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Mazda Protegé



  • jbolltjbollt Posts: 734
    Hi all! I read this forum daily, but post very infrequently. I feel like I am part of this group, although a mostly silent one. With that, I have a few words, if I may?
    Let's start by saying that I have owned 2 '96 Proteges, and still own one of them. Great Little Car (oops..pun intended!).. underpowered, but acceptible... I passed them to 2 of my 3 teenagers as they came of driving age. When it came time to replace my wife's car, she wanted a little something bigger, quieter and..well..more luxurious...bought a 2000 Toyota Avalon...met all our preceived needs...VERY quiet car, great highway ride...except it was WAY too softly suspended, way too insulated...on and on...traded it on a 2000 Camry 4 cyl (put money in pocket)...still bland, but does have some road feel compared to Avalon, and cheaper insurance. My point so far? Everything is relative to ones needs/wants at any time...
    About 6 months a go, I found myself needing to get a replacement car for my Tacoma, as I was giving/selling it to my son as his 96 Pro was needing some major body work. (gotta love teenagers!) I recently have seen the $ benefit of buying a one year old car, and I started my search with used 2000/2001 Proteges, Civics and Corollas. Corolla was out, way too small in back seat. Civic seemed too much money and Proteges, well, there just were very few of them avail. used in my area of the Desert SW. Looked at new Pros, with all the incentives, looked at Civics without incentives. What to do? By luck, an auto broker in town called me back with a 2001 Civic EX 5spd with 4500 miles...would sell it to me a great price.. SOLD! Love the car. Yes, a few rattles inside (have all been fixed) but great mileage, fun to drive...(wouldn't have bought a pre 2001 as too hard riding/too noisey on road).

    My whole point of this post? Protege and Civic are very comparable in many ways. After weighing all factors I could think of, they ended up virtually equal in my mind. Each has its plusses amd minuses, but none enough to eliminate the other...I would have loved to get a 2001 Protege LX or ES, but found a nice Civic in my price and time frame. However, based on the support/friendship of this forum, I feel like this forum is enough to tip the scales in favor of the Protege! Civic has a lot of aftermarket support, but this forum is the greatest Plus so far! Anyone want to buy 2001 Civic? Just kidding...maybe in a year or so...

    One last question, and sorry for the long post...
    My daughters '96 Pro just needed its SECOND set of plug wires in 50,000 miles...arching. First set replaced at 29,000 miles while she was still home two years age this month, and second last week in Michigan. Is this a trend with the 1.6L engine? Has anyone experienced this? What could be causing it.

    Thanks and keep up the great forum.

  • vocusvocus Posts: 7,777
    In my 1999 DX, I hauled a bunch of stuff. I moved from my apartment in January 2001 to my dad's house due to my mother's passing. I used my Protege to load up kitchen appliances, art work from my walls, trash bags and suitcases full of clothes, even recycled trash that had to be taken to the recycle plant. The most I carried, the front passenger seat, rear seat, and trunk were all filled to the top, and I had to slam the trunk to make sure it closed. These cars to have alot of space inside.

    I know you will love this one, Meade. I had to haul my stair stepper in my Jetta the other day because I lent it to a friend of mine (I have access to a gym at work, he doesn't). You know I had to fold down the back seat in my car? Not so in the Protege. It was definitely roomier than my car is inside.
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    And while I'm cringing, waiting for the beating I'll surely take from the "experts" here, I'll take a stab at your plug wires concern ... let me say that I've owned four Proteges (two right now; two '92s back in '92), so I feel qualified to answer this because I went through the same thing with my '92 LX ...

    These engines are designed with the plugs down inside the head. The wires have to travel through a grommet in the top of the head and then continue down a few more inches to reach the top of the plugs inside the head. It is very common for moisture or just plain wear (or cheap aftermarket plug wires) to cause shorting. With my 1992 LX, replacing the plug wires every 30,000 miles was actually called for in the car's maintenance schedule in the owner's manual. So two sets in 50,000 miles doesn't sound that far from normal.

    Next time you replace them, ask your dealer or your NAPA guy or whoever you go to if they have a set of heavier-duty wires that fit your car. It's been 8 years, so I can't remember, but I got a great set of plug wires from NAPA that lasted me nearly 40,000 miles on my '92 LX.

    Hope this helps a little, and thanks for dropping in!

