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    Thread: Mazda Protege- Tell Me About Them

    1. Member maskedSONY's Avatar
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      07-05-2008 01:21 AM #26
      Quote, originally posted by adrew »
      I think so. I don't see how it could've been any firmer than my LX. Seriously, you could nail the brakes and it would come to a stop with no nosedive and no rebound at all, like a BMW. My Civic Si has considerably more roll and nosedive.
      The ES did come with 15" rims and 195/55/15 tires vs the 185/60/14 tires on the DX and LX. The Protege5 might be stiffer, though. It has low profile tires — 195/50/16 — and a strut tower brace.

      Well, the ES 2.0 models produced after 2001 were modified to handle the extra weight of the larger displacement engine, but aside from that, theres not many changes. The Protege5 models come with a stock front tower brace while the sedan does not. All models with the 2.0L engine come with the super-oddball 195/50/R16 tire size which is really hard to find.
      Quote Originally Posted by Turbiodiesel!
      It really is the perfect, no excuses all-rounder for the rich guy who's accustomed to having it all - the Hybrid version especially. It's like an F-150 Raptor banged an M5 in the men's room of a biker bar. Nobody really wanted the results, but damn - what a set of genes.

    2. Member maskedSONY's Avatar
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      07-05-2008 01:22 AM #27
      Quote, originally posted by Markov79 »
      Well the RX-8, MX-5, Mazda 3 and Mazda 6 are all fine handling-steering cars that feel more expensive than they really are.
      It's a welcomed change in this day and age of numb driving experience.
      Any try out the new G37? Feels like you're steering a Camry...

      I have not been in an RX8, but the 3 and the 6 feel great in terms of steering feel.
      I have not been in a G37, but I can imagine it's got to be better than a Camry, which is like stirring syrup.
      Quote Originally Posted by Turbiodiesel!
      It really is the perfect, no excuses all-rounder for the rich guy who's accustomed to having it all - the Hybrid version especially. It's like an F-150 Raptor banged an M5 in the men's room of a biker bar. Nobody really wanted the results, but damn - what a set of genes.

    3. Member HerrGolf's Avatar
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      07-05-2008 01:48 AM #28
      I should add that my sister's car has been neglected and hasn't been unreliable. The platform felt very rigid. More so than my MkIV Golf's, despite that car's mushy suspension. I don't know if that's reflected in pure numbers, but it felt that way. The brakes were very strong, too. It has started to rust in the rear wheel wells.
      The low gears on the automatic are tall, while overdrive in forth is actually rather short. The stiff ride grows old quickly. It has started to rust in the rear wheel wells. Problems we've encountered in 7.5 years and 140K miles: one seized rear caliper and the new for new strut mounts in the front.

    4. Member NegatiZE's Avatar
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      07-05-2008 01:49 AM #29
      I have ~163,000 miles on my '99 Protege's chassis, and about 70,000 miles on the 2.0L I swapped into it. My car was originally an LX with the 1.6L/automatic transmission. I came upon an irresistible deal on a slightly wrecked 2001 Protege with the 2.0L/manual. It's getting up there, but still continues to satisfy me and puts a smile on my face whenever I have the chance to drive it on curvy roads.
      I'm sure a 99-00 1.6 model would be perfectly adequate with a manual transmission, but stay away from the automatics. Severely underpowered can only begin to describe this combination, along with less than spectacular gas mileage -- I averaged ~28-30mpg highway. The engine spins at 4000 @ 70mph with the 1.6L/auto.
      A breakdown of the 3rd gen Protege is as follows:
      1999/2000: 1.6L 105hp engine in DX and LX, 1.8L 122hp engine in ES
      2001 (facelift): 1.6L 105hp engine in DX and LX, 2.0L 130hp engine in LX2.0 and ES
      2002: 130hp 2.0L standard across the line
      2003: same
      FAQ: http://www.protegefaq.net/
      Protege5's were produced from 2002-2003
      Mazda MP3's were produced in 2001
      Mazdaspeed Protege's were produced for 2003, "2003.5", and "2003.7"
      I prefer the exterior styling of the 1999/2000 models -- the front end matched the body lines of the rest of the car more. Especially in Japanese Sport20 trim.





