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Mazda Protegé



  • jstandeferjstandefer Posts: 805
    To tell you the truth, I'm sick and tired of taking this car back and forth to the dealership only to get the standard "unable to duplicate problem" or "no stored computer codes" or "no problem detected." Maybe I should have bought that Escort ZX2 instead like I originally had planned. I've never had any problem with the two Ford's I have owned. Come to think of it, they have some pretty large rebates right now that will eat my negative equity in my hunk of junk. I think I'll stop by the Ford dealership on my way home from work.

    The only Zoom Zoom I do is to the service department. I have been such a strong supporter of the Protege and Mazda here in Town Hall, so I haven't even mentioned half of what I have been through. Let's face the facts. Mazda can't turn a profit and hasn't for years. Mazda is at the bottom of the Japanese manufacturers when it comes to resale, reliability, and quality. Most current Hyundai's have higher quality ratings and higher satisfaction ratings than Mazda. The only saving grace for Mazda is the Miata. Everything else they build should be destroyed and recycled.
  • mdaffronmdaffron Posts: 4,421
    Jerry, hold your face out to me. Closer. There. Now ...


    Man, you're worse than Paul. (Sorry to use you as the yardstick, Paul!)

    I just spent a good few minutes scrolling back through the last several hundred posts -- almost a thousand, in fact. Jerry, you have a love-hate relationship with your Protege that outdoes Paul's. (Paul, you may step out of the dunking booth now. I have a new target.) :)

    But I want to make a point here. In the last 800 or so posts in this topic, Jerry, all I've found you complaining about are brake wear, clutch wear, a mysterious rattle and a finicky CD player. Not too bad for an abused 2-year-old car. "Abused?" you ask. Well, clues to your first two problems may be found in your own posts relating to "fast downshifts before hard corners."
    In fact, you yourself wrote the following in a post not 8 weeks ago:

    "Overall, I like my Protege. I have experienced a lot of problems and premature wear that is probably my fault. I bought the Protege because of its sporty driving dynamics. I just figured that a car with that type of dynamics would be built to withstand that type of driving, but I was wrong. It is still, in fact, an economy car. Cars like the Miata and RX-7 are equipped with heavier-duty performance parts that can withstand spirited driving...

    "As far as my comment that I would never buy a Mazda again ... I lied. I just need to stick with sports cars if I want to drive like I'm in one. A car with a larger engine would probably be better for me as well, as you don't have to push it as hard. Let's face it... the Protege is quick, but you have to push it."

    Funny, I've never found the need to "push" my Protege. It's plenty fast for the type of car it is. And after 24,500 miles, my clutch is fine and my brake pads show normal wear.

    Jerry, we're talking about a compact ECONOMY CAR here. (You admitted it yourself.) Sure, it has a spirited engine ... for an ECONOMY CAR. Mazda's tagline for the Protege is "zoom zoom," sure ... but it's the same tagline for their whole line, including the B2300 pickup. I had one of those (built by your almighty Ford, by the way, and it was a lemon), and believe me, its 2.3-liter 8-valve 97-hp SOHC engine (in a 3,100-lb. truck) did anything but "zoom zoom."

    By your own admission, you're a hard driver whose driving habits are punishing to your car. You admit that you force your car into hard corners, double-clutch a transmission that wasn't designed for it, and treat your car like a sports car. If you drive your $15,000 Protege like it's a $35,000 RX-7, you're asking for premature clutch wear, brake wear and engine rattles. I can't speak for your CD player because I don't know how you treat that, but you did say about six weeks ago that you've "never had my radio cut out on me no matter how loud I play it."

    No hard feelings, friend ... but geesh, don't blame the car for the torture you've dealt it! These things are NOT Porsches or BMWs ... but if you'll compare BOTTOM OF THE LINE, ENTRY-LEVEL CARS (which the Protege is for Mazda), I think you'll find the Protege outdoes most, if not all, competitors!

    You just picked the wrong car for your driving habits, Mr. Jarrett!