  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    Why is it that you think a Protege is incapable of beating another car in a race? I didn't say we were trying to race Porsche 944s or anything. Heck, for all you know I was talking about 1987 Hyundai Excels and Yugo GVs.

    We all know you've settled for less car than you want. You've told us that. OK, fine. That's your decision. But for some of us, this car is all we want or need, and it has all the performance we want or need. And if I feel the need to drag race old ladies in 1984 Buick Skylarks, then let me brag about it.

    This car CAN beat other cars from a stoplight. And while you may be dreaming of Porsches, Acuras and Infinitis, I'm being more level-headed and racing cars in the same class. I do it all the time and I have seen many Civics, Sentras and similar cars receding in my rear-view mirror.

    So chill out, OK? Let us have fun talking about our cars in the context of what they are without you swooping in to tell us all how stupid we are to think this way. I'm on my third Protege and I just helped my wife buy a Protege5 -- for a reason. I've been a Protege owner since late 1991. I wouldn't keep coming back if the car wasn't doing something right for me.

    If you feel the need for more performance, then go out and get it and enjoy it. But I'm frankly getting tired of hearing how my fun-to-drive economy car doesn't have balance shafts, disc brakes and a $30,000 engine.


  • rbrooks3rbrooks3 Posts: 174
    Meade is 100% correct. See if you can get quality overengineered wires. Magnecor makes custom sets for many applications back to 1975, and maybe earlier. Their components are first rate (they make most of the wires for NASCAR and CART teams) and their products for road cars are much better than what you'd get over the counter. Most 4 cyl sets are only about $60 so they're not that expensive for what you get.

    Ron B.
  • jbolltjbollt Posts: 734
    Thanks for the quick and informative answer... and that does make sense about the placement of the plugs. For what it's worth, the first set of wires installed was at a Mazda dealer, the recent set, unknown brand, as my daughter took it to "her roommate's mechanic." (I shiver!) She paid $236 + tow costs. I told her to get AAA when she left home. Never got around to it, I guess. She's "out on her own" now. The real world..ah yes! I am about to sign the car over to her, and release myself from her insurance bill, as she just graduated college. All in all, we are very proud of her having graduated UofArizona in 3 1/2 years at 20 years old!

  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    Man, she got robbed! My set back in '94 was like $60 or something.

  • nematodenematode Posts: 448
    How much stock do I put in CRs reliability ratings?
    On a scale of 1 to 10 where 10 is paramount importance....about 1 or 2. For comparison what my mechanic friend thinks ranks at 7 and what my father thinks ranks at 5. The driving dynamics of a car as I perceive them rank at 8. I do look at CR for things like washing machines and blenders and in some cases TVs but thats as far as it goes. But even then its just a nice place to see all the features compared.

    I guess if you keep in mind that CRs reliability rating is a survey not really a reliability rating then it may mean something. Sometimes it can tell you about car but I suspect that it really tells you about is what people think of their car. The two do not always go hand in hand. I know how my friends who own Subarus fill out their survey. They seem to have some type of selective memory when it comes to repairs. I'm not ripping Subaru owners as we own a 2k Outback Ltd and its a pretty good car but reliability is not its strong point. Subaru owners are really loyal to Subaru. Sometimes I think its like a cult :). Our Outback had lots of little problems which have required numerous annoying trips back to the dealer. So have most of my friends yet when they talk about their cars you would think nothing ever goes wrong with them. The same could be said for my sister and her new Camry. She claims is super reliable because its a Toyota BUT I know (because I asked her husband) that its also been back to he dealer several times. By the way my 01 ES has only been to the dealer for its 7500k oil change and the next time it goes back it will be for its 15k oil/air filter change (its got 11k now).

    It would be better if CR just got raw numbers of each type of repair (or recall or whatever) from car dealers and then expressed them as a fraction of the number of cars sold. No surveys, just get the raw data directly so you have the complete pool or at least a much bigger chunk. Then it would mean a lot more but would also take more time AND I dont think that car makers are all that happy to give out the actual repair data.

