Mazda Protege Real World MPG

Karen_SKaren_S Member Posts: 5,092
This topic is for Protege owners to share and compare their actual MPG.

"Real World" Fuel Economy vs. EPA Estimates


  • mdaffronmdaffron Member Posts: 4,421
    And after the Protege has left the market? Wha ...?

    Well, OK ... I don't own my 2000 Protege ES 5-speed anymore, but I did own it for five years and 91,100 miles. So ... here's what I got regularly:

    Mostly city driving: 27-28 mpg
    Mix city/highway (90% of my driving)" 30-31 mpg
    Long trips on the highway: 33-34 mpg

  • flipmackflipmack Member Posts: 12
    with a daily commute of 80 miles RT on the 405 freeway during rush hour, my mileage has averaged around 27 MPG, and generally, has hovered around 27 MPG with mixed driving.

    I filled up with Chevron 87 octane until 50K miles, but since 50K, I've filled up with Mobil 87 octane to see if there's any difference in fuel mixture.

    in all honesty, since the switch, I've been getting better gas mileage...around 28.5 MPG to be exact.

    I believe that your location has to be stated, since different fuel mixtures are provided for different geographic locations, i.e., the fuel in Socal is more oxygenated than say, the fuel in Arizona. We should also consider emissions regulations...

    so, as a caveat to all posters/readers, keep in mind that YMMV (your mileage may vary).

  • lifeisrich1lifeisrich1 Member Posts: 9
    Just purchased this well-maintained Maz (112,000 miles) and kept records for first few thousand miles on gas and oil. Here's what it is so far: Averaging around 27, have gone to 26 with mostly city driving and over 29 with mostly freeway commuting. The dohc is peppy and I think that if I played "sports car" and did a lot of accelerating the mileage would decrease but I guess that would be true of any car. Oil consumption has been nil, maybe half a quart for 1,500 miles.
  • mazdafunmazdafun Member Posts: 2,329
    Mostly local driving, which doesn't have many stops.

    On the freeway, it gets about 34mpg at a near-constant 72mph. I can get 38mpg if I stay around 65mph.

    When I drive in a more sprightly fashion, it gets 24mpg. Ouch.
  • tadstertadster Member Posts: 2
    I drive my 2002 Mazda Protege 5 (with standard 2.0 liter DOHC and 5 speed manual transmission) about 37 miles per day during my commute in Northern Delaware. The drive is about 65% highway/35% city driving. My driving habits are variable, depending upon my mood, or who is in the car with me--but I mostly drive for a mix of fuel economy and fun. If I'm driving for fuel economy, I shift around 2.5k to 3k rpm. If I'm driving sportily, I'll shift at about 4.5k rpm (at the torque limit). I almost never drive the engine beyond 5k except in rare acceleration stunts. I try to stick to using BP (Amoco) 87 octane, but I occasionally have to fill up at a convenience store. Anyway, I recently calculated my mileage over a 3000 mile time period, and was dissapointed to find that I am averaging only 27.7 miles per gallon.

    Yes, I keep the tires properly inflated, filters clean, and all the other stuff one should be doing to maintain high fuel economy. I think, though, in the end, a 2.0 liter engine is a moderately large 4 cylinder, and you're gonna have to keep the rpms as low as possible to break the 30 mpg barrier. One thing that continuously annoys me about the transmission is that highway speeds are maintained only with high rpms. 60mph equals nearly exactly 3k rpm in my car. That's just too high--and too loud! I wish the overdrive gear was reconfigured for a lower engine speed at that rate. Anyway, I usually drive about 70mph on the highway, so the rpms are even higher.

    I bought the manual tranny to save money on gas--I never thought that it'd have the opposite effect. You see, it's so much fun to drive the pro5 that I find myself driving hard when I shouldn't be.

