The 1999 Mazda Protege fills the role of a bargain vehicle in the carmaker’s lineup. Mazda offers numerous other sedans with more luxury and better performance than the Protege, but those sedans also cost substantially more. The Protege offers a solid vehicle at a very low price.
Despite the low cost, the Protege includes a decent amount of features. The Protege DX and Protege LX seem pretty bare-bones in terms of standard equipment. However, the Protege ES offers a decent amount of standard features. It even matches some higher-priced vehicles.
The Mazda Protege provides a good option for someone on a budget. Only a few vehicles fall into this price range and even fewer of them offer similar levels of performance.
Body Styles: compact sedan
Engines: 1.6-liter four-cylinder, 1.8-liter four-cylinder
Transmissions: five-speed manual, four-speed automatic
Models: Mazda Protege DX, Mazda Protege LX, Mazda Protege ES
The 1999 Mazda Protege shows an extensive redesign. The most obvious difference between the 1999 model and older variants is that Mazda drops the coupe, hatchback, and pickup body options for this year. The Protégé gets such a thorough redesign that it looks almost unrecognizable compared to its predecessors.
The Mazda Protege looks a little blockier than most Mazda sedans, but otherwise it remains unremarkable. It uses a standard four-door body design, which similar to many Japanese sedans, looks a little smaller than average. A little unusually for a vehicle in this price range, the 1999 Mazda Protege offers a rear spoiler and a power moonroof as optional features. In addition, the LX includes standard power windows, power locks, and power mirrors.
The features available in the 1999 Mazda Protege vary significantly between the models. The Protege DX has no major features standard; even staples such as air-conditioning and a CD player remain optional. The Protege LX fixes this issue with a standard CD player. However, air-conditioning remains optional. The Protege ES includes air-conditioning as a standard feature, bringing the Protege more in line with other vehicles on the market.
Performance & Handling
The 1999 Mazda Protege handles just like most low-priced, four-cylinder vehicles on the market. The acceleration, top speed, and maneuverability seem average across the board—not bad given the low price tag. More expensive vehicles consistently outperform the Protege, but it still satisfies most drivers.
Similar to most vehicles in this price range, the 1999 Mazda Protege includes only limited safety features. As with virtually every vehicle on the market, dual front airbags come standard. Anti-lock brakes remain available as an optional feature on all models, as well.
EPA Fuel Economy
Mazda Protege: 21/27 mpg city/highway
- Low price tag
- Decent amount of optional features
You Won't Like
- Usually standard features come as options
- Some optional features exclusive to different models
- Stiff competition with vehicles in the same price range
A good-quality vehicle with a rock-bottom price point.
If You Like This Vehicle
- Honda Civic
- Toyota Corolla