      Modified by NegatiZE at 1:50 AM 7-5-2008

    5. Member Live-Wire's Avatar
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      07-05-2008 01:52 AM #30
      They are an awesome car to drive briskly. My buddy bought one a few years ago and I love driving it. Reminds me of my Mk2 golf... but with less body roll, less slop in the steering (but same tactility and feedback), similar power, better fuel economy, more space - but about the same road noise They aren't the best highway cruisers... but if you are willing to compromise they are good little cars... cheap to run too.
      Quote, originally posted by Polskie Ogorki »
      I don't understand this mentality. You think every car mazda makes has issues like the one you had? You had a car that was obviously a complete lemon (or you trashed the thing) and you've completely sworn off the brand? Every single manufacturer out there gets these. Some people, like you, are just unlucky enough to come across them.

      I've heard of serious issues too (Protege and to lesser extent 3)... mainly for the rust aspect - and they rust in unusual places too. I've heard of the odd engine failure, but that can happen on any brand of car... same with transmission failure. They aren't known to have these issues in the majority of vehicles... but they do crop up. Major problems would be enough to make people swear off a brand (and tell everyone how bad they are) - hell people did it with VW for window regulators and coils. Got to remember the majority of people who say anything on the net' are here to complain.

    6. Member maskedSONY's Avatar
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      07-05-2008 01:52 AM #31
      I have never seen a Protege with the 1999-style headlamps with the big round headlamps until those pics. You are right. They complement the lines of the car perfectly!
      Quote Originally Posted by Turbiodiesel!
      It really is the perfect, no excuses all-rounder for the rich guy who's accustomed to having it all - the Hybrid version especially. It's like an F-150 Raptor banged an M5 in the men's room of a biker bar. Nobody really wanted the results, but damn - what a set of genes.

    7. Member DownShift's Avatar
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      07-05-2008 02:23 AM #32
      My gf has an '02 5spd ES (bought new) with 80k miles on it and its been the easiest car to maintain, just brakes and oil changes.
      I think its a great city car and terrible highway car. Its just too loud and slow for my tastes on the highway.
      But driving around towns and backgroads its great.
      A few months ago we were close to wanting to trade it in for a newer car (acura TL) and we are so glad that we didn't since its all paid off and it get 30 mpg.
      One problem that hasn't been mentioned that most Proteges suffer from is the EGR valve. Its not a big deal to replace your self though.
      2010 335i

    8. Member Markov79's Avatar
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      07-05-2008 02:27 AM #33
      Quote, originally posted by maskedSONY »
      I have not been in an RX8, but the 3 and the 6 feel great in terms of steering feel.
      I have not been in a G37, but I can imagine it's got to be better than a Camry, which is like stirring syrup.

      Obviously it's better than a Camry, but my point was that new sports cars today feel too isolated from the road.
      Do manufacturers think drivers will be afraid if they feel a little bit of vibration through the steering wheel as the road surface changes?
      Don't worry, we can handle it!

    9. Member maskedSONY's Avatar
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      07-05-2008 02:36 AM #34
      Quote, originally posted by Markov79 »
      Obviously it's better than a Camry, but my point was that new sports cars today feel too isolated from the road.
      Do manufacturers think drivers will be afraid if they feel a little bit of vibration through the steering wheel as the road surface changes?
      Don't worry, we can handle it!

      It's because they are waaay too heavy with the chassis upgrades and safety equipment that have been forced to put on! Had it not been for that, we would have some coupes that had a front engine, RWD layout without the the power steering nonsense.
      Remember what BMW did in the 2nd year of the E46 3-series? They made the steering lighter so housewives could park the damn thing without having their arm muscles ache. Then the steering became overboosted and they had to offer the retrofit which reduced the power steering input.
      People are afraid of the road.
      Quote Originally Posted by Turbiodiesel!
      It really is the perfect, no excuses all-rounder for the rich guy who's accustomed to having it all - the Hybrid version especially. It's like an F-150 Raptor banged an M5 in the men's room of a biker bar. Nobody really wanted the results, but damn - what a set of genes.

