Mazda Protege5 Reviews & Ratings

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Mazda Protege5 (9 Reviews)
Good: The car handles very well. It's sporty suspension makes it a fun car to drive. I'm a DIY (as much as possible) and there are lots of enthusiasts/info on forums. The engine has been reliable.

Con: The roads are salted here in the winter and the car suffers severe rust problems. EVERY Protege5 here has rust on it especially around the wheel wells and badges.

The manual transmission grinds when changing to 2nd and 3rd gear. I changed all the engine mounts except the rear and that has reduced the grinding but it's not fixed.

There is a leak somewhere and the front driver side carpet is wet regularly. There is also a leak that wets the passenger side rear carpet.

Corrosion buildup on the posts of the battery sometimes stops the car from starting up. I just clean the corrosion and it's fine again for a few months.

Low horsepower.

approx. 240K Km on the odometer
Parts replaced so far:

Engine mounts - front, driver side, passenger side... haven't installed the rear yet.

Timing belt/water pump... the belt tension spring came off but luckily the engine/valves weren't damaged. $800
Battery... regular maintenance $125
Passenger side rear strut $100 and strut mount $55... mount rusted all the way through
Headlight low beam bulbs
My car fells like something is holding it back think my differential is damaged could it be that everything else is working gears are going in ,engine idling good ,at a lost?
Very sporty wagon for family transport!
Love my MP5. But agree with other reviewer... lots of rust starting to form. I live in MA and we get brutal winters. Other than that, great car. Had to put some money for basic things like brakes, battery, rotors and exhaust is on the horizon too, but you have to expect that once you get to 100,000 miles. It's at 135,000 miles and still going strong. I think it can go to 200,000. Not a bad deal for 7,000 bucks.
I've had my Protege5 for almost 8 years now and I still love driving it. Out of all the vehicles I've owned or driven, this car has the best handling. Over 113,000 mi., it still runs like new.
Likes: Handling is phenomenal. Quickest handling car I have ever driven and as a vehicle test engineer I drive LOTS of different cars. Fuel economy is adequate. Interior/eterior styling fit and finish is very good. Love the way it looks. Reliability has been overall very good. This is my 2nd small sport wagon and I love the utility. Mine is fully loaded with sunroof, leather, 6 CD changer, ABS, etc.. etc.. AND a 5 speed manual. This is a very inexpensive car to buy and own. I paid $11.5k for mine with 22k mis on it. Original sticker was over $19k.
Dislikes: DO NOT BUY THIS CAR if you live in an area with real winter and salt on the roads. It will rust everywhere. The corrosion resistance of Mazdas is absolutely the worst in the industry. Car is geared very low so it really winds out the engine at 70 MPH which hurts the economy and makes a lot of engine noise. This car should have had a 6 speed. Power could be more, 108 BHP is just not enough. Ride quality is stiff but that gets the good handling. Overall I would not buy this car again because of the rust issue. Mine is a 2002 and the rear wheel wells are almost rusted through and I have seen this on almost every other MP5 in my area. (SE Michigan). I probably won't buy another Mazda unless I can afford a "winter" car also.
My car is 7 years old now and still drives and handles like a champ!! Very reliable and fun to drive. Acceleration is weak...but who cares. Love it.
Fun to drive. Wish it got better is about 25 mpg.
I love how this car handle..!!