Great little car.
I bought a new LX (manual transmission) in 2002. Have had the car for the last 7 years and have put over 120,000 miles on it. Only non-routine work has been the timing belt, which I had replaced at 70,000. Some of the interior features weren't put together well and knobs fell of the radio. All minor interior issues, but for the price, I feel this is a great car.
Best bang for the buck
You get the Japaneese reliability without the high cost. Over 90,000 miles on this car and running strong. No it's not the largest, most comfortable car, but that's not what you are buying it for. This is a small, efficient car that has some great zip. It has 5 seats, but the back seat is not suitable for more than one adult. My second Protege and third Mazda. At 26 years old, I plan to buy many more Mazda vehicles
Very reliable and excellent value
Purchase pre-owned from dealer and have driven it for 75,000 kms. Other than a a faulty O2 sensor replaced under warranty, it has proven to be a very reliable commuter providing very good gas mileage. Somewhat harsh over bumpy roads, it is otherwise comfortable and handles well and brakes confidently. Acceleration is adequate for most needs but is no racer. Highly recommended if you want fuel economy, reliability and value for money.
Great Car for the Money
Handles well great gas mileage looks nice and dependable for your wife are children to be in when you're not there!
After owning my 3rd Proto in 8 yrs I felt compelled to let people know about this supreme car value. Especially in the ES trim, the 01-03 Protoges can not be beat for the money.
Good zip, but nothing special
I picked the Mazda Protege instead of the Civic and Corolla because I found the accelaration much better in the Protege. It has been a workhorse for me, easily handling the 82,000 miles I put on it in the 3+ years I've owned it. It's been a great highway ride, but its transmission is a little sticky when the engine is cold.