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Does the Protege compare in reliability to Civic or Corolla?

bottgersbottgers Member Posts: 2,030
edited March 2014 in Mazda
......and the Protege actually looks very nice, even compared to the Civic and Corolla. I just don't know much about how well they're built. The Civic and Corolla have an impeccable reputation for reliability, I was just wondering how well the Protege compares in terms of reliability.
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    newcar31newcar31 Member Posts: 3,711
    is supposed to be very reliable. Go to a news stand and check out all of the used car rating guides.
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    zueslewiszueslewis Member Posts: 2,353
    the three are identical as far as reliability.
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    bottgersbottgers Member Posts: 2,030
    What do you see on a daily basis that forms your opinion? Are you a mechanic?
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    zueslewiszueslewis Member Posts: 2,353
    write reports, consult and testify on lemon law and dealer fraud cases.

    I see over 150 cases a week.
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    mikegold_1966mikegold_1966 Member Posts: 138
    I would say the 2003 Corolla and 2002-2003 Civic are superior to the Mazda Protege. At one time, the Protege was at the top of its class but has slipped within the last two years.

    Check Consumer Reports for the latest ratings and it will back up my observations.
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    zueslewiszueslewis Member Posts: 2,353
    only accurately measures a few areas - I feel a true and trustable evaluation is one you'll only get from actual owners and doing your homework.
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    fritz1224fritz1224 Member Posts: 398
    Bottgers is asking about reliability. The Protege is rated above average in their latest buying guide. The 2k that is-insufficient info for 2k1. Exactly where did you see Consumer reports reliability ratings for the cars and models you mentioned. As far as performance, driveablility etc, maybe the Pro has slipped, but don't confuse the issues. RELIABILITY is what was requested and the Pro shines in that category. I would expect any Consumer reports reliability rating on the cars you mentioned would be based on previous generations records, not present models since CR usually is at least a year behind in their ratings.
    The 01 Civic only had an average rating and the 01 Corolla had above average. Only with the passage of time will the reliability of these new generations become apparent.
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    mikegold_1966mikegold_1966 Member Posts: 138
    To be exact, I found my information on page 170 of the Consumer Reports Buying Guide 2003 (small pocket book) that is sent to subscribers.

    Both the Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla as well as the Subaru Impreza are rated above the Mazda Protege.

    Also on page of 162 of the same publication regarding the Mazda Protege---Quote-----------

    "This small sedan has fallen behind the main competitors, the Honda Civic and the Toyota Corolla. Handling is secure, but the ride is stiff., choppy and noisy." Last road test: July 2002.

    Please check these observations out in the 2003 Consumer Reports Buying Guide.
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    zueslewiszueslewis Member Posts: 2,353
    I race autocross - perhaps I like a stiff-riding car.

    The question was about reliability, not ride quality.

    And, I'll say it again, the only use I have for Consumers Reports, after being in the car business, out of the car business and now a lemon law consultant, would be for ammunition in the outhouse.
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    fritz1224fritz1224 Member Posts: 398
    Are not about the Protege's reliability and that was the initial question. I have that booklet and in the Peviews of the 2003 models the civic has the same reliability rating as the protege with the corolla faring only slightly better. And I'm sure all of these 2003 ratings are extrapolations based on previous reliabilty ratings.
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    bottgersbottgers Member Posts: 2,030
    ......what CR has to say about these cars. Though I think their assessments are fairly objectionable, I feel better, and more realistic information comes from the owners of these vehicles. This type of info is more like what a person can expect to experience in the real world.
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    dinu01dinu01 Member Posts: 2,586
    I had a choice b/w the PRO ES, Civic LX and Sentra GXE. I can't consider the Corolla b/c it's very tipsy in corners and the seating position is very high - minivan like.

    The Civic was eliminated very soon as Honda wanted 8.6% financing over 4 yrs and I wasn't thrilled about the new style of the 01 models anyway.

    The Sentra was ok, but I went to drive a Protege just to see what it's like before I signed for the Sentra.

