2003 MAZDA PROTEGE
This review is for the 2003 Protege5, not the coupe. It's a great little car, all things considered. Lots of room, fun to drive. Acceleration and handling are both decent; the interior, while on the spartan side, is fairly comfortable and attractive. Instrumentation is a bit scant on information (basically, a speedo, tach, gas gauge, and temperature gauge with idiot lights for the rest), and can be hard to read in changing light conditions.
A few caveats: first, the O2 sensors (there are two on this vehicle) seem to go out rather quickly, and while they aren't particularly expensive for the part itself and are user-replaceable for the mechanically inclined, they have a BIG impact on fuel economy-- as in, count on a 20-30% hit on economy when they are not functioning as they should.
Second, this car has two serpentine belts: one for the power steering and A/C, and one for the water pump and alternator. The water pump/alternator belt seems to have issues with the tensioning pulley and will need attention in many cases (this seems to be a fairly widespread problem as well).
Third, the standard tires and wheels are not very common size (P205-50R16), and it may be difficult and a bit pricey to find replacement rubber. On mine, the wheels were replaced with aftermarket 15" rims, and the tires are P195/15R60's, a much cheaper and plentiful option.
Honestly, other than these idiosyncrasies, this is a great little car-- sporty, attractive, economical, and an absolute kick to drive. I especially like the "automanual" transmission that lets the driver "paddle shift" or just leave in automatic mode. Nifty and fun.