    My brother's 02 civic EX gets 40 mpg--but I think the driving pleasure attained behind the wheel of my Pro5 is the edge that keeps me addicted to this car--regardless of the poor fuel economy.
  • autonomousautonomous Member Posts: 1,769
    ... I recently calculated my mileage over a 3000 mile time period, and was dissapointed to find that I am averaging only 27.7 miles per gallon.

    What mpg were you expecting? Several years back, Consumer Reports estimated the average for an automatic at 25mpg so I would imagine a 10% improvement for the manual would be about right. Considering the spirited driving you're doing 28 mpg is pretty good.

    Regarding the comparison to the Honda Civic, doesn't it have a smaller motor and deliver lower hp? Wouldn't that partially explain better fuel economy?
  • mazdafunmazdafun Member Posts: 2,329
    My wife just breaks 28mpg with her AT-equipped '03 P5.

    Other than driving at high speeds on the freeway, she usually tries to keep the engine speed low.

    On my '99 LX (1.6L engine, AT), I average 31.5mpg. It gets lower with cold temps, so I'm getting about 26-27mpg now. If I drive a in a more spirited fashion, I can get my economy down to 24-25mpg when I normally get 31-32mpg.
  • boyceboyce Bossier City, La.Member Posts: 48
    2003 Protege DX. My mileage around town short trips has been from 21 to 24 mpg. Only made two interstate trips of real distance (2000 miles round trip). Got from 25 to 27 on each tank full. I have the automatic for which I was thankful during a hour long traffic jam in Atlanta.

    2015 Mazda 3 Skyactive 6spd. auto 2008 Mazda Tribute S 4spd auto.

  • shriqueshrique Member Posts: 338
    I've just done two tanks on my 2002 with 35k miles. I drive mostly city, no stop and go just stoplight commuting (4.2 miles) and I've been averaging 27mpg and change. Thats about 2.5 weeks or so with 90% low speed (45mph or lower) and the other 10% is highspeed (65mph plus) highway running. That's running Mobile1 (which I highly recomend, makes the engine quieter) no AC to speak of.

    One thing I have noticed is that if you keep you heater set to any of the defrost settings or the heater setting it runs the AC at a low level. if you set it to vent or vent/heater it doesn't. I think it's for reducing moisture. Either way I find it annoying. You can tell by listening to the engine fan. If your sitting at a stop lighjt with the windows open and your engine fan comes on with it in defrost, the moment you switch to vent the fan quits. Odd that, seemed to help my MPG a little bit.
  • degraafdegraaf Member Posts: 1
    My 95 protege S 1.8L sohc auto with only 90,000 Km(55,000Miles) gets about 25 mpg Highway. This car had been meticulessly maintained by the previous owner, my father-in-law (ex navy) who is real picky about the condition of his cars. About 2 months ago the timing belt and all the hoses and external belts where replaced. The car starts, runs, idles and drives like new. Any suggestions why the bad mileage? None of the idiot lights have gone off, ever!
    Thanks for your assistance, Howie.
  • bottgersbottgers Member Posts: 2,030
    Something about your RPM claim at highway speeds just doesn't sound right. My '99 Corolla 5 speed doesn't turn 3K RPM until I hit 80 MPH, and its engine is only a 1.8 liter. At the most the Protege manual should be turning more like 2,000 to about 2,300 RPMs at 60 MPH.
  • mazdafunmazdafun Member Posts: 2,329
    Which does wonders for low-speed acceleration and feel, but it means that the engine revs higher at highway speeds.

    I think my '99LX with AT (1.6L engine) hits around 2700-2800rpm when I drive at 65mph.
  • bottgersbottgers Member Posts: 2,030
    My Corolla turns 3K RPM at 75 MPH, not 80 as I posted earlier.
  • jabba1900jabba1900 Member Posts: 20
    Interesting topic. Being from Norway and living in Canada (Toronto), the mpg measure means absolutely nothing to me (apart from getting the impression that anything above 30 isn't too bad!). :D

    My '02 P5 A/T has 106,500 kms on the odometer, and I measure my fuel consumption religiously - almost as religiously as I check my tire pressure!

