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Does the Protege compare in reliability to Civic or Corolla?



  • nematodenematode Posts: 448
    For me:
    1) Protege ES
    2) Civic LX
    3) Elantra GLS
    4) Corolla

    Yes, I bought the Protege ES and I have 20k on it now. It was back to the dealer 1 time for a warranty repair (power window drivers side). It was a 10 minute repair for them. Thats it. It was also the cheaper than the Toyota and Honda a large margin AND Mazda was giving out low finance rates. If one does not like a firm ride and objects to a noisy engine then you could easily put the Corolla first. OR you are concerned about such things like resale or fuel economy then you could put the Honda or Toyota first. Build quality was the best (in my opnion) on the Protege. It was the worst on the Civic (I looked at 4). If you just want low cost high options then the Hundai is be best bet. Its also pretty nice. My main reasons for selecting the Protege were:
    1) The ride. Firm and well controlled or harsh to my mom. I really did not like the ride in the Corolla.
    2) Loud but nice engine. Pulls nicely from 3-5k rpm. I dont mind some noise but if you want refined the Civic has the best engine. The Corolla is also nice but more noisy.
    3) Looks the best of the bunch to my eye.
    4) Cost, finance rates, and nice dealer.
  • I think the Mazda/Ford association is misleading. While some of the Mazda/Ford products use the same parts/engines, the Protege is not one of them. The Protege is 100% built in Japan to the same standards as Nissan, Toyota, and Honda. Most consumer reports or consumer protection agencies have all these cars more or less rated equally in terms or reliability with Honda and Toyota sometimes having a marginal (very small) advantage.

    The clear advantage of buying a Honda or a Toyota is that they traditionally retain their resale value better. If you don't plan on keeping the car for more than 3 or 4 years, it might be better to get a Honda or Toyota from the resale value veiw. If you keep your cars for a longer time, then a Protege will last just as long and will be cheaper to buy and with more standard features.
  • for the last year, or two, has dropped to a rating of "B" in the Consumer Reports Surveys. Still good, but a step below the Pro and Toy.
  • Is the insurance on the Protege. For some reason, the pro costs more to insure than my 2k v6 accord. Full coverage 100k/300k 250 ded. pro-329, accord 298 per 6 mos. May have something to do with the category of driver normally buying them or they may be more susceptible to higher repair costs. I don't know. But just one more surprise after the purchase.
  • equals crunch/call to insurance agent. Pro owners, from what I've seen, are young (at heart- in my case). I like to experiment with g forces, in the curves.
  • boggseboggse Posts: 1,048
    The Protege is labeled a "premium" economy sedan by the insurance companies, which puts it into the same category as such vehicles as the Jetta and Volvo V40. The category as a whole has a higher repair cost compared to the regular economy sedans. The Protege obviously would cost less to repair than either the VW or the Volvo, but they are there to drag it down (or up depending on your point of view). Why they did this is beyond me.
  • One reason: too many buyers do insufficient research. For research: see Honorable Mention, under Most Wanted Sedans under $15K, in the edmunds "Editors Most Wanted Vehicles for 2003". (Some drivers like a tight/flat handling suspension.) Oh yes, and thousands of owners say they're reliable too.
  • Very simple--Mazda has an almost non-existant marketing program outside of dealer incentives and financing. How many times have you seen a Mazda Protege commercial on TV?

    Honda, Toyota and Nissan have a huge marketing arm as well as incentives. VW, Hyundai and Kia also market their protects a lot better than Mazda. The new Mazda 6 is Mazda's main marketing project at this time. The car is being advertised in Car & Driver and other automobile publications.

    To answer your question, the buying public knows little about the Mazda Protege. Consumer Reports two years ago did more for the Mazda Protege than Mazda's marketing department when they named it the #1 vehicle in its class. Unfortunately, this is not the case now.
  • dinu01dinu01 Posts: 2,586
    As we know, the herd mentality might be one reason for it. Hey, I'll admit it, I was part of it too, but took a chance on this car (after extensive reasearch) and I'm a convinced Mazda freak now.

  • I have no personal experience with the Protege but two of my friends are very happy with theirs after about 4 years. Funny thing is both started out to buy a Civic and got put off by the attitude displayed by the Honda salesperson.
  • dinu01dinu01 Posts: 2,586
    "Funny thing is both started out to buy a Civic and got put off by the attitude displayed by the Honda salesperson"

    That and 8.6% financing did it for me.

  • boggseboggse Posts: 1,048
    Amen! That is exactly what happened to me when I purchased my 2001 ES 5 Speed, AND when we went looking for a replacement car for my wife. We are going to get her a Protege5 very soon. A large proportion of Honda dealers think you owe them something.
  • Most people don't realize exactly how fun the Protege is until after they own one. At least, that's been my observation. They're wicked fun :-)

    As for reliability- listen to Zues! The Protege owners on this board will testify to it's great reliability- many with 100k+ miles. And if you don't listen to them, remember the the Civic is only rated "average" in Consumer Reports. Take that!

