What a riot!
By Jay on Friday, March 1, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 101,000
overall rating 9 of 10rating details
- Overall Rating
Pros: "Power, economy, longevity"
Cons: "None =)"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I traded my 1995 626 in on this car and I couldn't be happier. The Mazdaspeed variant provides good value, with performance rivaling much more expensive cars. Best deal on the market right now. I'm hoping she goes to 322,000 miles like the 626 did. Really the only drawback is the amount you'll spend on premium gas, but that's only because I can't get myself to leave the driver's seat! No problems with the engine, like many have reported...but that's because I haven't heavily modified the car at all...just an intake and exhaust. More than enough power for this guy. Mazda builds a great car. Steering wheel leather is worn, and the front lip is made of the world's cheapest plastic, but hey, it's a driver's car. I haven't seen a steering wheel ten years old without wear. I do a LOT of driving, so if there's a problem with a car, I end up finding it. Worst thing I have found is the 17" tires wear quickly, so I put on a set of 16" wheels from a lesser Protégé. I went through a set of 17" tires in 17,000 miles, my 16" tires show almost no wear at the same mileage. Didn't lose any handling prowess either.
Stock struts for the Speed are a little pricey, I replaced mine with Tokico Blues, I figured, for what I would have to spend on stock struts, I could get something a tad better. Also replaced all strut mounts and the front control arms at the same time, the stock bushings and ball joints were on their way. Again, driver's car. I can live with replacing that stuff every 90k. Timing belt was also due at the same time, I installed an upgraded belt from Gates Racing. Midpipe on exhaust rotted, I replaced with an aftermarket exhaust from Corksport. Keep in mind, I'm one of the few who drive 40k miles a year, so while this all seems like a lot of repair in a year, it's really not, the average person would have spaced this over 2 or 3 years. Total outlay was just shy of $1200 for parts, I handled the labor. If a garage were to do it, you'd probably spend double. Not bad for a 10-year old car that until me, was only driven on weekends and nice days.
The MSP is the most fun I have had on 4 wheels. My friends and family agree...I have to beat them off with a stick, they all want to drive it! I have no doubts this car will go to at least 200k, which is about when I will have it paid off. Bought it last year with 60k, I have 100k now. Skip the other Protégés and go straight for a Speed if you can find one...they only made 5500, and there's a lot less than that on the road now. It's fast enough to make a Mustang blush, but not so fast that I wouldn't let my younger cousins drive it. Take that for what you will.
Mazda was on point when they said "It just feels right." My three Mazdas have all been stone reliable, awesome handlers, and very peppy. I came from the VW world, and I'm glad I converted."
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