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2001 Mazda Protege Sedan

4dr Sdn MP3 Limited Edition

Starting at | Starting at 25 MPG City - 31 MPG Highway

2001 Mazda Protege for Sale

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  • Average Retail is not available
  • $18,020 original MSRP
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2001 Mazda Protege Sedan

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2001 Mazda Protege Sedan

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2001 Mazda Protege

Source: The Car Connection

Already good, now better.

by John Pearley Huffman

Mazda's Protege was already one of the best small cars. And since it was new back in '99, it's not really that old in the marketplace either. Still the company has decided it's time for significant revisions to their smallest sedan.

What's resulted is a better car in a market where its corporate cousin, the new-in-2000 Ford Focus, has emerged as the leader and standard-setter, and Honda has just introduced a new version of the traditionally best-selling Civic. The question is whether a better Protege can catch, equal, or better the Focus and Civic.

Stronger, faster, heavier

The big Protege news comes in the form of a big engine. Gone is the 122-horsepower, 1.8-liter, DOHC four that powered the top-of-the-line ES and was optional on the mid-grade LX in favor of a new 130-horsepower, 2.0-liter, DOHC four. It's more than a simple increase in displacement; the 1.8 was shared with the Miata sports car, while the new 2.0 comes from the same engine family as the base engine in the larger 626 sedan. A 103-horsepower, 1.6-liter, DOHC remains the base engine in both the bottom-line DX and the LX, and should be avoided by anyone interested in merging successfully into freeway traffic.

The new engine isn't the rip-snort sportster the same-size powerplant was in the much beloved '91-'94 Nissan Sentra SE-R (which was rated at 140 horsepower), but it's comfortable moving the Protege. Peak power comes at 6000 rpm, but the peak 135 lb-ft of torque comes at a significantly more relaxed 4000 rpm. This engine doesn't zing to its redline eagerly, but doesn't feel flabby either. It's a quiet sedan engine with an anonymous exhaust note and its easygoing torque production is probably as well, if not better, suited to the optional four-speed automatic transmission as it is to the standard five-speed manual.

The engine may be happy hooked to the serene automatic, but the five-speed is impressive. The ratios are perfectly chosen with a slight 0.97:1 overdrive in fourth leading to a 0.755:1 fifth and all feeding a 4.105:1 final drive ratio, and the shifter feels fantastic for a front-driver, approaching Honda levels of shift quality.

It's likely the power increase will mean the 2001 Protege is quicker than the 2000, but it's only an eight-horsepower increase and the revised car is heavier. With the new powertrain Mazda has modified the front of the car from structure to sheetmetal. Obviously there are new engine mounts; a transverse member was added for extra stiffness across the front MacPherson strut front suspension. Increased sheetmetal thickness around the struts and in the front crossmember further stiffens the structure.

Beyond that the ES also gets five-lug hubs, larger front and rear anti-sway bars and an additional roll dampening engine mount. Throw in rear disc brakes (ABS is optional on 2.0-liter models) and some additional sound deadening material and it winds up that a 2001 Protege ES weighs in at 2634 pounds, up 97 from the 2000 model. A run through the calculator indicates that each of the 122 horsepower in a 2000 Protege had 20.8 pounds to push, while each of the 130 in the 2001 model has about 20.3 pounds. That's a half-pound improvement in power-to-weight ratio, which is good, but the 2001 still shouldn't be a rocket ship.

But that extra structure, combined with the ES' generous-for-the-class 195/60R16 tires, does result in noticeably better handling and ride characteristics. Mazda also added a metal support yoke to the steering gear mechanism for greater rigidity and while that does add some accuracy to the system, it also transmits a bit more vibration through the wheel and to the driver's arms.

As it was before, the Protege is a delightful car to drive. It feels light, precise and tossable and the new engine is flexible and easy to keep in its powerband. Like every front-driver on Earth, it'll push its nose into corners but it takes some real determination to produce the tire squeal that indicates the limits of adhesion are being approached. And in regular driving it rides well, if not plushly. Without a Focus or Civic around with which to compare it, it's tough to make definitive conclusions, but it's in the ballpark.