  • manavimanavi Posts: 150
    I think Meade has you pegged. Why don't you buy that Escort and trash it for awhile, then you can go complain on a new board.
  • newcar31newcar31 Posts: 3,711
    "Mazda is at the bottom of Japanese manufacturers as far as resale, reliability, and quality" What? Where does Mitsubishi come in? The only Mazdas that have suffered poor reliability and quality ratings are the FORD/Mazdas. Ie: 626 (built at the Ford/Mazda auto alliance plant in flat rock michigan) The B2500, B3000, and B4000 are Ford Rangers. As far as resale is concerned, of course Mazdas are not going to be as good as Honda and Toyota because THEY COST LESS TO BEGIN WITH. You think a ZX2 would have good resale value? Meade and Jerry: There is no car out there that can put up with constant abuse, NOT ONE. Not BMW, not Porsche, not a Corvette, nothing; with enough abuse, ALL of those cars will eventually break guaranteed. If you think a BMW or other performance car is immune to mechanical problems, give me 5 MINUTES with it and I'll bet you a million bucks I can fry the clutch and ruin the engine, not to mention many other parts. By the way, the Protoge is ranked very good as far as reliability and build quality is concerned, something that cannot be said for the ZX2 or Focus (how many safety related recalls has the Focus had?) I am not Ford bashing, I used to own one and it treated me well. Cars are built to withstand use that they are intended for. The Protoge has 130 hp so the brakes, clutch, etc are engineered accordingly. Double clutching? Enough said.
  • mazdafunmazdafun Posts: 2,329
    It'll fit your driving style better. Cost roughly 2X, I think, but should be an interesting combination of the old RX-7 and a compact sedan.

    Meade is right on. The Pro is a fun-to-drive economy car. Fits my wish list exceedingly well (I'd like a BMW 3-series, but I just won't spend $30,000+ on a car...probably keep me from getting an RX8 too).
  • vocusvocus Posts: 7,777
    Having fun kicking me around the Town Hall are we? :) I don't really have anything to complain about with my Protege these days though. Just had to clear up some little stuff in the beginning, but running well at almost 13,000 miles already.

    And as far as the Protege not taking punishment well, my DX did for 37K+ miles without trouble. Maybe I was just lucky or something.
  • newcar31newcar31 Posts: 3,711
    The RX8 will break too if you don't treat it nice, not to mention that it will cost more to fix it when it does break.
  • jstandeferjstandefer Posts: 805
    I had an Escort and did trash it and it held up much better than the Protege. The Protege has been babied compared to just about every other car I have owned, and it is by far the worst. Maybe I should subject it to the real torture I subjected the other cars to. Hard cornering and double-clutching (BTW, how would a transmission be specifically designed for double-clutching?) occurs maybe once or twice a day, if at all. My Escort GT and RX-7 were subjected to that constantly. Most of the time, the Protege sits in traffic on the freeway and I'm lucky to get it out of first gear.

    But, I really don't want to hear anything until your cars rack up 48,500 miles on it. My car was wonderful too (if you don't count the various warranty repairs when it had less than 1,000 miles on it) for the first 25,000 miles. But, I think I will take your advice and get rid of the car and get something else. What should I get? Well, considering that Mazda is practically on the bottom of quality reports, I guess just about anything would be better.

    What it comes down to is that I don't trust my car. I really believe that it will give me nothing but trouble in the future. It truly is the worst car I have ever owned. I've driven more Protege's than just about everyone in this room combined. And, I can pretty much gaurantee that any previous Honda or Toyota owners will be disappointed with how the Protege holds up. I guess I'll sign my farewell and wish good luck to everyone here. And remember, don't Zoom Zoom because it will cause nothing but Doom Doom...
  • newcar31newcar31 Posts: 3,711
    Show me the report where Mazda (better yet, the Protoge) is at the bottom of quality and reliability.
  • mazdafunmazdafun Posts: 2,329
    Pretty much close to Honda, Toyota and Nissan.

