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Mazda Protege5



  • maltbmaltb Posts: 3,572
    You are right! If I wanted only certain features, I'd build a racing kart!

    And to oosmpoo: What does traction control do for handling? Is it some genie in a bottle that makes a poor performing car magically stick to the road, keeping it level and providing the right amount of feedback? Time to go back to car basics 101.

  • vocusvocus Posts: 7,777
    I have a 2001 Protege ES, had a 1999 Protege DX, and also test drove many, many cars before making my decision to buy a second Protege. One of the cars I drove was a Mustang GT automatic. The car had phenominal power. That was about it though. The view out was cluttered, the interior felt claustrophobic, there was hardly any sound insulation, and the seats were very uncomfortable. Four strikes and you're way out. And just to clarify your "young males" thing, I am 22. I prefer the Protege. Case closed.
  • davidb72davidb72 Posts: 174
    I have a Miata, and I have a Ford Ranger. Tell you what, you take the P5 and I'll take the V6 Mustang and we'll go to an autocross. I'll embarass you every time. There is nothing wrong with the Mustang's handling. It's not a silly front wheel drive understeering econobox so you have to be a little more involved. There isn't anything wrong with Ford quality either, my Ranger has 111,000 miles on it and I haven't had any problems. It's no racer, 2.3L Supercab, 5 speed, but it starts up and takes me to work every morning. If you are so convinced of the Japanese superiority in building vehicles, I'm sure it applies elsewhere in their society too, maybe you should move to Hiroshima or Nagasaki or wherever the heck they build those things... LOL!!!!
  • jstandeferjstandefer Posts: 805
    I too test drove the Mustang V6 and GT before I bought my ES sedan (was 23yo). The Mustang is great in a straight line, but that's about it. The Mustang is definitely not a very happy car in the twisties. You really had to watch that rear end, especially with its live-axle hop on rough pavement. It never felt very stable and it certainly is not tossable.

    The shifter has a terribly long throw and has a very clunky feel to the whole thing. It did not make shifting very fun--more of a chore. The 3.8L engine is certainly not a model of refinement and power delivery is great in the low-end, but diminishes as the revs rise. Freeway passing power was pitiful for such high power ratings. Ride quality was decent, but I would expect either better handling for its ride harshness, or a luxury ride for its handling ability, but alas, one gets a harsh ride and poor handling.

    The interior is poorly executed with limited visibility, tiny back seats, and a small trunk. Unrefined is the word of the day when it comes to the Mustang. The front seats were terribly uncomfortable and the gauges ridiculously small.

    I'm sorry, but the fun-to-drive factor would go to the Protege. Sure, the Protege won't win any drag races, but when the road gets twisty, the Mustang loses and loses big. The Cobra with its independent rear suspension would be a bit different... The automotive press doesn't call the Mustang the best handling car to come from Ford. That honor goes to the Contour and the Focus... both of which the Protege can easily outperform...
  • davidb72davidb72 Posts: 174
    I'd be willing to bet money that a V6 Mustang could easily beat a Protege (5 or not) at an autocross, and it doesn't get any twistier than that... You'd think a Miata would be the perfect autoX car, and mine is great, but I still get beat by Corvettes, Mustang GT, and assorted F bodies. Why? Torque! These guys just slam down the loud pedal and power through the corners, then fly down the short straights. There is a guy in my region that runs a ZX3 and is extremely smooth. He does well, wins his class regularly, but his times can't compare to a well driven GT or F body. And as far as a Protege outhandling a Focus or a Contour??? The Contour maybe, but the Focus has won many accolades for handling, I wouldn't be so sure...

    Aside.... I do think that there will be very few people cross shopping a P5 and a Mustang V6 for one simple reason, FWD vs. RWD. RWD is too much of a pain up north here in the winter. I had snow tires and 600 lbs of sand in my Ranger this past winter and was still all over the place. FWD wins out easily in this respect, and makes a lot more sense for the majority of people...
  • pocahontaspocahontas Posts: 802
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  • jstandeferjstandefer Posts: 805
    ...get into this discussion anyways? Does the Mustang compete with the Protege5? No. The Mustang is a sports coupe while the Protege5 is an economy-wagon. One has two doors while the other has 4... The good majority of buyers looking at the Protege5 will not be looking at a Mustang.

    Will a Mustang GT win an autocross event against a Protege? Sure, of course it will. How much does a Mustang GT cost? Around $24k? A Protege? Around $16k? For the difference of $8k, I could modify a Protege to destroy a Mustang GT in an autocross event! How about a Protege5 vs. Focus Wagon in an autocross event? Now that's more of a fair comparison, one which I'm sure the Protege5 would win!

