Mazda Protege

The Mazda Protege is a small family car that Mazda manufactured from 1964 to 2003 as part of its Familia line. The Mazda3/Axela replaced the Familia line in 2004.

More on the Mazda Protege
Mazda Protege Origins

The Mazda Protege sells as the Familia in Japan. In North America, the GLC replaces the 1200 model, and newer models become the Mazda 323 and Protege. In Europe, all post-1977 models have the name 323. In 1991, the manufacturer rebranded the Familia as the Ford Escort and Mercury Tracer in North America.

About the Mazda Protege

The Mazda Protege serves as a safe and reliable car for families. As the lifespan of the Protege progresses, it gains recognition as a good car for senior citizens because of its safety and size.

Mazda Protege Features

The 2003 Mazda Protege has four doors and seats five passengers. It comes in three trims: DX, LX, and ES. All three trims come equipped with a two-liter, four-cylinder engine that produce 130 horsepower and 135 lb-ft of torque. A five-speed manual transmission, as well as MacPherson strut front and multi-link rear suspensions come standard.

Some standard features include cloth bucket front seats, a remote trunk release, 15-inch tires, intermittent windshield wipers, a rear defogger, and a split-folding rear seat. It also has a tilt steering wheel and a four-speaker stereo system with in-dash CD player.

Mazda Protege Evolution

The first Familia, which later became known as the Protege, appeared on the market in October 1963, but only came as a commercial, two-door wagon called the Familia Van. In April 1964, a plusher Familia Wagon joined the Van. Then a four-door sedan added to the lineup in October of the same year, followed by a two-door model in November. Private car versions receive fog lights in the grille as well as more chrome trim. The Familia sells in other markets as the 800.

The cars use a four-stroke, aluminum, inline-four engine, also known as the White Engine. An all new Familia 1000 Coupe arrived in November 1965. Around the same time, the 800 engine received an upgrade, adding three extra horsepower. Production of the sedan continued until November 1967, while the Van versions continued until February 1968.

The new Familia appeared in 1967, marking the beginning of the second generation with the same pushrod 987 cc engine as used in the previous generation sedans. A larger engine version came along later. In this form, the car debuted in Europe at the 1968 Paris Motor Show.

Mazda began producing the Familia with the new overhead camshaft, 1.3-liter, TC engine in 1970, an engine that was crafted from the smaller 1-liter, OHC engine already powering the first generation Familia Coupe. The sedan and coupe received updates in 1973, but the other versions continued with little change. In 1978, a Van/Wagon version of the succeeding FA4 Familia, which later became the 323/GLC in other markets, debuted. The later pickup versions also offer a long-wheelbase version and feature a version of the 1.3-liter, TC engine that complies with Japanese emissions standards for passenger cars.

Mazda offered the 1200 in the U.S. in 1971 and again for the 1973 model year. The 1971 version represents the first piston-powered Familia sold in the U.S. and got replaced by the somewhat larger 808 the next year. The 1200 model returned for 1973 as the base-model economy Mazda.

In 1973, Mazda updated the second generation Familia and presented the Familia Presto (FA3). It has a wider body and the front and rear show a redesign. The van/wagon and truck models retain their original bodywork. Mazda discontinued the Rotary Coupé, having replaced it with the larger Grand Familia-based RX-3/Savanna. Production of the second generation Familia ended in January 1977, just months after getting some minor exterior tweaks and emissions upgrades in 1976.

The Familia AP goes by the name GLC, or Great Little Car, in North America and debuted in January 1977 as a rear-drive subcompact, replacing both the Grand Familia and the preceding Familia. Buyers have a choice of hatchbacks and station wagon bodies. The Station Wagon/Van version arrived a bit later, debuting in June 1978. Mazda offers three engines, and only uses the little one-liter unit for export markets.

When the Familia entered the market in 1980, it marked Mazda's first front-engine, front-drive, subcompact car available as a hatchback and sedan. It resulted from collaboration with Ford Motor Company in 1979. The new Mazda E engine-series serves solely this car. The equivalent American GLC model appeared in 1981 with a single engine. It remained in production until 1985 when the next-generation Mazda 323 replaced it; the GLC nameplate retired. It served as the only front-drive Mazda vehicle using the GLC name.

Select a Mazda Protege Year

2003 Mazda Protege

Compact, Sedan

The 2003 Mazda Protege is much more fun to drive than the average economy sedan, fitting in well with Mazda’s “zoom-zoom? promotional campaign.

2002 Mazda Protege

Compact, Sedan

The 2002 Mazda Protege is a four-door sedan that seats five passengers.

2001 Mazda Protege

Compact, Sedan

The 2001 Mazda Protege is an affordable, reliable sedan that’s a terrific ride for the money.

2000 Mazda Protege

Compact, Sedan

The 2000 Mazda Protege marks the second year of production for this small sedan.

1999 Mazda Protege

Compact, Sedan

The 1999 Mazda Protege fills the role of a bargain vehicle in the carmaker’s lineup.

1998 Mazda Protege

Compact, Sedan

The 1998 Mazda Protege is a front-drive, four-door sedan that boasts the biggest interior in its class, along with an ample amount of luxury and attractive style.

1997 Mazda Protege

Compact, Sedan

The 1997 Mazda Protege is a front-drive, four-door sedan that boasts the biggest interior in its class, along with an ample amount of luxury and attractive style.

1996 Mazda Protege

Compact, Sedan

As an economically-priced compact sedan, the 1996 Mazda Protege comes with a modest 1.

1995 Mazda Protege

Compact, Sedan

The 1995 Mazda Protege is in the seventh generation of the Familia lineup.