2003 Mazda Protege 5 from North America


A rip-off


Day of purchase: cd player defective and replaced week later by dealer.

20,000 miles: a/c unit floods interior of car, passenger footwell; entire a/c unit replaced.

55,000 miles: alternator dies and is replaced.

58,000 miles: right and left wheel bearings cracked and replaced.

Every 2,000-5,000 miles: headlights go out.

10,000 miles: battery dies, is replaced.

Steering wheel "timing wire (?) " makes constant noise while driving.

Multiple windshield chips.

Multiple areas where paint has chipped off to reveal fiberglass below.

General Comments:

Unfortunately, the Mazda Protege 5, at least the one I purchased from a local Mazda dealer, is a frustratingly expensive vehicle, many problems and repairs.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 25th October, 2007

14th Nov 2007, 07:23

I looks like you kept this lemon for 4 years. That is very high endurance rate.

13th Dec 2009, 20:54

Just adding to previous posts. My 2003 Mazda Protege 5 up and DIED on me today. Tow truck driver said it's the alternator. Stopped for a red light... DIED... hazards, radio, lights, door locks, NOTHING WORKED. Stuck on a busy and dangerous expressway. Pouring down rain... had to lift the hatch and stand out to divert traffic from hitting my car. No AAA prompt service. Slow alternate service... BAD AREA for breakdowns near the Newark airport in New Jersey!! Car is only at approximately 85 thousand miles.

No more Mazdas for me!!

2nd Aug 2010, 21:37

I have an 03 LX sedan, no problems at all. There was a recall for my model, but Mazda was more than happy to take care of it at no cost to me. 43000 and loving every minute. Oddly, I have zero fiberglass on my Protege, not sure why you do?

30th Apr 2011, 18:02

Sell, sell it. Please, my god, sell that piece of crap. Do a big service to yourself and your wallet. It's my duty to tell and express to everybody not to buy a Mazda. It will be kind of a new religion, a call of duty. Do not, I mean do not buy a Mazda of any kind!

Thanks! David.

25th Jul 2012, 01:16

I'm sorry about your luck. I have an 02 Protege that's at 320000 k, and no major issues. Of course I'll buy another Mazda!

2003 Mazda Protege 5 from North America


Loved this car!


Road noise is our only compliant.

General Comments:

Bought our 2003 Protege 5 new and are now selling it, after 4 years. Other than road noise, which honestly we got use to and didn't notice after a while, we have totally enjoyed the car.

This was our first car from the Mazda family, and I now would call us Mazda loyal. People really amaze me by generalizing a make of car, based on their unlucky experience or their own downfall in improper maintenance. We serviced our car with all genuine Mazda parts, on time and on schedule and the car drives and runs as good as when we got it.

The car is a 2L, what do you all except? A BMW? It handles great, and unfortunately having soft performance tires that allow you to stick to the road will wear faster than your mini-van tires. Just silly to me, read reviews on any make and model and there will be bad experiences, but don't let the few shadow the many great reviews.

The fact that the car's two year model style sold as well as it did, and that the 3 is now selling like crazy should speak volumes. Most Mazda owners are happy. Enough said.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 14th October, 2007

2003 Mazda Protege ES GT 2.0 from North America


Love it, but hate the rust problem


Started malfunctioned at 30,000 km

Radio button fell off going over railway tracks

Rust on doors, quarter panels and rocker panels.

General Comments:

So far I really like this car except for the constant rust problem. Rust will develop in the middle of a panel, there is no chip. I have had all four doors repainted, both rear quarter panels repainted and now I have rust on two doors and both rocker panels. Mazda is covering this under the warranty with out too much issue.

However, no explanation as to why it is happening. I have checked used car lots and found this problem on most 2002 and 2003 protege 5's. I suggest all owners check their Mazda for this problem.

I keep my car in a garage and don't drive it in winter, so road salt is not the cause.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 26th September, 2007

27th Sep 2007, 06:53

Definitely agree on the rust problem, protege5 and protege's all have this. Mazda thinned out their paint process dramatically. buyer beware.

13th Oct 2007, 10:48

I am continuing my search for the reason for the rust problem. Looks like my dealer no longer want to deal with the issue. No call backs as to weather they will fix the current problem with rust. Call Mazda head office and dealing with the issue that way. Mazda Canada claim I am the only person haveing this issue. Not only do they have an inferrior product, but they with hold the truth when dealing with customers who purchase their product.

Head office says they will send out the regional service manager to inspect my vehicle.

I am planning to sell this car and buy a Toyota Matrix or may upgrade to an Audi A3. You get what you pay for!

Please add a comment to let everyone know if you are experiencing the same rust issues. I know I am not the only one.