    Focus handling vs. Protege handling? Well, in Car and Driver's Small Cars comparison test, the Protege gained 1st place honors, specifically for it's handling and driving ability. The Focus came in third, behind the Sentra.
  • protegextwoprotegextwo Posts: 1,265
    I for one will just ignore David and O-Poo. No need to get worked up over posts, we know are nonsensical. If no one responds to them, they WILL go away sooner or later. Who wants to get the dreaded Poco E-Mail? Not me!!! :-)

    Respectfully and Agreeable,
    Larry (like malty, a Pro-5 lover!)
  • protegextwoprotegextwo Posts: 1,265
    BTW, you make excellent points. Your "how did we" post, put this subject to rest for me. Nice job.

  • tmundartmundar Posts: 70
    Whether a car is able to beat another in an autocross depends largely on how the course is set up, and the drivers of the cars. I was just looking at some times from a recent autocross from my local Porsche club, and there were several early 1970's 914s (with around a whopping 100 HP) with better times than a 2000 996 (a.k.a. 911) (with around 300 HP).

    Could we give this topic a rest? It would make more sense to compare the P5 to my 1994 Saab (which at least has the correct number of doors) than a base 2001 Mustang. Why don't we bring in comparisons to the 2001 Toyota Celica while we're at it? At least the Celica has a hatchback.

  • SporinSporin Posts: 1,066
    Edmunds list the Pro5's competitors as ...

    Volkswagen Jetta GLS 4dr Wagon

    Suzuki Esteem GLX 4dr Wagon

    Subaru Impreza TS AWD 4dr Sport Wagon

    Saturn S-Series SW2 4dr Wagon

    Ford Focus SE 4dr Sedan

    I would also add the Volkswagen Golf 4 door.

    Outside of that, the lines get blurry. But no matter how I squint, i still don't see a Mustang in the mix.

  • hkchanhkchan Posts: 420
    Add the Elantra GT (just available) and the Ford Focus ZX5 (not yet).
  • nikecarnikecar Posts: 460
    on paper you can include the Suzuki.. real world though...... *grin*
  • tmundartmundar Posts: 70
    Have you driven the Suzuki? I was surprised with how much I liked the Suzuki when I test drove it. I thought that it would end up on the bottom of my list, but it really ended up somewhere in the middle. I drove the sedan instead of the wagon, though.


    P.S. You can also add the Kia Spectra, and Daewoo Nubira Wagon to the competitor list. I didn't really like either, but my taste in cars is far from the mainstream. I had narrowed my list down to the Mazda Protege5, Nissan Sentra SE, and the Hyundai Elantra GT, but then I decided to look at used cars, and the rest is history. :)
  • regarding post #466, my dealer as well didn't know how to take off the roof rack and was afraid to mess with it in the showroom.. Any p5 owners out there have successfully removed the roof rack?

    Thanks -Mark
  • nikecarnikecar Posts: 460
    i haven't driven the Suzuki... everyone I've known that had one complain.

    And I've gone on record as not liking the Nubira. if the wagon handles like the car... ugh.
  • protegextwoprotegextwo Posts: 1,265
    Don't you like the roof rack?

  • davidb72davidb72 Posts: 174
    I posted a few reasons why I thought the Mustang was a pretty good car and all of a sudden you're ignoring me??? LOL!!! I guess that's one way to go through life, just bury your head in the sand every time someone upsets your idea of how things should be... I also posted some reasons why I thought the Mustang probably wouldn't be cross shopped by P5 buyers. I think I presented a pretty open minded outlook on the issue. Can you say the same???
  • hkchanhkchan Posts: 420
    "If you are so convinced of the Japanese superiority in building vehicles, I'm sure it applies elsewhere in their society too, maybe you should move to Hiroshima or Nagasaki or wherever the heck they build those things... LOL!!!!"
    Is it anti-America to think Japanese cars are built better? Should people who prefer German-engineered cars go live in Germany?
    If the Ford Ranger is reliable, can you name vehicles that not reliable?
  • the roof rack is very cool.. but I'd at least like the option of taking it off.. besides I ordered my p5 with a moonroof.. I'm guessing the rack might get in the way of my stargazing :)

  • mazdafunmazdafun Posts: 2,329
    ...any guinea pigs, I mean volunteers? ;)


    In case you're serious, I live north of Cincinnati, OH. Mazdas seem to be finally catching on in this region.
  • SporinSporin Posts: 1,066
    It is statistically proven over and over again, that cars built in and by the Japanese are of a higher quality overall then those built inAmerica, by Americans.

    The gap is closing, but it is still there.