    10. 07-05-2008 10:29 AM #35
      Quote, originally posted by Polskie Ogorki »
      I don't understand this mentality. You think every car mazda makes has issues like the one you had? You had a car that was obviously a complete lemon (or you trashed the thing) and you've completely sworn off the brand? Every single manufacturer out there gets these. Some people, like you, are just unlucky enough to come across them.

      The car was well maintained, I drive my cars on the spirited side but not like a punk. I did drive some old high milleage piece of crap before my first new car (the Protege) and never broke something major like my Protege did. They are probably good car if you drive like a girl but dont push them too hard they seem to dislike spirited driving.
      And RUST is a serious issue on those car trust me, after 3.5 years, the rust was comming from the inside like a cancer.

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      07-05-2008 10:49 AM #36
      i drove a protege ES with an auto and the power was more than adequate. this was at my buddies used car dealer about two years ago and i remember thinking to myself that this was the best used small car i had ever driven. it was fun but the road noise was pretty bad; yet i felt it was worth it.

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      07-05-2008 02:26 PM #37
      I got to drive the Protege today. It is a 5 speed manual, with alloy wheels, ABS, and power everything (sunroof, windows, mirrors, etc...). I am not sure of the engine size (forgot to pop the hood), but it was pretty quick. What a sweet driving little car this Mazda is! At nearly 9 years old, this little gem handles crisply, and responds immediately to the flick of the shifter. It seems mechanically sound, as I flogged the shix out of it at a variety of speeds and road types. I even talked the salesman down in price, from 4500.00 to 3800.00. I still need to run carfax on it, but I am feeling like I am close to making a deal!

    13. Senior Member VWVan's Avatar
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      10-02-2012 12:42 PM #38
      Quote Originally Posted by maskedSONY View Post

      I have a 2001 Protege ES 5-speed so I think I can help you out.
      Like others have said, the steering and suspension in the car is goddamn fantastic - I like to say that when you are on the highway, the car feels like a Japanese BMW. It is stiff, so try to avoid the rough stuff. The 2.0L engine gives pretty decent gas mileage, about 26-27 in the city and 30-31 on the highway are the numbers I get pretty consistently. Around town it's a bit weak if you ask me, but on the highway the 5th gear is aggressively geared and allows you to pass and pull away from traffic with a decent amount of strength.
      The interior is really nice. The seats are a bit flat but are great for long trips - my legs hardly get fatigued. The dash has some minor rattles, but nothing that is too bothersome. edit - The stock radio has a great layout for its controls with two large knobs and nicely organized buttons. Visibility is great because the car is a 90s design, when massive beltlines weren't in style. And the illumination is more red than orange and looks great at night.
      The brakes are pretty good, and the ABS on the car is very effective and sensitive. There have been several times when the car actives just one wheel when coming to a stop on a wet or snow covered surface. Keep an eye on the rear brakes, which are known to have the calipers seize.
      Ok, now for trouble spots. With the cars that have a 2.0L engine, the engine mounts are known to develop tears near the 50K mileage mark. If the clutch shudders when you drive the car, or the engine feels like it jumping out of the car when you launch it, replace the engine mounts ASAP. SLS sells the front and passenger side mount, and AWR sells a transmission mount which I am installing a week from now. (I'll post how effective it is eventually.) You need to do this because if the mount tears you can damage critical parts of the engine from the vibration. This is the one flaw of the 2.0L engine: it has a ton of vibration (compared to the 2.0L in the new 3) and so Mazda put soft mounts in from the factory to make the car feel smooth.
      The suspension endlinks are known to go out depending on the mileage, which will improperly load the suspension and cause the car to not track or handle properly. Make sure you have these checked when you look/test drive the car.
      The A/C in my car blows strong in hot weather, and can cool the car down within 10-15 minutes - however if you are sitting at idle, the A/C can be weak. This is something I've seen with all Mazdas - if the revs are higher than 2000, then the A/C gets considerably stronger. My car behaves the same way.
      Rust is also something to consider - While the paint on the Protege is, IMO, more durable than the paint jobs on the Mazda3, it still forms rust bubbles at the rear wheel wells on some cars. There's a dealer TSB to fix this, which is caused by the rear bumper screws being loosened ever so slightly.
      Ok lastly, - if you are in a major city, just do yourself a favor and don't buy a Protege unless you change the mounts. Don't want to change the mounts? Then get a Civic EX sedan. The Protege is really a car that was born for the mountains, highways and empty country roads. City roads will destroy the car, and the engine mounts will eventually wear and cause you to go nuts with the transmission shudders that result.
      I hate my car whenever I drive in the tri-state area, but I love it once I get to an empty curvy highway because the car is sooo rewarding to drive with its suspension and steering feel. It's a great car to own, and I love how it looks, but there are some things which can be annoying with its ownership which you should know about it.
      Good luck!