    Then how do I take reliability into account? I dont. Its pretty low in any auto buying decision that I make. Its down there with resale value. To me cars are disposable. Its not like a paper plate but its got a finite useful life. I keep them about 7 years (I always get a 7 year warranty) or 100k and then sell them. I do the minimum maintainance required to keep me in the warranty. The second aspect is strictly stochastic. Its random. You could get a perfect Mazda. You could get one that has to go back to dealer every 10k miles for some problem. Sure your chances may be are better if you get a Corolla but do you like the Corolla enough to care?
  • jbolltjbollt Posts: 734 thoughts as well.. She said it was something like $50 diagnosis, plus parts,and labor...I asked her to send me a copy of the bill...I looked up the bill from Mazda dealer from March of 2000, $186 which included the wires, tune up, plugs etc, so maybe there is more to this then I know right now. I hope! She is my first kid to "leave the nest"... It is truly hard for a dad to sit back and let his kid deal with life. A lot of tongue bitting. Don't want her to think that I feel that she doesn't know what she is doing. I DON'T have that feeling all the time, just don't want her to get robbed.

  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    Long time no talk to!

    You ever wonder about this? Mazda's models are and have been, for the most part, less expensive than their competition. The Protege has always had a slight price advantage over the Civic and Corolla, the 626 has always been less expensive than the Accord and Camry, etc. So therefore the Mazda dealership attracts more frugal and, to put it bluntly, POORER car buyers. People who work hard for their money and often seem to think they don't get their money's worth when they buy something. So when the survey comes around, they may be more apt to criticize every little problem they've had with the car.

    Now, hang on everybody. I'm not saying Toyota and Honda buyers don't expect a lot for their money. But there are probably more Toyota and Honda buyers out there who buy the car because they believe in the brand than there are loyal Mazda enthusiasts. I'm pretty sure my case (four Proteges) is not the norm.

    And I can tell you from experience that people who buy cheaper cars brand-new DO expect a lot from them. I purchased 1987 and 1988 Hyundai Excels. My 1987 Excel cost me a whopping $7,100 -- and it was a mid-level GL model; you could get into a 3-door Excel back then for $5,995! And I used to sit in the service department's waiting area listening to the other low-income Hyundai owners complain about the most trivial of things. I of course wanted to say, "What do you expect from a $7,000 car?" But they expected their cars, which they had scraped and penny-pinched and purchased generic cigarettes to afford, to be perfect! So when they weren't perfect, these people were ready to call in Mr. Nader, the NHTSA and Rush Limbaugh.

    Just some food for thought. Mazda, at least for the past few years, has been an "economy" brand. And the type of people attracted to "economy" things are usually very frugal and expect a lot for their hard-earned dollar. And maybe, just maybe, they believe in "giving 'em what's coming to 'em" when they've had a few problems.

    I love how CR doesn't qualify what problems are being reported -- I mean, are these people coming in with their cars on flatbeds, engines a-smokin'? Or are they coming in because their headlight burned out?

    Like I said, 83,000 miles on my '92 LX -- and so far, 35,000 miles on my '00 ES -- with nary a problem so far.

  • chikoochikoo Posts: 3,008
    >>>I would, however, like to know whether or not all Pros with autoT jerk going from 1st to second and noticeably shift from 2nd to 3rd?<<<<

    Yes. They do. Let's you have the same feeling as a manual shifter.
    But, if you want, simply add about 7 oz of Lubegard to your tranny fluid and see the difference.
    I can bet u will come back and thank me for the advice.
  • rbrooks3rbrooks3 Posts: 174
    You find the opposite true as well. lexus builds a very good product, but hpow many people are going to have bad things to say about their $60,000 purchase. Sort of makes you feel dumb. My neighbor is a Lexus salesman and while service does bend over backwards to be nice, they have their share fo problems too that NEVER get disussed. For example, their former top line coupe, the SC400 had a horrible design problem with the power steering system. They placed the resevoir directly over the mucho expensive alternator. The power steering system is a known failure part on this model and what happens is the price skyrockets when it leaks onto the alternator.

    It happens with alarming frequency on the SC400. Lexus denies any problem but the dealers usually help out the customer according to my neighbor. So, what happens on the CR? The car seems great because the dealer helps out. But, it does not actually represent problems that exist with the car.

    Of course these things pale in comparison to his great stories! Like a few months ago when he sold an IS300 to a woman who ended up asking him to keep the car on the lot for 3 months AFTER she bought it. the reason? He son, for whom she bought it, failed his lerner's permit test and she wanted to wait for him to pass before giving him the car! 32k and he just got his permit!
  • dsm6dsm6 Posts: 813
    Let me tell you a little story about a friend who owned a Dodge, and a friend who owned a Toyota. The Dodge friend said she'd never buy another. When asked why, she said because it was so unreliable - the rear view mirror fell off, a wind shield wiper broke, and the auto window switch for the passenger window had to be fixed.

