"I've owned my Protege for almost 9 yrs. now has over 113,000 on it and it truly runs as well as the day I bought it. I live in the Northeast and have driven it through snow storms, rain, etc. and the car handles steadily. Other than a problem with the engine light (my smart mechanic read the Mazda manual and was able to fix a defective valve), I've had no major problems with this car. My neighbor had the exact same car and has over 170,000 miles, and has never changed the timing belt! (not recommended). Barring an accident, I plan to keep my Protege for about another three or four years."
Pros: "This has been the best car I've ever owned!"
Cons: "No rear seat cup holders, hard to work on yourself"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"I bought this car used back in 2002 or 2003. It had 36000 miles (now has 195950) when I bought it. This has been the most reliable vehicle I've ever owned. Other than some normal minor repairs (brakes, shocks, oil changes) it has held up very well! Even my mechanic was shocked when the original clutch FINALLY went out only 5 years ago. I didn't know they still made reliable cars like this one has been for me! A+ to Mazda on this car!
The only down side to this car is that it's hard to do things like change your own oil because the motor is so compact...but it seems like everybody is making their cars like that now so that you have to take it to somebody (they hope you bring it to them) for regular work. And there are no rear seat cup holders...kinda a pain if you have kids who sit in the backseat."