Mazda MAZDASPEED Protege Origins
Mazda’s answer is the MAZDASPEED Protege, an aggressively sport-minded version of the regular Protege. The MAZDASPEED Protege succeeds in delivering all that the MP3 had in terms of handling, style, and a state-of-the-art audio system. However, it also comes through in terms of power, thanks to its 170 hp, turbocharged engine. Yet 2003 proved to be the final year for the entire Mazda Protege line, and as such, the MAZDASPEED Protege only saw one year of production. During its solitary year of production, the MAZDASPEED Protege was modified midyear and renamed as the 2003.5.About the Mazda MAZDASPEED Protege
The MAZDASPEED Protege is a sport-tuned version of the standard Mazda Protege that saw production for a single model year, in 2003. Although affordably priced, the MAZDASPEED Protege comes fairly laden with high-performance features including a turbocharged engine, big wheels, low profile tires, and a taut suspension. The aggressively styled sporty four-door also boasts an impressive sound system designed to please even the most discriminating of audiophiles.
The MAZDASPEED Protege shares features with the Mazda MP3 it aims to improve, including a Racing Beat suspension, redesigned 17-inch wheels, four wheel disc brakes, and a fully loaded premium sound system by Kenwood. However, when it comes to power, the MAZDASPEED Protege completely outclasses its predecessor, thanks to its turbo engine.Mazda MAZDASPEED Protege Features
2003 proved to be both the first and last year that Mazda produced the MAZDASPEED Protege. This does not reflect on the model itself, but rather results from Mazda’s termination of the entire Protege line.
The 2003 MAZDASPEED Protege contains a turbocharged 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine that delivers 170 horsepower and 160 lb-ft of torque. This athletic power plant bolsters with the addition of a Garrett T-25 turbocharger that comes equipped with a ball-bearing center housing designed to reduce lag. This results in strong, linear engine output and nearly non-existent turbo lag. The engine mates to a five-speed manual transmission augmented by a Tochigi Fuji limited slip differential. The model comes equipped with 17-inch custom Racing Hart Wheels.
The car’s sound system consists of a formidable a 450-watt Kenwood audio system with AM/FM radio, a CD player, an MP3 interface, and a liquid gel 3-D screen. The sound system boasts seven speakers, including four mid-bass, two tweeters, and one 250-watt subwoofer. Other standard features include a glass-mounted antenna, a wireless remote control, and a self-hiding/removable faceplate. In addition to serving up some seriously solid sound, the MAZDASPEED Protege’s audio system comes prewired for Sirius Satellite Radio.
The car’s sporty interior features cloth seat inserts that have technical patterning to improve lateral support and come adorned with yellow stitching. The model has a leather-wrapped and two-tone steering wheel. A black yellow shift boot is also stitched in yellow, along with an aluminum and leather shift knob adorned with the MAZDASPEED logo. The car’s aluminum foot pedals and black cloth floor mats also have the MAZDASPEED logo emblazoned on them.
Color scheme options for the MAZDASPEED Protege include Titanium Grey Metallic, Blazing Yellow Mica, Laser Blue Mica, and Sunlight Silver Metallic.
The MAZDASPEED Protege also offers good stopping power thanks to its European spec four-wheel disc brake system that comes complete with standard ABS. The car’s suspension offers tuning by Racing Beat and boasts revised springs and strut valving along with huskier anti-roll bars.
Like most Mazdas, the 2003 MAZDASPEED Protege comes with a great warranty. The model has a comprehensive four-year/50,000 mile warranty that applies to every part of the car, barring those subject to normal wear and tear. A four-year roadside assistance program comes along with a five-year/unlimited mileage corrosion warranty.
Reviews indicate that the MAZDASPEED Protege can reach speeds up to 93 mph in fewer than 15 seconds, while the model’s anti-lock brakes enable it to boast an 8-foot-shorter 60 to zero mph stopping distance than the previous model.Mazda MAZDASPEED Protege Evolution
2003 remains the only year that Mazda produced the MAZDASPEED Protege. However, in that year the model underwent some mid-year revisions that led to its being renamed as the MAZDASPEED Protege 2003.5. These revisions include the addition of a new racing-inspired front air dam, a new rear skirt, a larger and lighter rear spoiler, a new Dark Hyper Silver wheel finish, and an oval exhaust tip emblazoned with the MAZDASPEED logo.