    They all are also near the bottom in terms of satisfaction with the dealer and service.

    There have been rare instances where a particular transmission was bad (Ford designed and/or supplied, naturally), but they're more the exception than the rule.

    Not that there's a direct correlation, but my '89 323 with 138,000 miles on it is in as good shape or better than most any Civic, Corolla or Sentra out there (most 323s too...:).

    No solace to jstandefer, but the Pro is still statistically a great car (is it ever any consolation for the few who get the bad blip?). You'll occasionally find a stinker of a Honda or Toyota too, but not as frequently as you'll find a lemon of a Ford, GM, Chrysler or VW.

    I think lemon cars show their stripes early on, but jstandefer has a point in that we should see how well our Pros hold up to 100,000. So far, I can see my 99LX lasting at least a decade and at least 100,000 miles. Bummer I'm inclined to hold onto stuff until it falls apart as I find myself often drooling over new cars. :)

    I do think that dealer service is still subpar. Too bad, brings down some great automobiles.
  • sfratsfrat Posts: 208
    I agree with most everyone here, any car will suffer from poor treatment, and Jerry judging by what you've posted about your driving style, I would say your rough on your cars. The RX7 could probably handled it well, surprised that the Escort took the abuse so well. You do have a decent amount of mileage, not a lot, but its probably been a lot of hard mileage.

    Anyway, Vocus do you think you could post some pics of your car with tints on it? Did you wind up going with dye tints, or hybrid tint? I'm curious to see how it looks.

    Have a good weekend all.
  • jstandeferjstandefer Posts: 805
    I wrote "Mazda is at the bottom of the Japanese manufacturers when it comes to resale, reliability, and quality." I should add safety ratings to that too, judging by the IIHS, with the sole shining star being the 626. Although, Mazda does seem to share the bottom rung quite often with Mitsubishi.

    I truly believe Mazda build quality and reliability have gone downhill from the late 80's when they were building superb vehicles, such as the 323, 626, RX-7, and the true Mazda trucks. As Ford management continues, Mazda will continue its downhill slide. Life I've said many times before, my '82 RX-7 was a superb vehicle despite its age. Now, look for deep cuts in product development as Ford (Mazda's wallet) has announced they are cutting 5,000 management positions with more cutting to come in order to turn a small profit in the next year. Vehicle lines such as Mercury, Lincoln, and Mazda who can't turn a profit will seriously suffer as Ford can no longer bolster them. If Ford is cutting its future vehicles and R&D, that means every company Ford owns will suffer greatly. Maybe I'll just get myself a late 80's Mazda like an MX-6. Still a good looking car and super reliable and super cheap. I'll expect to spend money to keep it up, but I wouldn't have any payments. Meanwhile, 36 more months of $351 on a car that's falling apart before my eyes is just plain evil.
  • hkchanhkchan Posts: 420
    Someone must've stolen jstandefer's id and password. Wait. He must've been kidnapped. These posts can't be from the same person, unless he has a multiple-personality disorder.
  • sunbyrnesunbyrne Posts: 210
    Geez, Jerry, I think you get the 180-degree award for this year. I'm sorry to hear that your car is giving you so much trouble.

    However, I think it's important not to over-generalize. You have a sample size there of 1. Generalizing to the entire population of Mazdas, or even Mazda Proteges, based on your one car is a mistake. As Mazdafun pointed out, the overall numbers on the reliability of the Protege compare favorably to the Civic or Corolla. Here, for 1999:

    The same ratings as the Civic, Corolla, and Sentra--all positive. If you want quality/satisfaction ratings where you can also read the reasons for the ratings, look at, and sort by average rating:

    The Protege has the best average rating other than the Volvo S60, but the S60 has only been rated by < 20 people. The Protege has a higher average rating than the Civic, Corolla, or Sentra. Note that this doesn't apply all the way through the product line--the 626 is closer to the bottom of the pack. I'd certainly concede that through the full line, Mazda finishes behind the other Japanese makes (except Mitsu). But not the Pro.