    What attracted me to the Protege was the firm composed suspension with the least body roll, the fact that it gave feedback (aka: road feel) and the interior which I think is still the best out of small cars - the black interior on the ES/P5 trims that is. Oh yeah: price and financing were good too = value that is for your $.

    I went and did my research: the PRO was always recommended by CR, scoring better than the Civic in 2001 and similarily to the Corolla.

    What really made me buy it was how it drove - like an aspiring sports sedan, unlike the competittion that drives like a family sedan. The sporty part is what made me get it.

    If you read Car and Driver's Nov 2002 issue you will find that is won a 10-car comparo once again not b/c it's the fastest of the bunch, but b/c it can be driven, while other cars drive you. A small difference you say, but it makes a big difference to me.

    The Civic came #5 - they labelled it "a loser from Honda".

    I now have just a little over 30.000 miles (48.000 kms) on my 2001 ES and I am VERY happy with this car - it makes me smile everytime I wanna push in in turns, it can go on hwy ramps w/out braking, faster than other cars.

    The ES comes standard w/ABS, 16" alloys, spoiler, etc. The car is put together very well - no rattles, quality interior materials.

    I drove a 2003 Corolla (a friend's) extensively and I can say that car accelerated much faster than the PRO and the ride is more comfortable. However, on those ramps where my PRO can go w/out touching the brakes, the Corolla had to be slowed down... Personally I like road feel and a firm suspension with more noise in the cabin over a hush-hush ride and tipsy cornering.

    Dinu
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    fritz1224fritz1224 Member Posts: 398
    Mine has never been in the shop except for the ignition recall. Only got 18k so far on it, but that's my real world experience. If that helps. A 2k ES 5 sp.
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    bottgersbottgers Member Posts: 2,030
    ......of the Civic as "a loser from Honda" is exactly why I don't put much stock into what the magazine staffers have to say. The Civic is, and has clearly been amoung the top 3 cars in it's class for several years now, and to say anything else about the Civic is just ridiculous. In fact, I think the Corolla, Civic, and Protege are the top 3 cars in their class, and no other cars even compare to them. Of course that's just my opinion. If I were going to buy today, the Civic would be my second choice behind the Protege, and that would mainly be due to their poor buyer's incentives.
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    zueslewiszueslewis Member Posts: 2,353
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    Kirstie_HKirstie_H Administrator Posts: 11,150
    I had a '96 Protege that I bought used in '98 and I put miles & miles on it til I sold it in 2001 with close to 100K. I loved the car, and it cost me almost nothing in repairs -- I think over the 3 years that I had it the only repair I had was to replace the alternator (apart from the usual -- tires, oil changes, tune-ups).

    I'd definitely do it again if I were in the market for that sort of car.

    kirstie_h
    Roving Host & Future Vehicles Host

    MODERATOR /ADMINISTRATOR
    Need help navigating? kirstie_h@edmunds.com - or send a private message by clicking on my name.
    Share your vehicle reviews

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    zueslewiszueslewis Member Posts: 2,353
    in the market for a small sporty sedan. It just doesn't work for the family, dog, job, etc.

    There are so many great choices out there I really wouldn't know where to start.
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    rbruehlrbruehl Member Posts: 85
    I would definitely go for the new 2003 Toyota Corolla which is a far superior vehicle in design and quality. My second choice would be the Honda Civic as it has had a good track record. They have cheapened it up though when they went from the wishbone suspension to the less expensive struts.

    The Protege was a fine automobile three years ago but it doesn't compare in build quality to either the Toyota or the Honda counterpart. J D Powers proves this in its research.
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    zueslewiszueslewis Member Posts: 2,353
    and place no credibility in JD Powers or CR.

    Both sources are "for profit" organizations.
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    adrewadrew Member Posts: 5
    I've got a '99 LX 5-speed that just rolled over to 60k. It's the best car I've ever owned. Other than maintenance (oil changes, tires, plugs) I haven't had to do one thing to it. It still runs and drives great and doesn't use a drop of oil between changes.