Better looks, better sounds

Revisions to the Protege on the outside are modest but noticeable. The grille shape is more pronounced with a humongoid Mazda logo overlaying its center and the compound headlamp units are larger. The front bumper and hood are also new, and out back the taillights have been revised. Nothing here is startling. The car remains a conservatively styled, mostly anonymous design that looks better with the new five-spoke 16-inch wheels. Don't expect the Museum of Modern Art to suddenly start clearing gallery space for its display.

Inside the design theme is cleanliness rather than excitement. The front seats have been redesigned to provide better lumbar and lateral support and to transmit less vibration to the occupants. The dash itself is straightforward with three gauges in a binnacle directly in front of the driver and a center blister containing the audio system and ventilation controls. The steering wheel feels suitably hefty in hand and the faux-brushed metal trim is less disturbingly phony than would-be faux wood. The ES also gets white-faced gauges, which now officially qualify as a performance sedan cliche.

The star of the interior is a new modular audio system. Filling a standard two-DIN hole, the standard AM/FM radio's faceplate can be removed and a CD player or six-disc CD changer can be added to an upper bay. There's also a lower bay, which can accommodate a cassette player or MiniDisc player. For dealers, it lets them tailor the sound system to customers' desires even if the car is already in their inventory. And it sounds majestic.

More to come

No big surprise, the Protege remains one of the elite entry-level sedans. But Mazda's plans for the car don't stop there. Sometime this spring, they'll add the Protege 5, which is a short-coupled sport wagon version emboldened with even sportier trim (a three-spoke steering wheel and a deep front fascia with oversize driving lights) but carrying the ES' drivetrain. There's also a sportier version of the sedan coming, with tuning done by California's famed Racing Beat firm, that should include a more aggressive sounding exhaust system.

Whatever the future holds for the Protege, the present is pretty good already.

2001 Mazda Protege ES Sedan

Base price: $12,765; ES, $15,535
Engine: 2.0-liter four-cylinder, 130 hp
Transmission: five-speed manual; four-speed automatic (optional)
Wheelbase: 102.8 in
Length: 175.3 in
Width: 67.1 in
Height: 55.5 in
Weight: 2634 lb
Fuel economy (city/hwy): 25/31 mpg
Safety equipment: Dual front airbags
Major standard equipment: Power steering, dual side mirrors, remote hatch/trunk release, remote fuel release, rear window defroster, tilt steering
Warranty: Three years/36,000 miles

© 2000 The Car Connection

Printable Version

2001 Mazda Protege Sedan

Safety Ratings help

What do the Safety Ratings mean?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) performs independent crash testing of new vehicles and then assigns them a score based on their performance. The overall crash test rating is based on how a vehicle performs in the following tests:

Driver Crash Grade:

Measures the chance of a serious injury to a crash test dummy that is placed in a driver's seat and driven into a fixed barrier at 35 MPH. A five-star rating means there is 10 percent or less chance of injury.

Passenger Crash Grade:

Similar to the driver crash grade, only now the focus is on the passenger.

Rollover Resistance:

Simulates an emergency lane change to measure the likelihood of a vehicle rolling over. A five-star rating means there is 10 percent or less risk of rollover.

Side Impact Crash Test - Front:

Focuses on the front side of a vehicle. It simulates crashes that can occur in intersections by striking a 3,015-pound weight against the side of a vehicle at 38.5 MPH. A five-star rating means there is 5 percent or less chance of injury.

Side Impact Crash Test - Rear:

Similar to the front side impact test only now the focus is on the rear passenger.

Driver Crash Grade
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Passenger Crash Grade
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Side Impact Crash Test - Front
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Side Impact Crash Test - Rear
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Safety Features & Equipment