    I have no comeback on resale, though. The Pro doesn't hold its value the way a Civic does. Yes, it starts cheaper than the Civic, but the Civic holds a higher %, too. I tend to drive cars until that's not really much of an issue, though, so that one doesn't bother me much--but it is a consideration for many.

    Dealer experience is probably not Mazda's strong suit, either. The experience we had when we bought my wife's 99 LX was negative and when I went shopping for a Pro5, I didn't go back there. I was very happy with my last experience, though, so we'll see how that goes over the life of the car.

    You may very well be right about the future of Mazda, too. When the Protege, Focus, and low-end Volvo all share the same platform (in 2004), then I know I'll certainly be a lot more concerned, especially with what Ford is doing with the R&D budget. Let's just say I'm glad we got our Pros before Ford got their hands on 'em. (Not that I dislike Ford, but I don't think those kind of business arrangements generally result in the best products. Too much "design by committee.")

    Regardless, Jerry, I just hope that whatever you do, it works out better for you. Having a car you don't trust sucks, regardless of who made it.
  • hkchanhkchan Posts: 420
    Someone must've stolen jstandefer's id and password. Wait. He must've been kidnapped. These posts can't be from the same person, unless he has a multiple-personality disorder.
  • hkchanhkchan Posts: 420
    One potential problem with rating resale value by the percentage of retained value after X years is that it may be based on the original MSRP. I don't know if that's the case. You can generally get a Protege for a higher percentage below the MSRP than a Civic or Corolla.
  • fritz1224fritz1224 Posts: 398
    I think he now knows he got in over his head with those payments and he wants to blame it on the car. $351/mo for 60 mos. Jeez, I'd be sick too. So he still has 36mos left @ $351 that's over 12 big ones. Almost as much as what you can get a new one for. I don't think it's so much the car causing his pain, I think it's his wallet.
  • newcar31newcar31 Posts: 3,711
    You CAN get a new for one for around 12K. Local dealers here are advertising 01 LXs for around 12K and you can get a 00 ES for around 12K. If the loan term was for 60 months on Jerry's car, that Protoge cost him $21,000 dollars.....ACK!!
  • jstandeferjstandefer Posts: 805
    Unfortunately, I bought mine near the beginning of the 3rd generation. February of 1999 to be exact. There was no such thing as special finance rates or big rebates or discounts when they first hit the market. My Protege was one of the first three ES's the dealership received.

    The payment doesn't hurt a whole lot. But it doesn't leave a ton of room for problems that pop up. It didn't bother me until I started nearing the end of the warranty where I started to realize that problems I have had may be precursors to expensive repairs later on. In the first thousand miles or so, it already had a new valve cover gasket, windshield, windshield gasket, and headliner. A rattle already existed when I test drove the car, but I didn't think much of it.

    My Protege is probably not the best example of the breed out there. It probably suffers from early build quality issues as the rattles show quite clearly.I'm not a big fan of ditches and other road irregularities, so I avoid rough streets. The rattles just keep appearing. I really can't think of any interior panel that doesn't rattle, except for the rear door panels.

    My big beef with the car is the wear items. I may drive the car hard, but looking back at previous vehicles I have owned, I realized that these parts are wearing in less than half of the mileage of those same parts in a previous vehicle. New tires at 18k miles? New brakes at 22k miles? Come to think of it, those evil Midas brakes that replaced them have 26k miles on them now and still have about 10k-15k miles left on them!! The Nitto tires have practically doubled the life of the OEM Potenza's. Perhaps, if I replace the clutch with aftermarket parts and put good quality brakes on it, the car will last quite a while. Before the Protege, I typically averaged 50k miles for brakes and 30k miles for tires. I have only replaced one clutch, and that was the RX-7 at something like 130k miles. The Escort GT's clutch (and that car was certainly abused and beaten) still felt fine at over 100k miles when I traded it in. The Protege's, on the other hand, isn't going to last another 10k miles...

