Jump ahead to..
The sweet and simple design
Mazda Protege 5 is a car that had been advertised in and around the United States, proclaiming a new era of cars from Mazda. While the Protege 5 is a car that by no means changes anything about the sports wagon landscape in America, it is a car that is oddly charming. It is compact and does not try too hard to add edgy elements to its design. The result is a car that flits between a compact hatchback and a pure wagon, based on the design alone.
The front fascia is simple, it is long and the bumpers extend out the length of the car. The grille and front bumper give it a sporty look, with wide-open mouths and the headlights add to the sporty demeanor of the car. The windshield is steep and the sharply extended roofline towards the back is a reminder that the car is indeed a wagon, albeit one with small proportions.
The curved rear is simple in design, with no stray elements, no fake exhaust pipes, just clean and clever design. You can tell that the sports wagon concept started out as a sedan by the look of the tail lamps. The best part is that the additional body kit on the car helps accentuate the sporty nature of the car. It does so with ease and without adding any overwhelming elements. Mazda knows the crowd it is selling to and they do not try to appease them. The design of the Mazda Protege 5 is aggressive but just about enough to call it a sports wagon and nothing else.
An engine that is right for the car
While the moniker of a sports wagon stands firm, the performance is anything but. However, Mazda’s engine choice on the Protege 5 is almost perfect. The fact is that the car does not try to lure you in with the promise of a performance car and it certainly does not do you favors with the
Mazda Protege 5 engine numbers. The engine is good for a long term buy not a race. The Mazda Protege 5 hp numbers are good, the engine produces 130 bhp and 135 lb-ft of torque. The engine is a newer setup for the Protege 5 and it helps increase the noise and gurgle, however, it does not add to performance. The reason for that will be because of the weight of the car. The Mazda Protege 5 is not light, in fact, coming in at 2000 plus pounds, it is heavy.
Despite this, you will have no problems running the car for hundreds of thousands of miles. The engine is delightful over the long term and if performance is not your first priority, the car will serve you well.
The best part about the Mazda Protege 5 is the drive. The Protege 5 is simply a nimble machine on the road. You will be astonished by the fact that despite the weight, the car can move through traffic swiftly. The main reason why the Protege 5 handles so well, is down to its steering input. It is a hydraulic steering system and it does a better job than most electronic steering systems. The car’s steering has a very elastic feeling when you put it through corners.
The weight feels firm on your hands and the car feels very on-centered when you turn. There is no lack of power when you press the throttle and you can feel the car come alive as you step on it. The combination of the light and nimble steering, with the newer smoother engine, gives you a responsive drive that does not feel boring. Another thing to note is the brilliant viewing angle of the car, you will be able to see all directions clearly and have nothing to worry about.
Comfortable wagon-style ergonomics
The Mazda Protege 5 has good interiors, not great, but good. It is cheap and you will not find a lot of expensive elements in the car. You may think Mazda has put a foot wrong but this is by design. The car does not pretend to try to be something it isn’t. You get plastic but the soft touch on the plastic is good. The controls are not metal or have the greatest design layout, but they are simple and can be easily accessed. The car’s interiors are very ergonomic. Everything is easy to use and easy to reach.
The driving dynamics are good. You get seats with good cushioning and support. The space inside is good. A typical wagon offers comfortable seating for five adults and the Mazda does so without problems. The car does use a few faux elements here and there. Some faux suede on the door inserts, and some faux carbon fiber to give the car some character. The main point here is that the car is ergonomically great.
A superb long term option
The best part about a Mazda Protege 5 is that it is a car that can go distance. A hundred thousand miles on it will feel like a breeze. The simplicity of the car leaves you without much want and need. You will not be longing for more performance or comfort.
The car serves you adequately. Its low price is also another factor. On top of that, the driving is so good that you will rarely think about the lack of power in the car. While there may not be a Mazda Protege 5 2004, there needn’t be. The 2003 model will last for a long time.
The only Mazda Protege 5 problems you may face are the bits of rust that are inevitable on the metallic body parts. There is also the matter of part replacement, which is the part of a car’s life cycle.
The verdict is simple, for a car for its price, the Mazda Protege 5 offers great value. It is responsive, has plenty of space, is comfortable, and runs well. No major caveats or gripe with the Protege 5 and that in and of itself, is a redeeming factor.