from North America


Extremely fun bargain


There have been no problems after six months.

General Comments:

Great for weekend rides, running errands in the city, and daily commute.

The clutch is smooth and effortless to use, and the 2.0L engine is very responsive.

This car performs well in all weather including snow and icy conditions.

The power sunroof, 6 CD changer, leather seats, and fog lights are a great bonus.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 5th April, 2004

2003 Mazda Protege 2.0 from North America


Very good handling, less than great fuel economy



General Comments:

The thing that sticks out most is the handling. For a "cheap" little import, it handles very well. I was extremely surprised by the braking.

It is very roomy inside, comfortable, but a little stiff. The instrumentation is a little difficult to read at certain times of the day, due to the color scheme they chose.

My biggest complaint is the gas mileage. I was expecting a little more. My 15 mile per day, one way, commute is mostly highway. I have been getting 25-26 MPG. My wifes '97 Grand Am GT gets better than that, with a 2.4l, and 150hp.

The engine could use some more torque, especially at the low end. There is almost no power below 3,000 RPMs. It also seems to hesitate and surge a little if lugged. Above 3k, it runs smoothly, even up to the Red Line. Keep it wound up!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 22nd January, 2004

2003 Mazda Protege ES 2.0 DOHC I4 from North America


Zoom-zoom, true-true!!


This car came with a great options package including 6-CD changer - the only thing I can complain about is the stock speakers, it sounds like they are made from paper cups.

General Comments:

I have owned two Honda's and two VW's before this Mazda, this car really reminds me how reliable and inexpensive Japanese cars are to own.

My wife and I traded our 99 Jetta in because the parts are just too expensive - $380 for a mass flow air sensor? And at 110K that was just the beginning...

It seems like VW spent 100% of their engineering resources on driving performance, not long term reliability... fun to drive though (if you can afford it).

On to the Protege ES...

Great handling.

Well over 30 MPG.

The 4 wheel disk brakes feel great.

The power (and there is plenty as light as this car is) is at higher RPM, but normal for Japanese builds.

Well, all I need to do now is find some aftermarket speakers!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 17th November, 2003

25th Jun 2004, 11:04

Please tell me how you got over 30 mpg with this car. I can't get past 22 mpg. I don't drive fast; city and highway driving are evenly split.

Am I missing something?

19th Apr 2006, 10:34

I own a Protege ES 2003, with P195 50R16 tires and the MazdaSpeed spoiler. (Bought in Canada).

The bad


1. I too average 22MPG. I find the gas consumption of this car to be surprisingly high considering the engine and especially, the (light) weight.

2. The Dunlop5000 tires that came with the car are solid performance tires, but they are known to wear out much faster than any other tire of this category. On top of that, they are (in my area at least) among the most expensive tires of the category at about US$170 a piece.

3. While I find the brake performance to be adequate, the brakes wear out fast on a Protege. This has been confirmed to me by Mazda Canada. It is a fact that the brake durability (not quality) does not compare with other manufacturers. The brakes seem to have been much improved on the Mazda3.

The good


1. Quality of interior design and durability of the seat material.

2. Sound system for a car of this category and price.

3. Handling.

4. Suspension is firm and provides better control and reaction than competitors (e.g. Corolla).

5. Decent Tiptronic gearbox for this type of car although sometimes slow to react.

6. Short first 2 gears with AT.


24th Sep 2007, 19:08

I love my 2003 Mazda - I also get over 30 MPG on a daily basis. I drive 45 miles one way to work. Most of the driving I do is of this nature, but I do agree that the braking system needs to be better. I have spent a lot of money on brakes.

I bought mine new. It's Laser Blue! Love it!!!