    Normal consumption for me on a mix of hwy and city driving (about 60-70% city) with no use of AC would be around 8.5-9 litres per 100 km. This quickly jumps to around 11 litres mid-winter. Pure hwy driving has gotten me as low as 7 litres per 100 km. This summer I drove my dad's old beaten up '85 Corolla, and I had no problem getting 5 litres per 100 kms... Even though engine sizes are up, and cars are heavier, you'd think that car manufacturers could have put a little more effort into improving fuel consumption numbers. Here's to hoping the new clean diesels catch on real quick! A P5 with a 130 hp turbo-diesel - Yum! ;)
  • autohound1autohound1 Member Posts: 45
    I have a 2003 P5, manual transmission. Bought it new and has 30k miles now. My driving averages 50/50 city/hwy. On the hwy I average 70-80mph normally. Use regular oil and do regular 3k interval oil changes. Run A/C most of the year, being in Atlanta. I've checked my MPG on every tankful of gas since new. The surprising thing is that approx 95% of the time, my MPG has been 30MPG. I've only had a couple of occasions where it was 29 or 31. I guess I'm very consistent in my driving. I don't baby it, but I don't drive fast all the time either.

    I have to say I've really enjoyed this car. Very fun to drive and I have not had one single problem with it (knock wood). Still on the original Dunlop tires. Tread looks ok still, but they've lost quite a bit of wet-weather traction, so will replace soon. One of the things I really like about the car is that the first time others ride in it, they think it will be very uncomfortable because it looks so small, but they are very surprised by the amount of room once they get in. And I LOVE to take them around curves at speeds they would never consider in their cars. They are always amazed (and maybe a little scared). :P Awesome car.
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAMember Posts: 9,372
    It's Tuesday so it's time for our weekly Mazda gathering! Avoid the holiday crush at the mall and have a relaxing chat! :P

    The Mazda Club Chat is on tonight. The chat room opens at 8:45PM ET Hope to see YOU there! Check out the schedule
  • rustnotrustnot Member Posts: 1
    try changing oxygen sensor,we had a 93 that got only 20 mpg,Canadian gallon,engine light did not come on,it drove normal,after changing sensor we got40 mpg
  • autonomousautonomous Member Posts: 1,769
    20 mpg,Canadian gallon
    p.s. government ratings for miles per gallon in Canada are calculated differently than those in the States because of the use in Canada of Imperial gallons. US EPA figures are lower than those in Canada.
  • ashpatilashpatil Member Posts: 2
    I Not sure if this is the right forum to post this message. but I will post it anyways, I have a Mazda Protege '95 model and having problems, the timing belt is not good and now there is a bad queaking sound coming from the engine and the automatic transmission is not responding no matter what gear I put it in, right now the car is stalled.
    Does any one has an idea if there is any link between the timing belt and the working of the automatic transmission.
    Any reply is greatly appreciated.
  • pcalvinpcalvin Member Posts: 44
    I have a 2001 ES 2.0L with ~45K miles. I have lived a maximum of 15 miles from work for the life of the car and lived less than 4 miles away for 3 not too many work miles.
    I would estimate 50/50 city/Highway with the city being fast speeds 40-60+mph but with traffic lights for commute.

    I average 20mpg with normal driving and 28-30mpg on the highway at ~80mph average—I’m in San Diego—so that’s just average speed around here.

    I drive it very hard however and am already on my second set of replacement tires and just had all 4 brake pads and rotors replaced.
    I put on Yokohama AVS-ES 100’s and love them…except for the ~12K lifespan.

    The 20mpg has been consistent since my first fill up and does not change noticeably with different gas brands or octane. I have kept mileage info on every fill up since purchasing the vehicle new.
  • garv214garv214 Member Posts: 162
    I have a 2002 Protege5 with 77K miles. I drive my car nice and easy (55-60mph in the right lane) for my 35 mile round trip commute and I average 30 mpg. I was averaging around 26 at 65-70mph, but decided to slow down when gas hit $3/gallon.

