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Another one for Cab...

Posted by Archeo-peteriX 
November 04, 2011 10:31PM
How has the Mazda been for you as far as reliability?

An older(2002) Protege hatchback has caught my eye and it falls much better into my limited budget than the E46 cars of the same vintage.

I was also inquiring about auto insurance and the BMW would cost me almost $500 more per year for the same coverage! The E30 was over $300 per year more than the Honda sad smiley



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/04/2011 10:32PM by Archeo-peteriX.
November 04, 2011 11:49PM
I am surprised the insurance would be that much difference. The power to weight ratio of the car matters and the market value. On such old cars the insurance company is only looking at the market value of the car. If a repair costs more than that, they just pay you for the car.

Bob in Everett
November 05, 2011 10:38AM
Quote
Bob in Everett
I am surprised the insurance would be that much difference. The power to weight ratio of the car matters and the market value. On such old cars the insurance company is only looking at the market value of the car. If a repair costs more than that, they just pay you for the car.

Up here it also makes a big difference in the area you live.
Around here, BMW means Big Money Waiting...come and take it sad smiley
November 06, 2011 12:40PM
Quote
Archeo-peteriX
How has the Mazda been for you as far as reliability?

An older(2002) Protege hatchback has caught my eye and it falls much better into my limited budget than the E46 cars of the same vintage.
I'm not Cab, but I'll answer anyway. We have two Mazdas in our household: an '04 Mazda6 that is my wife's daily driver, and a '90 Miata that is my track toy. Both of them have been drop-dead reliable. Everyone is always talking about Honda and Toyota being the epitome of reliability, which they are, but if you ask me Mazda is right up there with them. I also like the fact that Mazda is one of the last car companies standing that still thinks about the enthusiast when they make cars (BMW is another).

I've never driven a Protege, but I like them. I especially like the Protege5. They were the predecessor to the Mazda3, which is another great car. I live very close to the Canadian border south of Montreal, and I've noticed that there are a lot more Mazda3s on the Canadian side. I expect it's the same around Vancouver. I'm not sure why, other than Canadians must have better taste in cars. smiling smiley

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Dave
'91 325iX
November 06, 2011 02:40PM
Thanks for the input Dave.

I test drove the Protege5 yesterday. It definitely feels like a good handling car and not too unlike the E30 for balance. The 2.0 litre engine seems to have good power but would be best with a manual transmission.

I found the car very comfortable with excellent visibility. The driver seat fits like a glove; actually better than the stock seats in the E30.
The car is quiet inside so you can carry on a conversation at highway speeds without having to raise your voice.

The only real issue the test car had was rust around the wheel well arches and a couple of accidents that cost more than $2000 to fix.

I like the car and will continue looking for the right one smiling smiley

All my research indicates that the 2002 model had the least number of complaints and only one recall for improper exterior light bulbs.
November 07, 2011 08:45AM
Similar to Dave, I have had a good experience with my Mazda. As a reminder, it's a 2006 Mazda3 hatch, 2.3L I4, 5-speed manual which I bought new, so I know all of its history. It's now approaching 90k miles. I've done a front brake job, pads and rotors, at something like 70k miles or so. I'll check my log for the actual mileage, but that sounds close off the top of my head. In August I did shocks and struts all around. The front right was totally dead, and I had known about it for quite a while, but lived with the bounciness for a couple of months. So it went through the first set of shocks/struts in probably 75-80k miles. That's not awful, IMO (especially given the condition of roads around here). I switch to Dunlop Wintersport tires when it gets cold, and it does great in the snow, not that that would matter to you very much.

There have been a couple of minor electrical glitches, but I just live with them, as they aren't major enough to worry about. One is that the dashboard indicator for my fog lights is always on when the headlight switch is on, whether or not I have the fogs on. The fogs do turn on and off properly, there's just a problem with the sensor or indicator light.

The other, slightly more major niggle is that the O2 sensor seems to be loose or have a broken wire or something. It happens during the spring and late summer, usually, when there has been a lot of rain or high humidity. The sensor will detect an O2 sensor failure, the check engine light comes on, but the car drives/idles/everything just fine. After a day or so (I think it's 3 warmup/cooldown cycles), the light goes off and everything is fine until the next time it happens. I haven't gone under there to look at it or fix it, because I know the problem isn't actually with the O2 sensor, just the connection going into it. I have a feeling that the insulation on the wire is bad and it's momentarily shorting out in the presence of humidity, tripping the indicator, and then being fine. Every time it bothers me I think about fixing it, but then it goes away and I don't feel like spending the $$ on a new O2 sensor.

I've also gone through a couple of low beams, in fact my right one is out right now. But they're not hard to change (not as easy as E30, though), and cost about $15, so it's not like a xenon failure on the E46 or anything.

Let's see... other than those issues, the car has been good. It's relatively fun to drive (for a FWDer). I am happy with the size/visibility/weight of the car. It's comfortable, and when the shocks/struts aren't broken, it takes some abuse fairly well, although I have never autoXed it. It has sufficient power, in fact I would have preferred the 2.0L just for the mileage, but the hatch was (is still?) only offered in the US with the larger engine. As usual, I track the mileage, and overall I have gotten around 27.5-28 mpg in mixed driving. I've had single tank highs over 30mpg and lows around 24mpg.

