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Mazda Protege Real World MPG



  • Hi,

    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 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 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 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:
  • 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 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. :)
  • 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 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.
  • 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 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.
  • 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 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 ;)
  • 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 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 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 Posts: 86
    With 78k on the odometer, I still get about 24/34 mpg.
  • oldman15oldman15 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 Posts: 3,868
    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 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. ;)
  • 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.
  • With a little more break in you might his the 32-33 mpg range I have experienced in long trips from Ohio to New England!
    Good luck. The "Zoom Zoom" feeling never goes away!
    I still love every minute in the car (70,000 miles)
    Bruce Kennedy
    Canton Ohio
  • moparbadmoparbad Posts: 3,868
    Interesting. You drive a diesel Jetta but call the Protege noisy. I guess diesels have improved. ;)

    Your comment is so very 1979.;)

    Protege has a well deserved reputation for road noise and wind noise.
    It's handling, ergonomics, material quality and other attributes far outweigh the minor faults.

    Average 26 mpg and 27 mpg on last two tanks of fuel.

    Jetta averaged 41 mpg on same route for what it's worth.
  • On a 13 hour trip to Vermont from Ohio, I got 34 mpg one way.
    One way was climbing, the other, going down. The down run gave me the
    unbelievable mileage.
    I get a boost when I use Chevron fuel injector cleaner, or super high test gas.
    The cost per mile does not improve using the super high test, but it is a challenge to post the highest mpg.
    I always get a boost in miles per gallon when I put in new plugs, which has a good payback.
    I enjoy driving the Protege5 so much that I can't wait to drive to work and home.
    When I had an Austin Healy 3000 in 1968, I was hooked on that car so much I drove an hour and a half after dinner every night. Part of that mystique was that prior to that time, I was on assignment to drive a mobile 50 foot tractor trailer classroom and went from San Francisco to San Diego across the southern U.S. to Cape Canaveral, than then north to Pittsburgh and Chicago. 25,000 miles in 14 months.
    I got hooked on road joy.

    Driving is an end in itself, and it is great to be able to use a utilitarian necessity for pleasure. Clutchless shifting is a joy with the ZF transmission (I bought the MP5 by special order the first week Mazda produced with ZF clutchless shifting transmission, side impact bags, and sun roof. Aside from the rear wheel well and door bottom rust emerging, the car is sound, and I am staying on top of the rust with polishing compound and wax. I have 72,000 miles on the car, and will probably invest heavily in eliminating the rust cancer and rust proofing so I can drive the car into the ground.
    I've had Toyota Cressida, Dodge Maxivan, Olds Bravada, Volvo Wagon that I took to 225,000 miles before SELLING, with the Bravada sold to a friend and still running at 140,000 miles.
    A useful and family fun vehicle becomes an old friend, and it is tough to let them go.
    My wife has had four Miatas. We currently have a lightly driven 3rd car '99 Miata with 36,000 miles on it. It is a psychological "being cool" boost for my dear Polly (64). Her license plate is ZZ MIATA, mine ZOOM OH (OHIO). Yes we are committed to the Zoom Zoom experience. We have had some lighting replacement annoyance with the Protege, but otherwise we replace brake pads, rotors, and filters with oil changes and that is about it.
    You will buy a Mazda if you test drive one. Try a RX-8 which is a really impressive piece of engineering and design, and a machine you "want to be seen in" and you then drive a Miata, and the Miata wins hands down. Emotion overrides every time.
    If you love to drive, you pick the car that is most fun to drive. Mazda has the formula down. Drive a Volvo or Focus equivalent which is the same set of hardware, but different performance objectives, and the Mazda will always win.
    The Mazda product people are passionate in their development and they listen to their fans.
    Zoom Zoom Zoom.

    Bruce of Canton Ohio
  • I concur. I was new product develop manager for Fram for 5 years, and the K and N delivers performance at a cost in engine wear.
    For performance/fun people who will turn a car over to get the latest technology and ZOOM, the K and N makes sense. They know what they are doing, to deliver performance and fun.
    Bruce of Canton
  • When did you replace your timing chain?
    Older Protege's needed to be changed at 65,000 miles.
    I hear 105,000 is ok for 2002 forward.
    Bruce of Canton
  • Do you really like the lines of the M3 better than the MP5?
    I just love the MP5 design.
    I can tolerate the M3 lines because of the continuous performance improvement.
    I'm getting near retirement and looking at the M6 wagon which has the MP5 design profile and a softer suspension, more room in the front and back (although the rear seats in the MP5 have more room than the larger M6 wagon).
    Can you figure why Mazda is holding back on availability for the 2010 M6 wagon?

    Bruce of Canton
  • I've been running into a similar problem with my 2003 MP5 automatic. I've been averaging around 20-21 mpgs, as low as 18 and occasionally on a drive out to Las Vegas as high as 25. Needless to say, this seems like a far cry from the upper 20s I was hoping to be getting when I bought the car. Any advice or suggestions for things to get checked out?
  • autonomousautonomous Posts: 1,769
    According to Consumer Reports, 25 mpg is the overall average for a Mazda Protege automatic.

    As to improving fuel efficiency, the usual nostrums apply including driving smoothly, avoiding lots of short trips and proper vehicle maintenance.

    In the case of the Protege, you might want to check that the fuel emissions system (including the EGR valve) is in good working order.
  • fowler3fowler3 Posts: 1,919
    edited April 2012
    Been a while since I posted here. I'm still driving my 2001 Pro LX and it is beginning to do poorly
    on mpg, but it has only 48K on it. Gets an inspection the end of the month. One surprise, the Check Engine light came on last week. That was the old bug the Proteges had in 2001. I didn't tighten the gas cap on the previous fill, when that was done, the Check Engine lamp turned off.

    My reason for not trading: you can't beat the Mazda Pro for being practical, frugal, roomy, and reliable. And its lines are Classic, similar to M-Bs. For a smoother
    ride buy Khumo Summer Cruising tires or any brand with soft rubber sidewalls.
    Have yet to see anything worth trading for, that offers considerably more in all areas. Although, the Kias look promising.

    fowler3 :D
  • 105f2dc105f2dc Posts: 5
    edited July 2013
    After 118K miles with my ES 2.0 (2001) and zero problems (ok the seat belt warning does not work) I have come to realize that using a gentler approach can mean up to 6 miles more per gal. I have been experimenting with slow gentle take offs from start, coasting to red lights or down steep hills, no A/C or at least intermittent use when really needed to cool things off a bit, I have improved mpg from 27 to 33. On the highway to work I drive 2 miles above the 60 mph speed limit on cruise. I use premium gas (always have). I have agressively maintained it, changed all belts when doing timing belt together with water pump. Right now I am having both coil packs and wires changed along with new Iridium plugs. Mobil 1 every 5K. This car runs so smoothly and looks good inside and out (I did have it painted, but the eco-interior has held up very well). Anything can happen as the miles go by but so far this is a winner in my book.
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