2002 Mazda Protege5

  • 2002 Mazda Protege5 Base Wagon

    Base Wagon

    • MAX MPG
    • SEATS
    • ENGINE
      2.0L I4
    • MSRP
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2002 Mazda Protege5 Review

Good fuel economy and value, but you may find better performance and ride comfort from competitors.

Reviewed by Automotive on


The 2002 Mazda Protege5 classifies as a four-door hatchback that seats five passengers. It claims a heritage that dates back to the 1977 Mazda GLC (Good Little Car) hatchback. Mazda aims to create a sporty hatchback with good seating and cargo flexibility, which prompts them to create a wagon version of the Protege and name it the Protege5. It offers either a five-speed manual transmission or a four-speed automatic.

Mazda also wants to attract a younger audience by giving the Protege5 five youth-oriented exterior paint colors: Mica Black, Midnight Mica Blue, Vivid Yellow, Pure White, and Sunlight Silver Metallic. It also saves money at the gas station by getting it smaller, with a wheelbase of 102.8 inches.

The Range

Body Styles: hatchback
Engines: 2.0-liter four-cylinder
Transmissions: five-speed manual, four-speed automatic
Models: Mazda Protege5

What's New

For 2002, the Protege5 receives a re-tuned chassis to produce more responsive handling. Mazda also makes the Protege5 the only model in this family to get optional leather upholstery.


The 2002 Mazda Protege5 exterior standard features include: 16-inch alloy wheels, a power remote driver mirror, a rear roof spoiler, power steering, intermittent windshield wipers, a rear defogger, power windows and locks, a rear window wiper, a roof rack, remote keyless entry, and an optional power moonroof.

The exterior of the Protege5 looks similar to the Protege, except it has a wagon rear end. The front end looks aggressive and it has additional side skirts. It has front and rear air dams and side sills. Its bumpers, protective molding, and door handles use a monochromatic color scheme, and the black grille features a large Mazda logo. Its huge front fog lights sit low and look similar to the limited-edition Protege MP3.


Standard interior features for the 2002 Mazda Protege5 include air-conditioning, cruise control, speed-sensitive power steering, a leather-wrapped tilt steering wheel with cruise controls, a six-speaker AM/FM/CD stereo system, cloth upholstery, height-adjustable front bucket seats, a 60/40-slit rear bench seat, leather trim on the shift knob, and remote trunk release.

The interior features dark charcoal trim with silver accents. The white-faced gauges look easy to see and read. The center panel and side treatments look like carbon fiber and the seats feel comfortable and supportive. The front seats provide plenty of room, but the rear bench seat makes a tight fit for three adults. Entry and exit to the rear compartment seems easy for a car of this size and class. You get plenty of cargo room in the 2002 Protege5 and you can fold down the rear seats without removing the headrests.

The controls seem small and awkward to operate, and the electronic display seems to be rather busy and requires more than a glance to glean the information you need. The overall interior design looks pleasant, but it lacks quality of construction in the door and trunk lid closings.

Performance & Handling

The 2002 Protege5 draws power from a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine that produces 130 horsepower and 135 lb-ft of torque. It mates with a four-speed automatic transmission, rack and pinion steering, front drive, and front and rear strut suspension systems. The automatic transmission has a manual gear-shift feature. The front and rear stabilizer bars get more rigid to lend the Protege5 to a more sporty performance.

The 2002 Mazda Protege5 gives a smooth ride on even pavement, but you feel every bump on rougher roads. The steering responds quickly and precisely, and handling feels good due to the stiffer suspension and performance tires. Braking proves adequate, but not outstanding. Acceleration with the automatic transmission seems good until you need to pass someone in traffic or climb a hill, then the engine strains. The manual transmission fares slightly better in acceleration. Engine and tire noise sounds prominent in the cabin, and the tires produce a constant thrumming sound when cruising. At slower speeds, the cabin gets quieter.


Standard safety features for the Protege5 include driver and front-passenger airbags, rear-door child safety locks, ventilated front disc brakes, and emergency trunk release. An anti-theft alarm system, side-impact airbags, and an anti-lock braking system (ABS) remain optional.

The 2002 Mazda Protege5 earns five stars for driver frontal-impact protection and four stars for passenger frontal-impact and side-impact protection from the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA). The NHTSA also awards the Protege5 three stars for side-impact protection.

EPA Fuel Economy

Mazda Protege5, manual: 25/31 mpg city/highway
Mazda Protege5, automatic: 25/30 mpg city/highway

You'll Like

  • Decent fuel economy
  • Quick, responsive steering
  • Good braking power
  • Sporty styling
  • Lots of standard features

You Won't Like

  • Sluggish automatic transmission
  • Noisy cabin
  • Overall ride not smooth

Sum Up

Good fuel economy and value, but you may find better performance and ride comfort from competitors.

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