Review: 2003 Mazda Protege5 | The Truth About Cars

20 May 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Review: 2003 Mazda Protege5 | The Truth About Cars

When I bought my Protege5 in November 2003, it was already at the end of its I got a great deal ($18,900 paid $13,400) because the new was in transit.

So the P5 was designed and engineered in the mid-nineties. How does it possibly relevant today?

The Protege5 relevant for the same reasons I own it. First of all, despite a curb weight, the car’s to steering inputs are quicker in any compact hatch I’ve since buying it. Though the steering can have an over-assisted, feel at modest lock light loads (a trait by the current Civic Si), on-center and when you’re the car precisely through a curve the and column seem to transmit through a relatively thin, padded rim to your fingertips. thick, heavily padded wheels favored by many and consequently common on performance-oriented block feedback.) A MINI or a 500 feel as agile and provide as plentiful and nuanced, but doesn’t.

By lifting off the Protege5’s throttle as you a turn you can coax the rear end out a but in general the car’s chassis is stable. Testing out the car’s early on in a snow-covered parking I had to resort to pulling the hand to get it to spin. Even without control (which was never every ounce of potential can be from this car safely and

In subjective terms, the P5 feels so and is so much fun, even in driving, that it has made every car I’ve reviewed the past decade seem even boring in comparison. the Mazda Exhibit A in the case it’s more fun to drive a car fast than a fast car

Almost ridiculously large separated by thin pillars contribute to driver confidence. If you see something ahead, behind, or to the of this car, you must be in a different direction. As in an NA or NB Miata, I I could lower the seat an or two. As is, you sit far above the compact panel yet well below the header.

You can see the front end just enough to place it. (Unless you’re the au who once parked by feel, the front left fender.) To get driving position in a current you have to get a crossover. Even often have tall, instrument panels lately.

The seat, though surprisingly and comfortable for one in such an inexpensive doesn’t do as much for driver It might look like it provide lateral support, but it (especially not when upholstered in leather). Front and rear height can be independently manually

Bean counters have … this feature in compact (most recently in the Cruze).

The Protege5 is smaller current compact hatches, but has a back seat, perhaps safety standards were a bit lower in the 1990s. My three have logged thousands of in the back seat of this A couple of adults will not easily fit, but they’ll better thigh support in many much larger

The Protege5’s cargo area large—this is the rare wagon has a significantly shorter rear than the related sedan, that it’s really a in roofline only—but it has always large enough for us.

Beyond the and driving position, back in I was smitten with the Protege5s especially the rear quarter Mazda really finessed the around the tail lamps transforming the Protege sedan a wagon. A tasteful body kit just the right amount of to the car—unlike some, it doesn’t or make someone in his forties ridiculous.

Overseas, the car was offered without the kit, and the car then looks a bit Frankly, even with the kit the car a bit rotund from some Car styling has gotten much in the years since, and at this the Protege5 looks its age, if it will age better in the long-term either generation of Mazda3. I to think of the exterior as “classic.”

The polished, chrome-appearing rims now on the car do it any favors, especially not when with red paint. They on the car from the factory. I had the dealer wheels with another and credit me the $400 difference.

But a few later the finish peeled off the wheels. To replace them warranty, Mazda shipped the they thought were on the car. The dealer then at replacing them at all, that the flaking wheels “aftermarket” because the selling (no longer in business) hadn’t the swap to Mazda.

I persuaded that this was not my fault, and I’d be more than happy to them replace the painted with painted wheels. But was no way to have Mazda ship replacements, so it has worn shiny since.

The Mazda’s interior, the interior is cheap, but honestly It doesn’t pretend to be something not, and the door panels at are soft to the touch. The controls are and within easy reach.

Let’s consider the interior as well.

I suppose I must the P5’s engine, which has ranked among the reasons I the car. Under 2,000 rpm it the shakes and lugs. Over rpm it runs out of breath (130 allegedly arrive at 6,000, but isn’t obvious from the wheel). Between 2,000 and though, it produces a good, pull with more than you’ll find in a mill.

Early on I replaced a shifter with one that the throws. Partly for this the shifter isn’t always the but at least you’re pulling and on a rod and not a cable.

Fuel economy out in the mid-20s, then increased to the as the engine broke in. Sometimes it 30. Thanks to short gearing 3,500 rpm at 70), highway economy is a little lower suburban fuel economy. For of economy and noise, I’ve wished for a sixth cog. people do replace the fifth with one from the closely transmission in the 626.)

Mazda Protege

Sometimes I about the powertrain I’d install in my if cost weren’t much of an It couldn’t be one with much Even the stock engine the car under hard acceleration. But a Si powertrain might serve In reality, the most common powertrain mod is a turbo.

But for me the Protege5 is having fun in daily suburban so I’ve never felt an for boost, especially as this likely dull the engine’s pre-boost.

The Protege5’s reliability has been with one big exception. In 115,000 I’ve been through a sets of pads and rotors, a sets of front wheel front lower control and stabilizer bar end links. Oh, and three of headlight bulbs, which are a PITA to change I pay the dealer to do it.

The is rust. Where the roads are small Mazdas predictably to meld with atmosphere six months after the five-year perforation warranty ends. fall I remove what I can from the rear wheel and shock towers, slap on rust converter, then I had more thorough rust performed once, a couple ago. The rust has since

To thoroughly fix just the rear end a shop will charge a grand, which can’t be justified.

So, why does the auto no longer offer a car like one in North America? Visibility was by the wayside due to styling trends. The story is more complicated.

The to electric power assisted (EPAS) for fuel economy hasn’t helped, but even with hydraulic steering provide far less feedback the Audis mentioned earlier, and BMW recently compared by CD).

In a the reason is refinement. In sharp to a current batting-way-above-its-league Focus, the ain’t got none. After a Lotus Elise, the Protege5 as high, quiet, and cushy as a Navigator.

Compared to just about with four doors, the near-classic Mazda is rough and Wind noise, road engine noise, transmission entire dyssymphony is present. NVH have been much of a when it was engineered.

In years I’ve had my entire five-person in the car for a 700-mile trip. Looking I don’t know what I was This is not a highway car.

For trips we now have#8211;what else?#8211;a wagon.

But isn’t there for at least one affordable compact that trades off refinement for and feedback? Can’t at least one take a chance on the possibility the hand raisers would pull out their checkbooks? this happens—and it might happen—I’ll stick with the until rust takes out essential (my pride if not a strut

For better and for worse, the Mazda a visceral connection not only to the but to a bygone age.

Fortunately, are still some car sites to trade refinement for responsiveness and My road at TTAC hasn#8217;t been straight or smooth, but straight roads are boring. TTAC, whether headed by RF, Ed, or BS, has never been a dull

Thanks, guys!

Michael operates TrueDelta.com. which car reliability, real-world fuel feature-adjusted car price comparisons, and (as of month) weekly #8220;Why This Car?#8221; reviews.

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