Mazda Protege Ewa Beach HI

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(808) 831-2500
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(808) 266-8000
749 Kailua Rd
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(808) 266-8000
105 Oneawa St
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2003 Mazda Protege Compact Sedan

Home » Car Reviews » Mazda » Previous Models » Mazda Protege » 2003 Mazda Protege Compact Sedan

2003 Mazda Protege Compact Sedan

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It's spunky

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The Protege is a compact sedan, making it perfect for a family of four. Seats up front accommodate full-size adults and even if you're tall, you won't have to push the seats all the way back to the rear passenger seat. There's plenty of room for adults to camp out back there, too.

There are cloth seating surfaces and the front bucket seats recline. The headrests are adjustable, as is the driver's seat height and cushion.

The center arm rest and console has a comfy cover on it and dual cup holders served me well. Speaking of cup holders, there are none in the rear seating area, which makes drinks in the back quite difficult to deal with. Not to mention scary that they'll somehow tip over or be dropped and now you're shampooing upholstery or carpeting.

The roomy interior is one of the premier features on Protege. For a compact car, this sedan surprises you with just how much room is in there. Even the rear cargo area tucked under the trunk lid is nothing to sneeze at. You won't be able to fit a lot of stuff in there, but it accommodates a couple of suitcases with plenty of room left over.

Driven this week was the Protege ES, which features black-on-silver instrumentation. Instrumentation is easy to read and understand. Simple, too. Even has a tachometer. Everything else, from heating and cooling right down to the in-dash 6-disc CD changer is easy to reach from the driver's seat.

There are also two other models of Protege to choose from: DX and LX. The ES model is the highest trim level and has the most standard equipment.

The exterior of the Protege is refreshing, with its aggressive-looking black-chrome grille. You can even add a rear spoiler and fog lamps to make it really look sporty.

The ES comes standard with 16-inch alloy wheels and all-season tires. Body-color moldings and bumpers, bright-tipped exhaust outlet and rear spoiler are also standard.

In fact, for a compact sedan that has a starting price of under $16,000, the standard equipment list is extensive: Tilt steering wheel, rear window defogger, dual power remote mirrors, air conditioning, remote keyless illuminated entry, power windows and door locks, cruise control with steering wheel-mounted controls, dual map lights, intermittent wipers and a complimentary full tank of gas.

Oh, almost forgot to mention the ride and handling issues. With four-wheel independent suspension, front and rear stabilizer bars and power rack and pinion steering, you'll have no worries. It's a well-engineered vehicle.

We took it up north for a quick trip and found only one thing annoying -- a bit of engine noise at high speeds.

Safety issues are all taken care of with dual front air bags, child safety seat anchors, "Tr...

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