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2002 Mazda Protege Sedan

4dr Sdn DX Manual

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

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  • $13,075 original MSRP
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2002 Mazda Protege Sedan

Printable Version

2002 Mazda Protege Sedan

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2002 Mazda Protege5

Source: The Car Connection

An unusual five-door coquette on wheels.

by Marc K. Stengel

What's the point of driving to and fro if you're not going to have fun? This is the very question proposed by the sparky Mazda Protegé5 that rolled my way last week. I simply don't understand what could have inspired the pug-nosed, pert-bottomed, goggle-eyed sport wagon other than pure functional enjoyment.

This is an unusual car in many respects. It looks funny, but in a sense that is definitely "funny-cute." It looks tiny, but it's a legitimate five-seater with twice the stowage area of a typical compact sedan's trunk. Its layout is the basic econo-commuter-car cliché: front-wheel-drive, modest power, mushy shifter.

So how come, once the offbeat shift/clutch timing becomes ingrained into one's driving pattern, thoughts turn only to tossing this car through every neighborhood corner, accelerating from every stop amidst a fanfare of chirping tires?

Sister act

The Protegé5, after all, is the boxy, buxom sister of Mazda's Protegé ES. Both sedan and sport wagon exploit Mazda's revvy, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. It's rated at 130 horsepower and 135 lb-ft of torque, but its sprightliness owes to twin-overhead cams that spool this motor up into its powerband in the blink of an eye. There is no traction control available with the P5 beyond the judgment and continence of the driver. So for the most part, a P5's neighbors will simply have to accustom themselves to the "zoom-chirp" signature that heralds every coming and going.

Laudable as well, if not particularly magical, is the P5's combination of four-wheel independent suspension (front and rear struts) with disc brakes all around. Struts aren't especially exotic, but Mazda's engineers have dialed them in to give the Protegé5 a relatively low ride height, which necessitates relatively stiffer damper settings, resulting in relatively flatter cornering feel. The P5, in other words, begs to be tossed around like a chef salad.

That's when you discover its competitiveness: Its front wheels claw, its precise rack-and-pinion steering (with variable power assist) twitches with delight, and the shifter finds the next gear without ever relinquishing the powerband. At the next corner, strong, confident braking starts the cycle anew. Anti-lock braking, alas, is optional but highly recommended, not least because the $800 surcharge includes side airbags for front occupants.

Riddle me this

Making sense of the P5's interior is a more challenging riddle. Standard appointments are econo-cloth and vinyl leatherette — no shame there. Instrumentation and controls, moreover, are logical to read and use, for the driver particularly. Kids and adults liked the rear seat fine during my stint with the car, although, predictably, the kids tolerated longer trips better. And I found the driving position very easy to tailor to my sporting preferences of short leg reach, extended arms.

It's from the perspective of the back hatch that Protegé5 changes the rules a bit. This fifth door opens, nominally, onto almost 20 cubic feet of cargo space; but a hinged lid more or less cuts this space in half by creating a short rear deck behind the top of the rear seat back. The lid provides security from prying eyes, of course; and it is removable for accommodating taller carry-ons. But it isn't itself stowable in the car in any convenient way, so it pays to predict when you'll chance upon that irresistible credenza at the flea market.

It's quite likely that the credenza will fit, however, since the rear seats fold in a 60/40 split to make way for 24.4 cubic feet of expanded stowage. Personally, I'm undecided about the efficacy of a feature that gives one an option either to fold the rear seat backs by themselves or, instead, to flip forward the rear seat bottoms and then the seat backs. In the latter instance, a flatter loading surface is achieved; and it's conceivable that some occasions might favor folding seat bottoms while leaving the backs upright as a buffer between fore and aft cargo. But the rear headrests have to be removed if both the bottoms and the backs are folded; and, once again, there's nowhere to put 'em.

Complaints are already circulating about this sport wagon's meager credentials as a true wagon. For my own expansive test, I stuffed the P5 with three large recycling bins (3 cubic feet each) for aluminum and plastic, seven smaller ones (1.5 cubic feet each) for paper and glass, and two 50-lb dog food sacks (2 cubic feet each) filled with cardboard. The calculator tells me I had about a cubic foot to spare, but I could still see out the back window, and the "zoom-zoom" decal on the rear window still appeared in my rear view mirror. I must have looked like a high-tech ragman, with recyclables tucked into every nook. But driving this engorged P5 was no less enjoyable for that, and in fact I marveled how such a sporty little war wagon could enliven one of suburbia's more unenviable chores.

Which, after all, is precisely the thing that recommends the Protegé5 so highly, to my mind. It's not work if it's play, and Mazda's kicky sport wagon has this endearing knack for playing the flirt while you're trying to get some work done.

 

2002 Mazda Protegé5

Base price: $16,335; as tested, $18,395
Engine: 2.0-liter in-line four, 130 hp
Transmission: five-speed manual, front-wheel drive
Length x width x height: 170.5 in x 67.1 in x 57.8 in
Wheelbase: 102.8 in
Curb weight: 2716 lb
EPA City/Hwy: 25/30 mpg
Safety equipment: Front airbags
Major standard equipment: HVAC, power windows/locks/mirrors, AM/FM/CD, roof rack, fog lamps
Warranty: Three years/50,000 miles

 

Copyright © 2001 by the Car Connection

Printable Version

2002 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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Passenger Restraint

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

Road Visibility

Fog Lamps Opt
Electrochromic Rearview Mirror Opt
Intermittent Wipers Std
Printable Version

2002 Mazda Protege Sedan

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.

Each Mazda Certified Pre-Owned vehicle comes with a 12-Month / 12,000 Mile Vehicle Limited Warranty with no deductible on covered components, which begins when the factory warranty ends. If it's out of warranty, the 12-month/12,000 miles warranty begins on the certified retail date.

Coverage begins on the limited powertrain warranty from the original retail sales date and covers 7-Years /100,000 miles, whichever comes first.
Age/Mileage Eligibility 2008-2014 model years and less than 80,000 miles
Lease Term Certified No
Point Inspection 150-Point Detailed Inspection

Autocheck® Vehicle History Report with 3-year buyback protection from Experian, subject to all Experian & Experian Automotive buyback terms and conditions.

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

2002 Mazda Protege Sedan

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