    My cousin bought a '99 Civic LX around the same time I bought my Protegé. She drives far less aggressively than I do and hashad constant trouble with warped brake rotors.
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    chicagoprochicagopro Member Posts: 1,009
    Go check out the Protege boards--in both Sedans and Maintenance & Repair--here in Town Hall and see what you think.

    Yes, people have had issues, but so do all car owners. I think you'll find, however, that in general the issues have been minor.

    I've had no problems with my 2000 ES. I'm close to 20,000 miles now, and very happy.

    Good luck making your decision!
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    bottgersbottgers Member Posts: 2,030
    ......has gone downhill in the last 3 years, or that it's not on the same level as the Civic or the Corolla. JD powers is an even less reputable source than CR in my book.
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    zueslewiszueslewis Member Posts: 2,353
    not the statistics people.
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    fritz1224fritz1224 Member Posts: 398
    the mileage sure sucks. I'm sure somebody will say something is wrong, but the car runs great. Last gas up gave me about 22mpg/city. I do drive it hard, usually 4k rpm between shifts, but still that's pretty lousy numbers. I also know winter formula lowers mileage. I really do like the car but for its size and 5 sp to boot, mileage should be a lot better. The civic or corolla would beat these numbers but the pro sure is a lot of fun to drive. And I wouldn't dare take it to a dealer so they could tinker with it. Like I said it runs great and I'll just live with it.
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    zueslewiszueslewis Member Posts: 2,353
    Most people lose 15-20% because of the winter fuel.
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    bottgersbottgers Member Posts: 2,030
    I'd say the mileage your experiencing is probably the exception, not the rule. I bet if all or many of the pro owners chimed in here with their mileage figures, they'd probably be quite a bit higher. I'm not saying anything is wrong with your car either. That's just one of those things that can vary from car to car, even with the same models. The same thing happens with performance cars. One 'Vette may run a 13.6 1/4 mile, while the very next one off the assembly line might run 12.9. No two cars are ever exactly the same.
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    newcar31newcar31 Member Posts: 3,711
    2001 5sp ES, 100% city driving, winter fuel.
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    fritz1224fritz1224 Member Posts: 398
    Those are the kind of numbers I would like to have. Maybe if I lightened up that right foot a little... but I just can't do it. Got that "Zoom, Zoom, Zoom" stuck in my head. LOL.
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    newcar31newcar31 Member Posts: 3,711
    Do you have a P5 or Sedan? Auto or manual?
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    fritz1224fritz1224 Member Posts: 398
    It's a 2k ES sedan 5 sp. 1.8 liter. Is your's a 2.0?
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    mott_da_hooplemott_da_hoople Member Posts: 15
    Reading comments here regarding this topic and I believe anyone thinking that a Protege is a great car must be crazy. The car isn't in the same league as the Corolla or the Civic. If it was, people would be flocking to Mazda dealerships in droves.

    Let's face it, Mazda is nothing more than a mid level car company at best!
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    bottgersbottgers Member Posts: 2,030
    And the facts you have to back up your statement would be? What?
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    dinu01dinu01 Member Posts: 2,586
    People are like sheep - they follow.

    Hence the herd goes to Honda and Toyota for reliable, but very average vehicles in terms of driving fun.

    Have you ever driven a Protege (ES, P5, MP3) and a Corolla S or Civic LX back to back?

    I know you haven't b/c if you did, you wouldn't have posted that message.

    Well, enjoy the herd :)

    Dinu
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    newcar31newcar31 Member Posts: 3,711
    fritz--I have the 2.0L.

    mott--go hide under a bridge.
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    zueslewiszueslewis Member Posts: 2,353
    That's not a real claim.
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    fritz1224fritz1224 Member Posts: 398
    even more impressive. The 1.8 should at least equal them. I'm going to keep track of my mpg over a month or so just to get a better feel for my true mileage.
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    chicagoprochicagopro Member Posts: 1,009
    lol
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    boggseboggse Member Posts: 1,048
    I think all of these cars are very close in reliability. I certainly haven't had any problems with my Protege. There are more important issues in my mind.