    Happiest day of my life is when the OEM Dunlops wore out at 37K miles - they had awful wet weather traction. Replaced with Firestone Fusion Z-rated tires. I uprated the rubber to 205/50/16 which was way cheaper than trying to find 195/50/16 tires. The wider tire and stickier rubber reduced my mileage by 10%, but I got all of that back by slowing down.
  • ardaproesardaproes Member Posts: 12
    My Protege ES 5spd with 180467 miles on it is getting me around 22-27 mpg depending on my habits.
  • autonomousautonomous Member Posts: 1,769
    My Protege ES 5spd with 180467 miles on it

    What year?
  • ardaproesardaproes Member Posts: 12
    it is 2000
  • autonomousautonomous Member Posts: 1,769
  • wrobisonwrobison Member Posts: 1
    I have recently bought a 1992 Protege DX with the 1.8L SOHC and 5 speed manual. While the body is suffering from salt corrosion (Minnesota winters are bad), the engine at 112000 miles still gets me 32mpg combined (70% City/30% Hwy). I do cheat a little and coast downhill and maintain as much momentum as possible. I haven't had the opportunity to do much long highway driving with it, but 70mph is about 2750RPM on the pizza cutter sized 175-70R13 tires.
  • 11b33t11b33t Member Posts: 51
    Kewl beans & congrats on your older Pro. My 92 EX is still hauling butt w/an average MPG of 28 city/34 hwy. She's got 140k on her and I still drive it like it's stolen on 195/60R14 tires. Keep good OCI's, good common sense maitenance on her & they'll run darn near forever..
  • ardaproesardaproes Member Posts: 12
    For my last two tanks i tried too keep away from the high RPM's and i got almost 28mpg on the 80% city 20% hwy combination usually it is around 23 because i drive mine like a rental car. Anyways at 190200 miles it is still pulling hard
  • hackdhackd Member Posts: 65
    Just noticed this post...I have the same car (50K miles) and same commute. I don't have such a lead foot and am able to consistantly get 25 local and 30+ highway in long Island NY.
  • ardaproesardaproes Member Posts: 12
    Mine is a 2000 ES with 5 spd if i drive gently i am sure i can pull it up to -30+ mpg
  • jjbrocjjbroc Member Posts: 1

    How is everyone? I have been enjoying my 2003 Protege5 since I bought it Sept '07. It only has about 18000 original miles on it. Automatic. My question is gas mileage. I thought I would be getting over 30 mpgs with this. Not the case, I am averaging about 25 mpgs.
    I drive 90% highway and drive a consistent 75-80mph. 27 miles to work then 27back. Just wondering what you guys are getting for mpgs.
    Also wondering about my rpm ranges. Car seems to really rev from sixty up. My rpms are just over 3000 for 70 mph and about 3400-3500 for 80 mph. I use cruise control and was on flat highway when I documented this.
    Just a touch of the peddle or a slight incline automatically adds 2-300 more rpms.
    I really am not use to an automatic tranny, this is my first one in years. Last being a '69 Camaro, my first foreign. So I have no experience with their performance.
    Is this consistent with the other automatics out there????

    Thanks for any input,
  • iamziamz Member Posts: 542
    Everything you're experiencing is normal. When the EPA lists higway mileage, that is at 60 mph. Anything faster than that and your mpg will drop. Optimum fuel mileage will occur around 50 to 55 mph.
  • autonomousautonomous Member Posts: 1,769
    Everything you're experiencing is normal.

    Agreed. In Consumer Reports testing they found the overall mileage to be 25 mpg; exactly what you are receiving.
  • mazdafunmazdafun Member Posts: 2,329
    With the 1.6L engine and an AT, I am able to consistently hit mid to high 40 mpg (personal record is 48mpg) when traveling between 45-50mph consistently.