Braking & Traction

4-Wheel Disc Brakes Std

Passenger Restraint

Driver Air Bag Std
Passenger Air Bag Std
Child Safety Locks Std

Road Visibility

Fog Lamps Std
Intermittent Wipers Std

Security

Alarm Opt
Printable Version

2001 Mazda Protege Sedan

Original Warranty  help
Original Warranty
An original warranty is the warranty associated with a vehicle when it is brand new. In addition to the original warranty, select items, like tires, are typically covered by respective manufacturers. Also, an act of Federal law sometimes provides protection for certain components, like emissions equipment.
The original warranty is often broken down into multiple sections, including:
Basic Warranty:
Typically covers everything except for parts that wear out through normal use of the vehicle. Examples of non-covered items are brake pads, wiper blades and filters.
Drivetrain Warranty:
This warranty covers items the basic warranty does not protect. Wear and tear items such as hoses will not be covered, but key items like the engine, transmission, drive axles and driveshaft often will be.
Roadside Assistance:
The level of service differs greatly with this warranty, but many manufacturers offer a toll-free number that helps provide assistance in case you run out of gas, get a flat tire or lock your keys in the car.
Corrosion Warranty:
This warranty focuses on protecting you from holes caused by rust or corrosion in your vehicle's sheet metal.
Please check the owner's manual, visit a local dealership or look at the manufacturer's website to learn more about the specifics of the warranties that apply to a vehicle.

Basic 3 Years/50,000 Miles
Drivetrain 3 Years/50,000 Miles
Corrosion 5 Years/Unlimited Miles
Roadside Assistance 3 Years/50,000 Miles

Mazda Certified Pre-Owned Warranty  help
Certified Pre-Owned Warranty
To be eligible for Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) status, vehicles generally must be recent models with relatively low mileage. CPO vehicles must also pass a detailed inspection, outlined by the manufacturer, which is measured by the number of inspected points.
Warranty coverage can vary from one manufacturer to the next. While most certified pre-owned programs transfer and extend the existing new car warranty terms, others offer a warranty that simply represents an additional year and mileage value. Always check with the manufacturer for the specific warranties they offer.
Common features and benefits of Certified Pre-Owned warranties include:
Age/Mileage Eligibility
To even be considered for certification, a car must be a recent model year and have limited mileage. The exact requirements are established by individual manufacturers.
Lease Term Certified
Some manufacturers offer certified pre-owned cars for lease. The length of the lease is often shorter than a new car lease, but it will cost you less.
Point Inspection
These inspections entail a comprehensive vehicle test to ensure that all parts are in excellent working order. The point inspection list is simply a numbered list of exactly what parts of the car are examined. While many inspections range from a 70- to 150-point checklist, most are very similar and are performed using strict guidelines. Ask your local dealer about specific details.
Return/Exchange Program
Some manufacturers offer a very limited return or exchange period. Find out if you will get the sales tax and licensing/registration fees back should you return or exchange the car.
Roadside Assistance
Most certified pre-owned programs offer free roadside service in case your car breaks down while still under warranty.
Special Financing
Reduced-rate loans are available through many certified pre-owned programs. Manufacturer-backed inspections and warranties help eliminate the risks involved with buying pre-owned, so buyers who qualify can take advantage of the great offers.
Transferable Warranty
When a new car warranty transfers with the certification of the car and remains eligible for the next owner, it is known as a transferable warranty. Once the original transferable warranty expires, an extended warranty takes effect.
Warranty Deductible
This is the amount for which you are responsible when repair work is performed under the warranty. Some manufacturers require a deductible while others don't, so always ask.

Having peace of mind on the road means being confident in what you're driving. Mazda vehicles continually rank among the most reliable cars on the road. Flywheel to freeze plug, thermostat to turbocharger, cylinder block to constant velocity points, our 7-Year/100,000-Mile Limited Powertrain Warranty has you covered.*

Every Mazda Certified Pre-Owned vehicle comes with a confidence-inspiring 12-Month/12,000-Mile Limited Vehicle Warranty with no deductible on covered repairs, which begins once the factory warranty ends. If it's out of warranty, the 12-Month/12,000-Mile Limited Vehicle Warranty begins on the CPO purchase date.**
Age/Mileage Eligibility 2011-2016 model years and less than 80,000 miles
Lease Term Certified No
Point Inspection 160-Point Detailed Inspection

Autocheck® Vehicle History Report with 3-year buyback protection from Experian***

Return/Exchange Program No
Roadside Assistance 24hr Roadside Assistance for the life of the Powertrain Limited Warranty offers confidence on the road around the clock.
Special Financing Yes, see your Mazda dealer for details.
Transferrable Warranty Yes
Warranty Deductible $0

Learn more about certified pre-owned vehicles

Printable Version

2001 Mazda Protege Sedan

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