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2000 Mazda Protege Review
Tough to beat.
Reviewed by Automotive on
The 2000 Mazda Protege marks the second year of production for this small sedan. It competes directly against the Honda Civic and the Toyota Corolla. Due to its recent build, it has more than enough to offer, and may be the best in its class.
The exterior looks extremely attractive, and the interior feels comfortable to boot. Although it uses some cheap materials, most find more than enough to love about the Mazda Protege.
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 2000 Mazda Protege receives a new anti-lock brake system and front side airbags on the LX and ES premium packages. The inner door handles receives chrome plating. The steering wheel adds the Mazda symbol. A new exterior color, Twilight Blue Mica, debuts.
The 2000 Protege measures 174 inches long, making it one inch shorter than its main competition, the Honda Civic. The exterior of the 2000 Mazda Protege makes it one of the most handsome small sedans on the market. It has plenty of creased sheet metal and brushed aluminum to make it appear a bit more expensive than it really is.
Standard exterior features on the DX include 14-inch wheels. A rear spoiler remains optional. The LX includes the same features, plus power windows, power locks, and power exterior mirrors. It offers optional keyless entry, lighted entry, and a power moonroof. The ES upgrades the wheels to 15-inch alloy wheels and a standard lighted and keyless entry system.
The 2000 Mazda Protege offers enough room for five passengers and then some. In fact, the Protege has a lot more room than most small cars, with an interior size of 92.6 cubic feet. Legroom and headroom in the back accommodates passengers of any size. The trunk measures in at 12.9 cubic feet. The rear seat of the Protege folds down to extend that area by a few feet.
The seats feel exceptionally comfortable. The LX and ES have a cushion angle adjustment that increases comfort. The driving position itself seems very comfortable, with a properly sized and cushioned steering wheel, as well as great pedal placement. In fact, passengers find a lot of comfort throughout the cabin. The armrests on the door come nicely padded, and plenty of storage pockets throughout the Protege accommodate the driver and passengers.
Unfortunately, Mazda uses lots of subpar plastics, giving the interior a cheap feel. Luckily, the rest of the cabin makes up for the lack of quality materials.
Standard equipment in the base DX includes bucket seats, a center console, tinted glass, cloth seating, power steering, remote trunk release, and a tilt steering wheel. Optional items include air-conditioning, an AM/FM/cassette system, or a CD player audio system.
Standard equipment on the LX includes everything that comes with the DX but adds a CD player. Optional features include a special audio system.
Finally, the ES includes air-conditioning and a special audio system.
Performance & Handling
The 2000 Protege comes equipped with one of two engine types. The DX and LX come equipped with a 1.6-liter, four-cylinder engine that produces 105 horsepower. The ES employs a 1.8-liter engine that produces 122 horsepower. All models come equipped with either a four-speed automatic or a five-speed manual transmission.
The 2000 Mazda Protege gets fairly good acceleration all around, although those wanting a bit more power should opt for the 1.8-liter engine, which really gets moving. On the road, the Mazda Protege handles itself well, turning through corners with minimal body roll. Performance and ride quality of the suspension compares to all other vehicles on the market. The engine sounds a bit loud on the road, but the noise does not overwhelm occupants.
The 2000 Mazda Protege comes equipped with driver and passenger front airbags. The NHTSA gives the Mazda Protege four out of five stars for driver and passenger safety, as well as for side impacts to the rear of the vehicle. The Protege only receives three out of five stars for front side impacts. The IIHS gives the Mazda Protege an overall safety score of “acceptable.?
EPA Fuel Economy
Mazda Protege 1.6-liter, four-speed automatic: 23/30 city mpg city/highway
Mazda Protege 1.8-liter, five-speed manual: 22/28 city mpg city/highway
Mazda Protege 1.8-liter, four-speed automatic: 21/27 city mpg city/highway
- Great styling
- Comfortable seating
- Nice acceleration
You Won't Like
- Weird interior
- No wagon offered
Tough to beat.
If You Like This Vehicle
- Chevrolet Cavalier
- Ford Focus
- Honda Civic