I almost never drive with humans in the back seat, although I've installed a car seat back there from time to time. Usually if anyone is back there it will just be Molly, so I can't speak for rear seat comfort if that is important to you. With the rear seat down, I have brought home a new dishwasher from Sears with no problem. I have also, at the same time, had the old dishwasher, one of those old wood console TVs, plus a bunch of smaller electronic stuff in the car to go to the recycling place. The rear hatch didn't close all the way, but with some bungees I was just fine. So it's not exactly a pickup, but it's surprisingly roomy.

I like how my car looks fine, but I do prefer the look of the older Protege5. I'd imagine that performance wise, the cars would be similar.

I'm hoping for (at least) another 5 years and 80-90k miles from this car, more would be gravy. It's still in good shape, so I'm optimistic on that front. I did get minorly rear-ended in the car when it was about 1 year old, but the repair was good and I've not had any issues related to that accident.

All that said, I wouldn't buy it again, only because if I were shopping right now I'd be getting a Jetta TDI wagon. In 2006 in Massachusetts, I could not buy or register a diesel, as that was back before they had the "50-state legal" diesels. Now I could get a TDI, and I think the 40+ mpg in those would be awesome. I think that would be a great commuter. But that's the only reason I wouldn't look at another Mazda. I am quite happy with how the Mazda3 has treated me, so I'd definitely give it my full recommendation.

Cab
1990 325i(s)
2004 325XiT



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/07/2011 08:48AM by Cab Treadway.
November 07, 2011 09:03AM
Quote
Cab Treadway
All that said, I wouldn't buy it again, only because if I were shopping right now I'd be getting a Jetta TDI wagon. In 2006 in Massachusetts, I could not buy or register a diesel, as that was back before they had the "50-state legal" diesels. Now I could get a TDI, and I think the 40+ mpg in those would be awesome. I think that would be a great commuter. But that's the only reason I wouldn't look at another Mazda.
Hold the phone, Cab, Mazda may come through for us. I'm in exactly the same boat as you. We're thinking about an eventual replacement for our Mazda6, and we also have the Jetta TDI at the top of our list, mostly for the 40-50 MPG. Two friends of mine have these, and both like them. One reported 52 MPG on a trip. I drove one of them and liked it, and of course they have oodles of torque. But because it's a VW, you know that bits are going to start breaking on them after a few years. Most VWs aren't bad cars, but they're considerably higher-maintenance (and cost) than a typical Mazda.

But Mazda has recently started publicizing their new Skyactiv-D diesel technology, which sounds really interesting and is the first automotive technology to get me this excited in a long while. They've developed a relatively low-compression, high-revving diesel engine that is supposed to produce both cleaner emissions and low fuel consumption. The big question is whether we in the U.S. will ever see this engine in the Mazda3. We'll get it in the CX-5 (no thank you) starting in 2013, and worldwide they'll be putting it in the Mazda3. But it's still uncertain whether we'll ever see a diesel Mazda3. I certainly hope we do, because the Jetta TDI needs some competition!

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Dave
'91 325iX
November 07, 2011 09:58PM
Thanks for that review Cab.

So, your cost of ownership has been relatively low so far, as far as repairs and consumables. That's good news.

Since I can't really justify buying a new car with full warranty; a VW is out sad smiley

If I can find the right one; I really think the Protege5 will suit me fine. The one I test drove was an auto but I got a good feel for how the car fits and feels on the road.
I'm pretty sure I could be happy with one smiling smiley
November 08, 2011 07:39AM
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Archeo-peteriX
Thanks for that review Cab.

Anytime, Archie.

Quote

So, your cost of ownership has been relatively low so far, as far as repairs and consumables. That's good news.

Yup, basically a set of front brakes, tires, shocks/struts, and a couple of headlight bulbs in 87k miles. Not too bad, IMO.

Quote

Since I can't really justify buying a new car with full warranty; a VW is out sad smiley

Yeah, when I bought the Mazda, my plan was for a commuter to last me 10+ years and probably close to 200k miles, so I wanted something new with warranty, etc. I figured that provided it does last that long, it will be worth it in the long run vs. buying a used car and replacing it more frequently. So far, so good.

Quote

If I can find the right one; I really think the Protege5 will suit me fine. The one I test drove was an auto but I got a good feel for how the car fits and feels on the road.
I'm pretty sure I could be happy with one smiling smiley

I agree. I still see plenty of those on the road around here, and they're good looking little wagons. I see several of them at the dog park with the rear seats folded down to make comfy dog transports. Hard to go wrong if you find one in good condition. Of course, it would cost more, but if I could find a good condition manual 323iT (or even a I4, if they brought those to Canada), I'd be more interested in that, but there's that "it would cost more" caveat. :mrgreen:

Good luck!

Cab
1990 325i(s)
2004 325XiT
November 08, 2011 07:44AM
Interesting, Dave. I did have a 97 Jetta GLX with the VR6 for several years, and I didn't consider it higher maintenance than the average car. Although doing the brakes on that was more of a PITA since the rotors have the bearings built in vs. a simple rotor replacement. Anyway, my experience with that car was not enough to steer me away from the brand. I certainly would still consider a TDI wagon...

...unless there's something more compelling in another 5-ish years when I expect to be in the market. This new technology from Mazda sounds interesting. I'll look forward to seeing how it develops and what the market looks like down the road. Fortunately I'm not looking for a car at this point. And most likely, the next vehicle I purchase is going to be a larger (minivan) replacement for the E46 wagon as the family transport. We love the E46, but it is a bit small for us with two kids, big dog, and all the stuff that goes along with them. For now and hopefully another couple of years, it's okay, but I know that eventually we'll want something bigger.

Cab
1990 325i(s)
2004 325XiT
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