    Mostly local driving with some stop-and-go and idling, and a light foot, I average 27mpg. If I let my lead foot get the better of me, this will drop to 24mpg.

    On the highway, traveling mostly 65mph (on long trips), I get around 34mpg. Upping the average speed to 70mph, I get only 32mpg. At an average speed of around 75mph, my fuel efficiency drops to 29mpg. I avoid going faster than that to avoid 1) getting busted for speeding and 2) I can't tolerate worse fuel economy. :surprise:
  • blackadder5639blackadder5639 Member Posts: 31
    Yeah, your experience is normal.

    I own a 2002 Protege5; 5-speed manual. When I bought it almost 2 years ago, I was getting about 27-28 mpg hwy and 23 mpg city. On the highway I drive 75-80mph just like you. I had a normal paper air was new.

    I have since replaced the air filter with a K&N drop-in air filter. No difference in performance, but I now get between 25 and 27 mpg city and about 32 mpg hwy! Huge difference! Get a K&N filter immediately.

    As for the rpm, the automatic is geared taller than the manual. With the manual, in 5th gear, 60 mph is just under 3000 rpm, 70 mph about 3400 rpm and 80 mph at about 3800 rpm. Fortunately, the engine is not loud so it's okay on smooth roads....on rougher roads the wand/road noise is quite loud.
  • mazdanutmazdanut Member Posts: 2
    I'd be glad to get that kind of mileage. I have a 2002 5 auto and I got 21 mpg on my last tank with a 50/50 mix. :cry: My mechanic is scratching his head. I'm about to giv it up and trade it in on a newer Mazda 3. :)
  • zoom_oh_2002p5zoom_oh_2002p5 Member Posts: 17
    P5 2002 with 60,000 miles.
    Last gas was Sunoco 86 and I got 23 mpg. Worst yet.
    On highway 1200 mile trip to Vermont from Ohio, I've gotten 35 mpg. I consistently get 32 mpg highway and 25-26 mpg city. The latest is something new. I'm changing the plugs, but it may be the Sunoco 86. Most times I use 87 octane (always whatever is the lower rated fuel available at the station).
    I think it is well worth experimenting with fuel brands.
    I've experimented with other vehicles and never could make the dollars and cents work out running high test and getting 1 to 3 mpg improvement on a trip.
    When I had a Honda 50 mini motorcycle in college, I tested Shell, Amoco (white hightest), Mobil, and could get 2 miles per hour top end improvement with the good fuels (top end speed was 45-50 mph).
    I think the same opportunity lies with brand research if you commute.
    Gas up Monday with Brand A. Fill up on Monday with Brand B. Keep a book for 6 gas brands for six weeks, and then be loyal.
    Calculate your cost, dollars per mile if your gas prices vary, and you get a real measure of which gas gives you the most miles for a buck.

  • autonomousautonomous Member Posts: 1,769
    Gas up Monday with Brand A. Fill up on Monday with Brand B. Keep a book for 6 gas brands for six weeks, and then be loyal. Calculate your cost, dollars per mile if your gas prices vary, and you get a real measure of which gas gives you the most miles for a buck.

