2003 Mazda Protege

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2003 Mazda Protege

Available in 3 styles:  2003 Mazda Protege 4dr Sedan shown
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Kelley Blue Book Retail
$4,050–$4,750

Est. MPG

25 city / 31 hwy


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Average Ratings

Overall

4.4 out of 5

Comfort
Performance
Exterior Styling
Interior Design
Value for the Money
Reliability

18 out of 20 people recommended this car.


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Consumer Reviews

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    1-10 of 20 reviews

Very Reliable

by Mitch from Columbus, Ohio | December 8, 2013

I bought my Protege with 13,000 miles back in 2004. I now have 145,000 and have had with no major issues. The only reason I'm looking now is rust has developed on the driver side rear quarter due to the salt up hear in Ohio. Had I washed it more than two or three times since purchasing it that might not even be a problem. I've been test driving a lot of new cars lately and I still prefer the handling of my Mazda.

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Comfort
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Purchased a new car
Uses car for Commuting
Does recommend this car


Mazda Protege 2003 LX

by Geo from Storrs, CT | February 20, 2013

I had my Mazda Protege LX (2003) for nearly 6 years and it was my first car. I bought it when it had 37k miles on it and sold it at 83k. This is an excellent car for daily use although I used it for regular long drives on the highway. Mazda's hybrid design is unique. It has the looks of a passenger car but handles like a sports car. 2003 Protege is very responsive. Over the time period I had it, I changed the tires, replaced the serpentine belt, cleaned the rotors, and replaced breaks one time. These are just standard maintenance. The key is to service your car routinely (every 3000-5000 miles) at a reputable place where they do a consistent point check. For example, you will know when to change breaks (don't rely entirely on service people because they usually tend to exaggerate services required. Just decide based on your gut after carefully reviewing their recommendations). 2.0 engine is great for highway driving. I once drove a 2011 Honda Civic on the highway and it was screaming to get up to a modest 57 mph. The Protege, however, can reach 65 mph fairly easily. The car is very reliable, 2003 Protege is probably the best Protege that Mazda ever made and the last of its kind.

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Purchased a new car
Uses car for Commuting
Does recommend this car


great little car

by mazda owner from northwest | August 14, 2011

i'm quite possibly going to be trading this car in within the next few months, so i just wanted to say a few words after driving it around for 32,000 miles. overall, the car is great. it's my second mazda and i just might get another one in the future. this car was more affordable to something like a civic due to it's name. honda is a good car, but you pay for the name. with this car i felt like i paid pretty much for the car, and didn't have to pay a premium for the name. however, the value of the car dropped because of that. so consider this whenever you buy a car: will you buy it and drive it till the engine chokes, or do you plan on trading it in? i paid $7000 for mine when it had about 61,600 miles on it. and now it's worth about half that after 32,0000 miles of driving. kinda shock, but the car will last an additional 100,000 easy. comfort: front seats are nice and supportive for 6+ hour drives. rear i think could use a little more thigh support, but other than that are good too. leg room can suffer if you are on the taller end of average height. performance: i think i averaged between 32-35 (maybe even 40 at times) on hwy and about 26/28 town mph. the lower number is with studs on. the car picks up speed quickly within the 0-50 mph, after that slows down and even in 5th gear, the car sounds like it could use another gear. road noise is pronouced, but that depends on the road and how good your tires are. a bumpy road and worn tires = plenty noise. car has pretty stiff suppension, and it takes a bit for it to lean in a corner (a corner that some sign recommends you to take it at 45, i go at 65 and can feel the car lean). stearing wheel is responsive and you just have to barely touch it to turn the car. one issue i had just recently is with the cruise control cable. the housing got dry so the cable was stuck and would leave the engine reving high till i went and freed it back. just a minor issue, more of an annoyance than critical. get it checked out though if you can cause i had the car pick up speed indefinately till i manually shifted it down, stopped, and got it fixed. exterior styling: the car looks fine, i don't think it needs a make over, but that's an opinion. it's a commuter car, so that says it. interior styling: good, some plastics have bigger gaps that collect dust. i think of the doors when i'm saying this. value for the money: i think i paid a fair price for the car. i just need a bigger car with a little more room in the back, thus my reason for trading it in eventually. reliablility: i've only had to change the oil and other schedualed maintanence.

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Purchased a new car
Uses car for Just getting around
Does recommend this car


Great first time car

by scotty from D/fw,texas | June 30, 2011

Purchased the car new in 03.differing for door locks going crazy when first purchased;I've had no issues.Car gets up to speed fast (except when the a/c is on).Great mileage,comfy ride, good price($12,000 with every manufacturer upgrade)plan on keeping the car until it's dying days.

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Purchased a new car
Uses car for Commuting
Does recommend this car


Great car!!!!!!!!!

by Eric821 from Omha, Ne | March 9, 2011

I bought the car in when it was new in 2003. I put 106,000 miles in 8 years on it with only minor maintenance, didn't have to use any of the warrenties. The only problem I had with it until I hit a deer and totaled it was the digital display on the stereo would go on and off. I really miss this car and if I had a chance to buy this car again I would do it in a heartbeat.

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Purchased a new car
Uses car for Commuting
Does recommend this car


BreakDown

by MazdaBaby from Moore, Oklahoma | December 13, 2010

Love the feel of this car, but sometimes it doesnt start, sometimes it does. Very unpredictable. But it was my first car, very special to me, and I'll probably always drive a Mazda. :)

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Purchased a new car
Uses car for Just getting around
Does not recommend this car


Great Reliable Car

by Protege Owner of 7 years from Phoenix | July 17, 2010

We've owned this vehicle for 7 years for commuting purposes ... it has yet to give us any issues. Gas milage is outstanding and even though it's a small engine, it has enough pep to get you around.

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Purchased a new car
Uses car for Commuting
Does recommend this car


i love my car

by danielle from Westford, Vermont | April 14, 2010

the best ever no problems bought it new in 2003 and had a thermostat break 3years ago none since 120000 miles and loving every minute of it it handles like a porche as says my father in law who owns 3 and loves to drive my car

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Purchased a new car
Uses car for Commuting
Does recommend this car


Stu's Review

by Holmes from Allentown, PA | August 26, 2009

My 80+ year old father bought it for my mom and to have as a second car. A nice little ride with excellent gas mileage!

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Purchased a new car
Uses car for Just getting around
Does recommend this car


Worth every penny - handles like a dream

by Mazda Protege Fan from NY & NC | August 8, 2009

I purchased my car new, in 1997, it is now 2009 and the car is still on the road. With regular maintence, and oil changes this car still runs well. What I love about the Protege most is its handling. It takes the corners like a dream and a close second to its handling is the reliability; this car never fails to start and always gets me to my destination. I paid $13,500 and it was worth every penny. The car came loaded with power everything, replete with tape deck and CD player. I would definitely buy a Mazda again.

Did you find this review helpful? Yes No

Comfort
Performance
Handling
Exterior Styling
Interior Design
Features
Value for the Money
Reliability

Purchased a new car
Uses car for Just getting around
Does recommend this car



    1-10 of 20 reviews

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