    On the other hand, the Toyota friend said her car was just fantastic. As reliable and trouble free as the day is long. Best car she ever had owned. Only one thing ever went wrong - she had to have the engine rebuilt at 105,000 miles (!!).

    So one perceived her car as a piece of junk, the other as rock solid - bullet proof. Now, I don't know about you, but I'd much rather have rear view mirrors fall off, wipers break, and window switches go out, then have to rebuild an engine, but to hear it from them, it would sound the other way around. Why? Because one was a Dodge, the other a Toyota, me thinks - pre-concieved notions following along with each.

    Now, am I trying to imply that, in general, Dodges are more reliable than Toyotas - certainly not. It's difficult to generalize from two data points. The majority of the data, as you well know, suggests the opposite to be true. This example merely demonstrates the dangers of applying generalizations to the specific. They don't always carry through, though they may color our view.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,024
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  • chicagoprochicagopro Posts: 1,009
    Meade suggested a quick poll, and unwittingly gave us the topic:

    What did you listen to on the way to work (or play) this morning on your wonderful stock or fully swapped-out Protege stereo?

    Meaded kicked us off with Spyro Gyra (actually saw them perform live about 20 years ago, kiddo!)

    I'll chime in with: Snoop Dogg (from a CD made for me by a co-worker).

    Anybody else?

    Let's stay on top, people!

  • maltbmaltb Posts: 3,572
    NPR...everyday. Call me boring but I got sick of all the other rating hungry talk show hosts.

    You mean that little slot takes CDs? Hot damn!
  • chicagoprochicagopro Posts: 1,009
    Didn't we tell you to stop sticking your ATM card in there?
  • protegenicprotegenic Posts: 199
    Mine usually cranks out U2 tunes. I just never seem to tire of their music.

    Has anyone looked into the XM radio. I would be interested in hearing others thoughts on this. I know I personally would pay $10/month to listen to better radio programming, especially when I can listen to the same stations no matter where I am!
  • the_big_hthe_big_h Posts: 1,583
    I would never imagine you being a snoop dogg listener yo!

    On my way to work I had U2's "All That You Can't Leave Behind" CD in my stereo. Good band I'd say...
  • the_big_hthe_big_h Posts: 1,583
    yeah the idea of cross-continent nonstop radio sounds great, but right now the initial equipment cost is keeping me away from it (almost $400 for a removable receiver, sheesh!).

    I'll wait til someone comes out with a standard size head unit (that also does CD/AM/FM) that costs less than $300, then we'll see...
  • maltbmaltb Posts: 3,572
    funny story about that.

    A couple years ago, I started the MPV after church and some smoke comes pouring out of the radio. I quickly shut it off and pulled the fuse so we could get home. I pulled that radio out when I got home and proceeded to take it apart. I found about a dollar's worth of change stuffed into the radio and one just happened to land in the wrong spot. My poor daughter put all that money in and never got a single song out of it.

    Sure glad to have a warranty on that one.
  • protege_fanprotege_fan Posts: 2,405
    I just listen to the radio on my way to work. Rock, pop, whatever.

    Now if I do put a CD in, it's probably going to be Metallica, CCR, or the Stones...nice mix, eh?

    H said what I was thinking....Never figured Dale for a Snoop Dog fan!! I hope this doesn't want to make her bust a cap in my...uh...posterior? :)
  • maltbmaltb Posts: 3,572
    How does Hello Kitty fit with Snoop Dog?
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    But I don't think I need ONE MORE DOGGONE MONTHLY PAYMENT in my life. Even if it's only 10 bucks. Geesh! (Well, plus the receiver's like $300 -- which I ain't got right now.)

    BTW Dale, I helped organize a Spyro Gyra concert right down here in Kanawha Plaza (outdoor amphitheatre next to an old canal in downtown Richmond) last summer. Saw 'em then. BLAAAAHHHH. But I've been listening to their music and buying their albums since 1982, O Young One.