    Hmmm, this seems like an elaborate test that may or may not prove much. I would expect that most national brands do not vary much in price or quality.
  • bocaratp5bocaratp5 Member Posts: 2
    I have a 2002 P5 auto-tranny W/82000mi , I drive 42.7 mi each way to work , here in So. Fl. If you aren't driving minimum 70mph you get run-over.(these are the most aggressive drivers in the US.) I run my car @3100 RPM (I don't look at the speedo unless there is a cop around) and am getting 28 to 31 depending on the temperature and traffic conditions,and , run my A/C when the sun is up.Tires have a lot to do with your mileage too(195x50-16 Federal 545's came on mine) The oil is changed every 3 to 5K with straight 40w and I upped my mileage from 25mpg avg by adding a K&N drop in .
    You may consider buying a K&N ...*30 bucks......U notice immediately better performance and fuel consumption.
  • iamziamz Member Posts: 542
    Just keep in mind that the K&N will allow much more and much larger particulate matter into your engine which will increase wear on every friction surface. Good luck.
  • bocaratp5bocaratp5 Member Posts: 2
    Remember the oil filter ? Most of the particulate matter is either blown out the tail pipe or knocked down by the oil bath . I really think the oil filters , most have a nominal 10 micron element(just larger than a red blood cell), made today are sufficent for most of the dust . no engine runs in a pristene environment as we all know. The valvetrain and bearing surfaces are under a constant bath and the finer paticles are dropped to the bottom of the pan ,mmmmm....I guess a mechanic can clean that at select intervals.... i.e sludge. But thanx for the concern...enjoy your poor mpg !
  • iamziamz Member Posts: 542
    "Remember the oil filter?"

    Sure I remember the oil filter. But it takes awhile for those contaminants to get there giving those particulates plenty of time to do there damage. Don't forget that all that crud will also do a number on your oxygen sensors.

    BTW, I got 35 to 37 mpg out of my automatic 2002 P5 (128,000 miles on her now)on my last trip. :P ;)
  • zoom_oh_2002p5zoom_oh_2002p5 Member Posts: 17
    I was consistently getting 23 to 25 mpg.
    I changed the spark plugs at 60,000 miles using factory original plug selection.
    My gas mileage last gas up (in town) was 28 mpg.

    I have also just recently put all season Kumho's on my steed, which doesn't help gas mileage at all.

    I will report mpg at next gas up.
  • 11b33t11b33t Member Posts: 51
    On my 1992 LX I average about 27 city and 34 hwy but I do have a lead foot which shows in my 2003 Mazdaspeed which can average 25 city and 32 highway but I do love the turbo boost..

    BTW the Mazdaspeed drinks premium only gas.. ;)
  • ardaproesardaproes Member Posts: 12
    My 2000 ES gets about 24 mix and about 22 city
    I rarely do any highway drives but i think i get somewhere around 28 hwy
    It is a 5 speed and with my driving habits and with mileage that it has i am fine with her drinking habits. :)
  • civiletticiviletti Member Posts: 86
    With 78k on the odometer, I still get about 24/34 mpg.
  • oldman15oldman15 Member Posts: 43
    5-spd 03 P5, 140K miles, new plugs & air filter, new OEM Dunlops(44psi):
    Numbers have been fairly consistant since new -
    Straight freeway, fillups before & after, Non-Ethanol gas, 37 MPG(one-time-best).
    Everyday mostly freeway, Non-Ethanol gas, w/ or w/out AC, I usually get 33MPG.
    Ethanol gas generally has dropped MPG approx 4 MPG.
    Winter drops it another 3 MPG.
  • moparbadmoparbad Member Posts: 3,870
    2003 Protege LX 2.0 automatic
    Urban driving about 20 miles each way to work. Average 42 mpg on same route when driving my 2009 Jetta TDI DSG.

    Still love the Protege for what it is. Very fun to drive. Tossable. Even if it is noisy.
  • autonomousautonomous Member Posts: 1,769
    Average 42 mpg on same route when driving my 2009 Jetta TDI DSG. Still love the Protege for what it is. Very fun to drive. Tossable. Even if it is noisy.

    Interesting. You drive a diesel Jetta but call the Protege noisy. I guess diesels have improved. ;)
  • tsowardstsowards Member Posts: 1
    Just bought a 2003 Protege5 with auto transmission a few weeks ago. A real treat to drive. I have filled the tank 3 times since buying and am loving the results, especially compared to my SUV. I have gotten almost 400 miles per tank, in my SUV I get 230 or so with a larger tank. I have had one trip with all highway miles and achieved 30 MPG. The other 2 fill ups have been in the 27-28 MPG range. I live in a very hilly area. The trade off between gas mileage and being a blast to drive is one I can live with.
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