      Modified by maskedSONY at 10:41 PM 7-4-2008


      Modified by maskedSONY at 10:46 PM 7-4-2008

      I have been looking at late model ES and LX Protege's, kind of dissapointed about the vibration and motor mounts. I do quite a bit of heavy traffic driving, so this would definately kill it for me


      So I guess I'll look at Pro5's and early Mazda 3's. Or even Civics, but I prefer Mazda's.

    14. Member Fe2O3's Avatar
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      10-02-2012 12:57 PM #39
      Quote Originally Posted by VWVan View Post
      I have been looking at late model ES and LX Protege's, kind of dissapointed about the vibration and motor mounts. I do quite a bit of heavy traffic driving, so this would definately kill it for me


      So I guess I'll look at Pro5's and early Mazda 3's. Or even Civics, but I prefer Mazda's.
      Nice thread from the dead.
      I have an 02 purchased brand new. Commute in it every day and it's perfect for it. In 10 years, I've had to replace the intake hose, $35, and the motor mounts. Of the 4 mounts, the rear one is a little bit of trouble to do, but not that big of a deal. Other 3 take maybe 30 minutes combined.
      As far as rust, mine has none. The fender well issues... there are plastic liners that trap leaf debris. Open those up every year or two and clean that stuff out. Takes a few minutes at each fender.
      If I were in that market, I'd definitely look for another
      Quote Originally Posted by phryxis View Post
      sprayed it on, waited some time, and proceeded to go at it with a scraper, some pliers, and a lot of f-ing hard work.

    15. Senior Member VWVan's Avatar
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      10-02-2012 02:24 PM #40
      Are the motor mounts easy to see if they are torn when I'm checking out a car? Is yours a manny tranny?

    16. Member maskedSONY's Avatar
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      10-02-2012 02:33 PM #41
      Quote Originally Posted by VWVan View Post
      Are the motor mounts easy to see if they are torn when I'm checking out a car? Is yours a manny tranny?
      OH HELL YES. Get under the car and look for the main mount, which is basically under where the Mazda logo is on the car. Get a flashlight and if any light shines through the rubber in the mount, time for a new one! Also I suggest you check the passenger side mount. The transmission mount and rear mount usually hold up well.
      Quote Originally Posted by Turbiodiesel!
      It really is the perfect, no excuses all-rounder for the rich guy who's accustomed to having it all - the Hybrid version especially. It's like an F-150 Raptor banged an M5 in the men's room of a biker bar. Nobody really wanted the results, but damn - what a set of genes.

    17. Member Crimping Is Easy's Avatar
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      10-02-2012 02:35 PM #42
      Great cars, and a lot more fun to drive than they look.
      Quote Originally Posted by JalopnikMatt View Post
      Everyone who writes for Jalopnik is an excellent writer and journalist.
      #teamberetta

    18. Member maskedSONY's Avatar
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      10-02-2012 02:37 PM #43
      Quote Originally Posted by VWVan View Post
      I have been looking at late model ES and LX Protege's, kind of dissapointed about the vibration and motor mounts. I do quite a bit of heavy traffic driving, so this would definately kill it for me

      So I guess I'll look at Pro5's and early Mazda 3's. Or even Civics, but I prefer Mazda's.
      The Protege5 is the same motor and the same exact issue. Look for a 2001-2005 Civic - those are very durable used cars.