    Really, it's hard to compare reliability when with proper routine maintenance, any of these three cars will reach 200k+ miles. My 1990 Celica (~Corolla) has over 120k and still looks and runs like a new(ish) car. I almost bought a Protege, but am getting an Mazda6 now.
  • newcar31newcar31 Posts: 3,711
    My friend's wife has a 323 with 220,000 miles on it that she still drives every day. Mountainous Montana miles too. Not shabby.
  • paulo3paulo3 Posts: 113
    I don't think so! The 323 was virtually bullet proof.
  • newcar31newcar31 Posts: 3,711
    The Protege is the succesor to the 323. In some markets, they still call it the "323". In NA, they are different cars because one is newer, and one is older. We know the older 323 is bulletproof because it has been around long enough to prove itself. Time will tell with the newer designs, but if history means anything, the newer ones should be even more reliable.
  • I saw a new Protege on the road today. First one I have seen in over a month.
  • zueslewiszueslewis Posts: 2,353
    especially the 5 model. I think Mott must live in Paragould, Arkansas - they only drive old Chevy trucks there because "Chevy" is the only word the insurance agaent can spell.
  • Look at my profile again, it isn't Arkansas but Argentina. The city I live in has a population base over 200,000 people.
  • zueslewiszueslewis Posts: 2,353
    relationship with the people of Argentina have to do with Mazda's relationship with the people of the United States?

    Mazdas are a dime a dozen here and very popular, but due to import restrictions or other matters of National agreements, Mazda may not have the same business relationship in South America as it does here.

    My only observation is that you only seem to want to throw stones, and that, my friend, is a waste of time.

    Like my Mom always said, "If you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything at all".
  • dinu01dinu01 Posts: 2,586
    As we already know the best-selling car or truck is not necessarily the best. That being said PROs are quite common around here, not as common as Civics or Corolla, but common nevertheless.

    Mott: Can you try with an intelligent or at least not-insulting post?

  • dinu01dinu01 Posts: 2,586
    "So what does Mazda's relationship with the people of Argentina have to do with Mazda's relationship with the people of the United States?"

    And Canada, rite? :)

  • zueslewiszueslewis Posts: 2,353
    I think of "North America", not just the U.S.
  • newcar31newcar31 Posts: 3,711
    Just a reminder of some of the things you have said:

    "The only thing Canadians are experts on are beer, donuts and hockey in that order."

    I'm insulting? Hello, Pot, this is kettle. Go back and read the forum from the beginning. You and Mott are the ones stirring things up in here.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 58,461
    The flames will be deleted and I'd like everyone to please get back on topic. Don't respond to trolling, just enjoy yourself and let the Host take care of violations of Town Hall rules.

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  • It is possible that Mazda reliabilty will outbeat Civic and Corolla. This is based on my opinion so I don't want to scare out a lot of people. When I read the discussion, "How reliable are used Ford Festiva/Aspire?" here in Edmunds, almost everybody is a proud owner of the Ford Festivas. I know that this car may be cheap, unsafe, and laughable but the Ford Festiva is a special car. Festivas were assembled by Kia but was designed by Mazda using Mazda engine, which was Made in Japan between the year 1988 and 1993. I have read every reviews here and everybody keeps on commenting on how reliable Festivas are. Many people abused their Festivas but the Mazda engine itself is very indestructable and refuses to give up. Many Festivas have at least 200,000 or perhaps 300,000 miles in it and many people commented that it still has the original clutch, original engine, and original transmission. I'll give an example of a 1988 Festiva. Some owners of the 1988 Festiva even commented that after 300,000 miles later and 15 years, they only spend less than $1,200 for repairs since purchased it new. When I read the Honda Civic reviews and Toyota Corolla reviews for the year 1988 version, it appears that Mazda engine was more robust than Civic and Corolla. You can find out more of that in or in car reviews.

    Walter Chan
  • dinu01dinu01 Posts: 2,586
    The late 80s 323 engines of the Proteges wre great! Many great cars that are still on the road today, yet no one looks at them b/c it doesn't have an "H" on the hood.

    I know my Protege bought in 2001 is as reliable as a Civic/Corolla w/out a doubt. Most people have this notion that Hondas and Toyotas are the best cars on Earth, yet this stems from past years when they oferred inovative technology and more features than the domestics or their Japanese competition. Nowadays, I believe Honda makes the best 5spd trannies and engines, Toyota still delivers on longevity in a package that cannot be made more boring than it is (thus un-appealing for myseelf and others that want to drive, not be driven), and Mazda has a somewhat negative reputation b/c of problems in the 626 sedan, B-series truck and more recently teh Tribute, the last 2 being Fords 100%, the 626 having a Ford auto tranny.

    The Protege, Miata, MPV are all great cars that have been on Consumers Report recomemded list for many years. The Protege, a I said before handles much better, brakes better, looks better (personal view), has a better interior and feels more of a quality car than a Civic since the new Civic was introduced in 2001 - a step backwards for Honda in the eyes of many. The Protege is also much cheaper when you factor in rebates and interest rates.

  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    I'm a repeat Mazda customer. I had a '92 Protege LX that I bought new. When I traded it in after driving it for Pizza Hut delivery -- 83,000 miles in only 28 months (almost 3,000 miles a month -- 36,000 a year!), all I had done was scheduled maintenance.

    I now own a 2000 Protege ES that has 49,000 miles on the odometer. I have yet to have a problem with the car. A year ago this month we purchased a 2002 Protege5 for my wife, and in 14,000 miles she hasn't had one problem with the car.

  • The Ford Festiva is based on the same platform as to the Mazda 121. I think the Mazda 121 is the best Mazda product in history, in my opinion. New Mazda, even built in Japan, is not as good as the 80's.

    Walter Chan
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