    Having driven the Automatic versions of the 2003 Corolla, Civic, and Protege5 (and 2001 Protege sedan) this week while shopping for a new car for my wife, I can say that the Honda and the Mazda seem tighter and more solidly built. The Corolla was quietest on the highway, but it is a buzzy affair getting there. The Civic had the best engine/transmission combo and highway ride. The Protege had the best seating position by far(don't even get me started on the Corolla), best handling, and scored poorly only in fuel economy. Well, I will take the hit in fuel economy to actually have a car that is comfortable to drive, especially over long distances. When talking about Japanese (the Protege being the only one actually built in Japan any more) economy sedans, these are the issues that are important. Reliability was perfected by these companies long ago.
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    mott_da_hooplemott_da_hoople Member Posts: 15
    Come on people, the horn trumpeting regarding the Protege is hilarious. I see a lot of Corollas and Civics on the road each day and I am lucky to see one Protege every two weeks or so.

    If the Protege was as great as everyone says it is, how come customers are not flocking to Mazda dealerships in the hundreds? A month or so ago, I so zero percent financing by Mazda for 5 years,
    how come I haven't seen Protege's all over the road?

    Mazda was trying to give them away and no one went for the carrot. The next thing you people will start telling me is that the Yugo was the forerunner to the Protege and it was just as good a car!
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    newcar31newcar31 Member Posts: 3,711
    Sales volume = Best car?

    What makes the Civic and Corolla so much better? Do they handle better than the Protege? Are they more fun to drive? Do they look better? Are they a better value? Are they built in Japan? Do they come with 4 wheel disc brakes? No, no, no, no, no, and no. Thanks! Come again!
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    mikegold_1966mikegold_1966 Member Posts: 138
    Thought everyone would be interested in this statistic:


    http://www.nicb.org/services/top_stolen_100vehicles.html

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    newcar31newcar31 Member Posts: 3,711
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    zueslewiszueslewis Member Posts: 2,353
    you're way off with no basis for your opinion.

    Just because you may not like Mazda doesn't make you right. And you don't have any idea how many Mazdas were sold - you're quoting statistics from what you see on the road - not very scientific for a basis for an argument.

    And, no, I don't own a Mazda.
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    boggseboggse Member Posts: 1,048
    I would like to say it reflects the IQ of today's car buyer, but I cannot since I think the Civic is a good choice for many people. I think Mazda suffered a corporate identity crisis when it tried to compete head to head in the realm of generic automobiles with the likes of Toyota and Honda. Luckily, they seem to have overcome this with a slew of unique, fun to drive vehicles like the Protege5, RX-8, and Mazda 6.
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    dinu01dinu01 Member Posts: 2,586
    Protege is

    #1 sold car in Quebec
    #3 sold car in Canada

    Dinu
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    boggseboggse Member Posts: 1,048
    Protege must be good in snow and resist rusting.
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    dinu01dinu01 Member Posts: 2,586
    ok in snow -like any other car

    As for rust, old PROs are in better shape than old Civics. I used to have a Civic - it had rust holes in it by 2000 (it was a 93 model).

    Canadians prefer smaller cars than Americans -there really is no need for an Accord, when a Civic will do the same job but for less. That's just my opinion, but then again, I like small European cars and detest large sedans, minivans and trucks (aka: SUVs).

    Dinu
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    tbonertboner Member Posts: 402
    People don't go for the Protege because

    a) Honda/Toyota have more name recognition.
    b) Mazda's typically ride more harshly in the opinion of the typical appliance driver

    A driving enthusiast will probably like the Protege better than the other two. A toaster driver will probably like the Honda or Toyota more.

    However, I wonder if mott_da_hoople uses the same logic to choose the best burger.

    Just because McDonalds sells the most hamburgers, doesn't mean they make the best hamburgers.

    FWIW,

    TB
    Expert in bad logic.
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    zueslewiszueslewis Member Posts: 2,353
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    dinu01dinu01 Member Posts: 2,586
    Good, even great logic if I may say!

    Dinu
This discussion has been closed.