    I guess this is just a good example of cost cutting. My 82 RX-7 was quieter, smoother, and a whole lot more refined and reliable than the Protege. I guess this is typical of most new cars compared to the old ones...

    "I'll huff, and I'll puff, and I'll blow your Protege in!"
  • mhallackmhallack Posts: 32
    Hearing how many problems you've had, it really sounds like you have a lemon (though it may not qualify under the law). Based on all the quality & reliability reports I've seen for Pro's yours is definitely a statistical oddity. It happens though, to every car manufacturer. Lexus makes lemons too, they just make less of them than the average manufacturer.

    I understand your feeling though, my father had a 73 Ford Maverick, bought new and totally's engine literally gave up the ghost at 35,000 miles. Worthless hunk of junk and he never bought a Ford again. Then in 76 he bought a VW Dasher which couldn't get from one gas station to the next in between jump starts (BAD electrical system). I had a 77 Cordoba and a 87 Horizon that both required monthly maintenance larger than a car payment. More recently, one of my friends went through weekly service visits with a Ford Escort, and monthy visits with a Nissan Sentra (from right after they started making them in Tn). Also, one of my co-workers has a Town & Country that is two years old and goes in the shop EVERY month. Of course, in almost every case I could give you examples of these same cars running reliably (well, except the Cordoba).

    What was the treadwear rating on the poortenzas? I won't be surprised when my Dunlops run out early, but I knew they were low-treadwear summer tires going in.
  • edmund2460edmund2460 Posts: 293
    First I think it's important that Pro owners post when they have problems so Standefer's complaints should be welcomed. I follow the posts here and I seem to read very little complaints here compared to other rooms. Some comments about JS's post are:
    My 98 Escort is at 50,000 miles with no problems and I believe that car became a solid car AFTER sharing Mazda components. You need to look at total cost of ownership over a longer period. Unfortunately sometimes when problems crop up we assume they will never cease. I went through a period of that with my 82 Jetta Diesel. It now has 235K. I'll admit it's not much of a car in terms of comfort, but it is reliable as the sunrise. I spent 10K buying it and about 5K in maintenance costs (not counting tires and oil change costs). It probably gave me back 2K in gas savings. If it runs another 30K which I have no doubt it will, it will be worth it. I personally won't buy another Ford after having bought 4. So Standefer, go there if you must. It's a company that won't admit a car's problems till it becomes a class action suit. My 93 Sable has had a head gasket, new trans and new A/c and other problems that probaby add up to an A/c within the first 100K. But the engine still runs well and if it gets to 175K which I think it will, it will still be worth it. OK that's my 2 cents. THe other thing is that the Pro and the Aspire do share the same little midget size filter. I checked the catalog on Purolator. (I have an Aspire too). I'm miffed.
  • edmund2460edmund2460 Posts: 293
    In case you didn't know this JS, a JD Power study shows Ford assembly plants to rank dead LAST in initial quality of cars they produce of all American manufacturers - so where does that put it on a global scale. And I repeat, this is a company that brought it's problems on itself. I know from my own head gasket situation that they knew about this problem for years and did nothing, so I was not surprised about the Firestone incident. They have a bean counter running the company and I think William Clay would like to get rid of him ( his family owns a majority of the stock I believe) but the board still likes Nasser. I don't think Nasser has ever cared about customer satisfaction except when it became a crisis.
  • vocusvocus Posts: 7,777
    Just about everyone I know who has those new Focuses is wishing they never would have bought one. Ford quality has never been what it should. I can attest to the Escorts' reliability though. A company I used to work for had only Ford Escorts and Tempos, and they lasted right up to 150K being beat around with no problems, or little. Don't get it.

