If you had the money, would you buy an eighth gen. Mazda Protege? - Miata Turbo Forum - Boost cars, acquire cats.

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Old 01-20-2015, 02:06 AM   #1
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Default If you had the money, would you buy an eighth gen. Mazda Protege?

Haha. But for real. I'm looking for a soulless commuter car that gets decent MPG while I build the Miata. I've seen these Protege's in good shape, ~100k miles for like $2500. That seems like a deal to me.

1.8L FP-DE (non interference!)
Some are 5 speed so I don't get totally bored on the way to work.
Like 27mpg average.
The wagons "Protege5" look pretty decent actually - though they're more expensive
I bet parts are pretty cheap.


Other cars I'm considering in the <4k price range.
es300?
Sentra?
Mazda 6?
Impreza L (awd tho. it snows here.)?
Small trucks? s-10, b series/ranger?
5/6th gen Celica's. These can be found for waaaaay cheap.

What do you all think. Am I overlooking any options?

Last edited by Onyxyth; 01-20-2015 at 07:23 PM.
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Old 01-20-2015, 09:16 AM   #2
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That engine is not one of mazda's best. I've heard/read they can have oil consumption issues. I have no first hand experience but I briefly shopped for a Protege5 and was scared away by the motor...
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Old 01-20-2015, 09:58 AM   #3
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I beat the crap out of my P5 and it's had no engine issues. Anecdotal evidence at best, but it's been as reliable and easy to work on as any other Mazda I've had, and it's a real hoot to drive. Parts are cheap, and there's actually a pretty good aftermarket if you get the itch to do some mods.
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Old 01-20-2015, 11:44 AM   #4
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Sentra I'd be careful with, one of the engines they came with was nutorious for head gasket issues.

Protege is probably going to be the most fun out of all the small sedans like corolla, sentra etc. I have a 2002 Protege with the 2.0, the engine runs out of breath up top but it's still fun to drive. So far I'm very happy with it. Celica is a solid choice too. Had a 5th gen Celica 2.2 that I was really happy with, also non-interference. They used pretty much the same Camry engine from 1990-1999 so parts are super easy to find. Original timing belt lasted 180k miles lol. Gas mileage is a few MPGs better on my protege compared to the Celica, but it also has 100k less miles on it.
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Old 01-20-2015, 11:52 AM   #5
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My mom had one for a while. I really hated the size of the driver's seat / footwell / wheel ratio. I always felt trapped. My knees hit, it felt squeezed. I feel that a car that large should have more room. Miata, I get that it is tight. That car, I was not a fan of the driver's space. With that being said I was always amazed and how it drove stock.
Not a lot of power, but it was still fun to drive. Watch for the paint. A lot of them up here rust in the rear tires area and the badges. It happened to my Mom's and I see it on other ones all the time.
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Old 01-20-2015, 12:33 PM   #6
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My wife owns a 2001 lx with 2.0. Has approximately 120k on it. She is terrible on cars and so far it has survived. A couple of coils have failed which caused the pre cat to go up. Normal maintenance items would include the lower control arm ball joint boots split. You have to replace the whole control arm for that. Other than it eating wheel bearings on the passenger side, nothing major.
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Old 01-20-2015, 02:07 PM   #7
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An exgirlfriend had one. Thing was dead reliable for the year and a half I knew it (outside of eating headlights due to a bad connector). Not a Miata, but it got the job done and was sorta fun to drive, drove it 3000 miles without a hitch. I'd buy another one.
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Old 01-20-2015, 02:23 PM   #8
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I haven't heard much either way about the engines, but it looks like most people here have had pretty good experiences. I'm definitely going to consider these, I was really leaning toward the es300 before, but not having a manual transmission would really bore me I think.

Plus there's a 2000 for sale right down the road. 117k, 5sp, $2,200.. pretty decent deal. I'll look at it.
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