    I'm a frequent U2 listener as well, and (as you're about to read) I have very diverse listening tastes. I'll listen to (and own) just about everything from classical to contemporary Christian to rock to jazz. But lately I've taken a turn toward country music. Don't ask why -- I kind of "discovered" it about a year ago. Now I've got almost 20 CDs from artists like Alan Jackson, Toby Keith (saw HIM in concert last fall -- GREAT CONCERT!!!), Dixie Chicks, Phil Vassar, Mark McGuinn, Rascal Flatts, John Michael Montgomery, and several others.

    I'll also go out on a limb for potential ridicule here (but I warn you, don't knock him if all you've heard is the early '80s "elevator music" stuff), I am a hardcore Dan Fogelberg fan.

    And I'm warning you -- don't knock him unless you can name one of the albums he's produced in the last 10 years WITHOUT going and looking it up on! I've been to two of his concerts, met him and talked with him. What a fantastic artist and person in general.

    Anyway, there you have it. On any given morning you'll hear nearly anything but rap and heavy metal emanating from my Protege.

  • newcar31newcar31 Posts: 3,711
    I didn't drive today, I took the public limo. I listened to a local morning show on my headphones. It was the KQRS morning show for all you Twin Citeans out there. Bobcat Goldthwait (sp?) was on the show interviewing Sybil Sheppard. Bobcat was complaining because he is a "junior varsity celebrity" and he slots himself somewhere in between Scott Baio (sp? again) and Pauly Shore. It was hilarious.

    XM radio? It's cool if you didn't have to put that stupid looking antenna on your car.
  • meinradmeinrad Posts: 820
    "Remember What Bye Means", one of my many musical compilations. A few selected tracks from this one are, True Faith - New Order, Solsbury Hill - Peter Gabriel, I Don't Want to Know - Fleetwood Mac, A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall - Edie Brickell. Along with 14 others it makes up a delightful little cd.

    ps. Dale and Snoop Dogg sittin' in a tree......
  • SporinSporin Posts: 1,066
    I bounce back and forth between "Bob & Sheri" and "Imus" on my mornign commute.
  • ashutoshsmashutoshsm Posts: 1,007
    I guess you missed the (quite) helpful 'Used" link at the top of this (and every other) web page.

    Your questions about 94 through 97 Proteges ...
    94 was the old (blocky) design with very limited interioir space, but rich on features and content. Motorised seatbelts but no airbags. 95 was a redesign year - the Protege (exterior) shape was changed, they got VERY roomy inside (more so than supposedly larger cars like the Honda Accord!) and the base engine (1.5l in the DX and LX) was made smaller, while the high end ES engine was improved. Both drive quite well and happily chug along with a full complement (that's 5 occupants, not 4).

    Try to look for a 95-97 LX or ES, if you like the goodies, or a DX if you want to save some moolah (I drive a 95 DX ;-) Avoid the 94 because of the old design, small interior and (potential) difficulty selling it down the line. Although the same logic would imply you should save money on buying one now! Reliability concerns are a non-issue with all of them (pre 95 as well as newer)!

    If the edmunds "Used" section doesn't have enough info for you, try the reviews of old cars at

    Good luck, you can't go wrong with (most) used Proteges! Knock on wood, mine has been flawless so far (2+ years)
  • gandalf17gandalf17 Posts: 348
    Limp Bizkit singing Rollin, Rollin' Rollin' on the drive in this morning. Then switched it over to Sarah Brightman becasue the wife thought I was driving too fast......
  • ashutoshsmashutoshsm Posts: 1,007
    I cant get over the fact that you need to put a butt-ugly antenna on the outside of your car. I have been tempted by the IP-bus ready Pioneer XM unit (only $199, and easy to install it oneself), though - because I have an IP-bus capable head unit and CD changer already in my car. However, there is some ambiguity over whether my (old) head unit can handle XM radio or not.

    Also, having the 6 CD changer and being very tolerant of many styles and genres of music implies that i am never at a loos for something to listen to, in my car.

    Not to mention that it may not be a smart investment because
    1. XM has competition, and no one knows which one will outlast the other and become the standard
    2. I may keep my car for less than one more year (!)
    3. I don't like the idea of paying money for broadcast radio, and not having a choice about what I get to listen to.
    4. Some of the channels are ad-free, some still have targetted advertising - and considering XM's privacy agreement, and the fact they can tell what station you listen to, this does not bode too well!
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