    It doesn't make anyone un-patriotic or anti-American to point that out.
  • hkchanhkchan Posts: 420
    It may have less to do with the assembly and more to do with the availability of quality parts from suppliers, the company's commitment to quality and the overall system of working with the suppliers. Many "Japanese" cars assembled in the U.S. are extremely reliable.
  • jstandeferjstandefer Posts: 805
    I've taken a look at the roof rack when the Protege5 first came in. I left the dealership quite puzzled as to how to remove the horizontal members of the roofrack, let alone adjust their positions. However, the blanker plates for the roof rack should come with each vehicle. If they're not their, see your dealer. You paid for them, so you should definitely have them.

    It's funny... I dropped off my Protege ES sedan for an oil change and to have the rear window weatherstripping "glued" on (thanks everyone for the TSB number), so my coworker came and picked me up. She just happens to have a two month old Focus Wagon. What's even funnier, is that she had me drop her off after lunch and had me take her car so I can pick her up afterwards and head over to the dealership to pick my car up.

    Here are my impressions of the Focus Wagon: Is there a telescoping feature on the steering wheel? I have short legs and was very uncomfortable driving it. The pedals are placed very close to the driver while the wheel is quite a reach. With my legs comfy, I had to drive with my arms straight out to reach the wheel! With my arms comfy, my knees were way up by the dash!

    Acceleration is ok (automatic, ZETEC engine), but it doesn't have the spunk the Protege has. The transmission shifts wonderfully smooth but hesitates on the downshifts a bit too much. Why isn't there a tachometer? The car handles confidently with a good amount of body roll, but it's turn-in is not very quick. It doesn't have the confidence-inspiring response of the Protege and it is not a car I would be happy with on a twisty mountain road. On the plus side, the ride is very smooth and quiet.

    Cargo area is where the Focus shines over the Protege5. The Focus Wagon is built more like a big box and it shows inside. Most of the ergonomics are excellent and the switchgear has a quality feel to it. However, there are a few gripes: the fold-down armrest really gets in the way of buckling the seat belts and operating the hand-operated parking brake. And the center stack protrudes over the cupholders, severely limiting the height of any beverage containers (you must carefully struggle to put a Venti Starbucks coffee in it, just to give an example).

    Overall, I think the Protege5 is the better of the two cars, unless you need that extra cargo room. The Protege5 and Focus are definitely designed with different markets in mind, and it just matters what you prefer: sportiness and style (Protege5) or cargo-hauling and economy (Focus).

    At the Mazda dealership she looked at the MPV and walked away saying, "I should have bought that instead." Of course, when she was shopping for a car, she would have nothing to do with a minivan. Now that she's actually taken a look at one, she regrets her purchase. She said, "You should have dragged me to the Mazda dealership by the hair kicking and screaming and sat me down in one of these." Oh well... she should have listened...
  • jstandeferjstandefer Posts: 805
    The Ranger's 4.0L SOHC engine is built in France. The 5-spd automatic is built in Germany. The manual transmissions are built in Japan. Basically, none of the major components of the Ranger are built in the U.S.

    The "All-American" Dodge Ram is built in Mexico. Who would have known? Meanwhile, the "Japanese" Camry, Accord, and 626 are built in the U.S., along with the Mercedes M-Class and the BMW Z3 and X5.
  • estoesto Posts: 136
    Shouldn't the P5 be compared against the Focus ZX3 instead of the wagon? The P5 is NOT a wagon, it's a hatchback, like the ZX3. I realize the ZX3 has 2 less doors, but it's much more like the P5 than the wagon.

  • Any thoughts on the above comparison??
    Many thanks from a buyer 1 day away from what is turning out to be a difficult decision.
  • The ZX3 has a smaller cargo capacity than the P5 and the additional two doors on the P5 are one of my requirements, (kids, dog, etc.).
  • newcar31newcar31 Posts: 3,711
    Are you sure the Ranger and Explorer 4.0L SOHC engines are built in France? If I remember correctly, at my work they have the "windsor assembly" sticker on the valve covers, which would make them Canadien. We have a lot of them running around up here in MN, they build them across the river in St. Paul.
  • pocahontaspocahontas Posts: 802
    Thanks for keeping this discussion civil, despite the differences of opinions. And on the subject of American vs Japanese quality, here's a Hatchback's discussion some of you may want to participate in: US vs. European vs. Japanese vs. Korean (Hatchbacks). Fyi, I've just linked a new article from Edmunds's features there (post 76) that some of you might find interesting. See ya there!

    And now back to the subject of the Mazda Protege5. Thanks for your participation. ;-)

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