    And like I said, I never had half the problems with my DX as you have had with your ES. Maybe it was the early production thing. Sorry to hear your problems though. They have truly ruined a great little car for you.
  • my 1990 ford probe just went over 220,000 miles
    this past car I have ever owned...
    it's finally wearing down bit by bit...
    I hope my next car will last as long and run
    trouble free...
  • snagy1snagy1 Posts: 55
    thanks for info on bras, i agree the normal bras of yesteryear rubbed paint off, lately have seen these magnet ones by monsoon offered and they seem ok per the owners. thanks
  • fowler3fowler3 Posts: 1,919
    When Protegés are bad they are VERY bad, but when Protegés are good they are VERY good. Let's face it, you didn't buy your cars to last a lifetime. I certainly didn't. It's a temp car at best. I may drive it two years, maybe more, but it will never get to 50,000 miles while I own it. The last five cars I owned didn't and they were Hondas. I always trade them off while they still have a lot of value ($$$). Makes the next payments lower.

    The car I REALLY want would be small or medium size; has beautiful styling; a great interior and dash; gets reasonable fuel economy; and rides like a Lexus LS 430. No company makes that car, yet.

    Frankly, I think sports suspension sucks. When all cars, regardless of size, can be made to ride smoothly and still have good handling.

    And last, but not least, my relatives drive Ford products: 2002 Ford Explorer, 2001 Lincoln Navigator, Ford F-150 pickup, Ford van, plus a BMW 740i and a Porsche 944. When deciding on a small car to buy, and wondering what they would think if I got a piece of crap temporarily, the Protegé was the only small car I had no problems driving up in.

    Their remarks: "We love your car." and "That's a nice looking car and all you really need." (The Corolla was definately out and so was an older Civic.) The Corolla, in particular, looks like the buyer does't give a damn what they drive as long as it gets them to their job at MacDonald's ontime. ;)

  • pjd58pjd58 Posts: 366
    a Mill. Red 01LX 2.0 Protege. Is this a tough color to locate? I really want to take advantage of Mazda's 0% for 48 and no charge for alloys and moonroof. I really don't want to compromise on another color, but may have to.

    Also, is approx $500 over invoice, with 0% and free moonroof and alloys a good deal?

  • The debate about Mazda vs. the world could go on endlessly. I have had several Honda products and all of them, regardless of make/model or mileage, have been darn near flawless. The Toyotas we have owned have been the same. My one experience with something non-Honda/Toyota was my first car, a 1989 Ford Probe GL. It had 160,000 miles on it when I sold it and other than burning oil the car ran great.

    Even though the one Mazda/Ford product I had didn't give me any major problems if I knew I had to buy a car and keep it for more than 3 or 4 years, I would buy the Honda or Toyota. You can flame me if you want but in my experience I would be more comfortable in a 100,000 mile Honda vs. a 100,000 Mazda or almost any other make out there.

    One thing about Hondas and Toyotas is that their basic designs seem to stand the test of time better as well as all of the "hardware" like knobs, switches, and power accessories. This Protege may change my mind, so we'll see.

    fowler: The one thing that kills me is that if anybody else my age at work had purchased the Protege everybody would be like "nice car" "congratulations". But with me they are like "uboughtawhat" "huh" "from an Accord V6 to a..." and "no way".
  • mazdafunmazdafun Posts: 2,329
    Check out the Stonguard (sp?) products. They're transparent urethane film (0.060 and 0.040in thick, for headlamps and sheetmetal). that you adhere to your car to protect its finish.

    I've had the headlamp protectors on my '99 Pro since early spring of '99 and don't have a single chip in them. Some dirt does accumulate around the edges though.

    Supposedly you can peel them off w/o leaving any glue, but I haven't done this myself.

    I think they now have pre-cut kits for the Protege, first time ever. Guess there're enough Pro owners asking for the stuff. The only Mazda products they offered pre-cut in the past have been for Miatas.
  • mazdafunmazdafun Posts: 2,329
    We should alert each other to potential problems with our Pros. The earlier the better, to try to nip these problems before our warranties expire, and to make sure we all make Mazda aware.

    Anyway, the discussion recently has been interesting, to say the least. :)
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