      Also if you want to get replacement mounts, get the AWR 70 durometer set, not the SLS mounts that I wrote about in my old post.

      http://protegegarage.com/1427-product-1427.html

      Quote Originally Posted by Turbiodiesel!
      It really is the perfect, no excuses all-rounder for the rich guy who's accustomed to having it all - the Hybrid version especially. It's like an F-150 Raptor banged an M5 in the men's room of a biker bar. Nobody really wanted the results, but damn - what a set of genes.

    19. Senior Member VWVan's Avatar
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      10-02-2012 02:50 PM #44
      Thanks for the info

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      10-02-2012 05:48 PM #45


      This is to what extent mine was damaged/finished. I felt it when driving, but couldn’t see it when looking directly at it. I finally replaced it after 150k Kilometers, but I’ll have to replace the rear motor mount which is much harder. 3 of the 4 mounts are accessible.

      Now, talking about the car, I have an 01 with a 2 litre and a manual. Some may say its down on power, or it sucks in the MPG department, but I love mine because of the handling and overall feel of the controls. I guess that part is subjective though.

      In traffic, I wouldn’t recommend you any manual, but especially not this one. The clutch is easy to gage, but there seems to be some loose that is really annoying in stop-and-go traffic. The flywheel feels really light so any little bit of gas pedal movement is felt. Mine, like others I’ve been in, has a quite loud cabin, and many things vibrate.

      Nevertheless, I love the car, but probably because I’m never in traffic. If I remember well, the Mazda 3 with 2litre was much smoother than the protégé.

      Hope this helped

    21. Senior Member VWVan's Avatar
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      10-02-2012 08:59 PM #46
      My wife has a 2.0 Mazda 3, 5 speed which isn't that bad in traffic. I should just get one of those since I know what they are like.

    22. Member maskedSONY's Avatar
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      10-03-2012 10:39 AM #47
      Quote Originally Posted by 2.0_Mazda View Post
      Now, talking about the car, I have an 01 with a 2 litre and a manual. Some may say its down on power, or it sucks in the MPG department, but I love mine because of the handling and overall feel of the controls. I guess that part is subjective though.

      In traffic, I wouldn’t recommend you any manual, but especially not this one. The clutch is easy to gage, but there seems to be some loose that is really annoying in stop-and-go traffic. The flywheel feels really light so any little bit of gas pedal movement is felt. Mine, like others I’ve been in, has a quite loud cabin, and many things vibrate.
      Launching the car smoothly from a dead stop in any situation is basically impossible. The clutch has great feel but the engine's mounts are so soft that the engine basically hops all over the place as it begins to put power down. This is the main reason why I chose to get rid of my Protege.

      And my Accord NEVER does, mostly because it's a very different design - the Accord is heavier, wider and has a separate sub-frame which the engines mounts on. When I got the car it took me a long time just to get used to its noise level and refinement, because I was used to the raw feel of the Mazda.
      Quote Originally Posted by Turbiodiesel!
      It really is the perfect, no excuses all-rounder for the rich guy who's accustomed to having it all - the Hybrid version especially. It's like an F-150 Raptor banged an M5 in the men's room of a biker bar. Nobody really wanted the results, but damn - what a set of genes.

    23. Member Fe2O3's Avatar
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      10-03-2012 11:33 AM #48
      My 02 shifts smooth as butter. No need to drop $300 in mounts.
      Corksport and a few companies make urethane inserts that pop in to your existing mounts. Total around $140 last I checked.
      Quote Originally Posted by phryxis View Post
      sprayed it on, waited some time, and proceeded to go at it with a scraper, some pliers, and a lot of f-ing hard work.

    24. Banned WhistlerYOW's Avatar
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      10-03-2012 11:34 AM #49
      Where I live in Ontario protege and even 3s are compete rustbuckets. Worse than any other car. A shame because that is what has kept me from considering them 3 or 4 times.

    25. Senior Member VWVan's Avatar
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      10-03-2012 12:11 PM #50
      Cars here typically do not rust out due to the mild climate. Hell it has only rained 2-3 times since the beginning of August.

      I would consider an Accord except finding one with a manual tranny isn't easy.

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