1996 Mazda Protege

  • 1996 Mazda Protege DX Sedan

    DX Sedan

    • MAX MPG
    • SEATS
    • ENGINE
      1.5L I4
    • MSRP
  • 1996 Mazda Protege ES Sedan

    ES Sedan

    • MAX MPG
    • SEATS
    • ENGINE
      1.8L I4
    • MSRP
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  • Review

1996 Mazda Protege Review

An economical drive with roomy interior.

Reviewed by Automotive on


As an economically-priced compact sedan, the 1996 Mazda Protege comes with a modest 1.5-liter V-4. While the ES comes equipped with a heftier 1.8-liter V-4, it manages to achieve better ratings for its fuel economy than for its performance. Garnering a cool 30 mpg on the highway, it offers some of the best gas mileage on the road. Coming with few standard features, the LX and ES models are better-equipped than the basic DX model. Air-conditioning is only standard on the upscale ES model, and four-wheel anti-lock brake systems are only available as options for the LX and ES models. It is, however, distinctive among other cars in its class due to its spacious interior. Ideal for taller passengers, it offers more comfort than other compact sedans, all at an affordable price.

The Range

Body Styles: sedan
Engines: 1.5-liter four-cylinder, 1.8-liter four-cylinder
Transmissions: five-speed manual
Models: Mazda Protege DX, Mazda Protege LX, Mazda Protege ES

What's New

There have been no changes made to the 1996 Mazda Protege from last year’s vehicle.


The 1996 Mazda Protege is a compact four-door sedan equipped with tinted windows and 13-inch wheels on the DX and LX models. The upgraded ES features 14-inch wheels. The ho-hum exterior design isn't very distinguishable in a very crowded class of midsize sedans. It measures 67.3 inches wide, 55.9 inches tall, and 144.8 inches long; and it weighs in at a mere 2385 pounds.


Standard interior features for the 1996 Mazda Protege varies between models. The basic DX comes with a power and tilt steering wheel, driver and passenger front airbags, cloth bucket seats, and a center console. Additional features available standard on the LX include power windows and door locks, cruise control, and an AM/FM/cassette audio system. The ES includes the additions of the LX, and it is the only model which comes equipped with air-conditioning as a standard feature.

Performance & Handling

The 1996 Mazda Protege DX and LX models come equipped with a standard 1.5-liter V-4, producing 92 horsepower. The ES includes a larger engine, a 1.8-liter V-4 with a 122 horsepower. It is not designed for performance and Identifix noted extensive issues with the engine. However, it does offer excellent fuel efficiency and the handling is about average compared to other cars in its class.


Safety features for the 1996 Mazda Protege include driver and passenger front airbags. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave three stars out of five on driver crash tests and the International Institute of Highway Safety gave its second best rating of ""acceptable.""

EPA Fuel Economy

Mazda Protege: 23/30 mpg city/highway

You'll Like

  • Good fuel economy
  • Spacious interior

You Won't Like

  • Poor acceleration
  • Few standard features

Sum Up

An economical drive with roomy interior.

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