Last post on Jun 09, 2012 at 11:01 PM
You are in the Mazda Protege
What is this discussion about?
Mazda Protege, Sedan
#9517 of 24043 Rbrooks///Smooth...it's not the engine!!!
Mar 13, 2002 (6:38 am)
All the engines in this class of car are Buzzy at 5,000+ rpm. Every small bloc 4 cylinder engine is. My WRX is buzzy, a Civic SiR is considered buzzy, the same applies to the Celica GTS. My point was in how the powerband and the engine were engineered to perform at that RPM. For instance, the powerband in the Corolla and the new Civic are geared so that they are not pulling high rpm's at say 140km an hour in comparison to the Protege. The Corolla is albeit very quiet, but is extremely sluggish and painfully slow after 70km/hr up to the 140kmh mark. It has no power because Toyota engineers have designed the Corolla and Camry to remove the driver as much as possible from the road experience. This is their philosophy for such cars. If you look at the mid-90's Honda's, the cars had little sound dampening, stiff double wishbone suspensions and engines that were designed to be revved near redline to achieve maximum power. They were incredibly buzzy too, but not harsh, minimal vibration and pulled effortlessly all the way to that redline. Honda engineer's designed cars to associate the driver with the road. This is a main reason why young drivers loved Honda's and why these cars have the largest cult following amongst youth and aftermarket parts specialists.
Mazda changed their corporate philosophy to go back to their racing roots and create cars that were fun to drive and involved the driver with every nuance of the road. The Protege engine has a far more useable powerband than the Corolla or the new Civic. In fact, the current Protege's most closely resemble the Honda's of the 90's in terms of overall performance. The 1.8L Pro engine has no issue with revving to 6,000rpm. After that, it starts to get out of breath. It is certainly loud and buzzy, but does not vibrate wildly and still pulls the car effortlessly.
How does this make it unrefined? Just change the gearing and powerband or pop a 6 spd. shifter like they did in the Miata and the buzziness goes away.
I will agree with you that if there is one weakness with the Protege, it is certainly the engine. However, not from a lack of refinement, but from the need for more horsepower and torque and an adjusted powerband to make it more useable at higher rpm's. In that essence, more like the Protege's from 1992 through to 2000.
Please simply do not compare a Porsche with a Protege. I do not sit hear comparing my WRX against the Pro because that simply would be silly. I come in here because i truly believe the Pro is an outstanding little car for the money and that Mazda really is on track. They have really eaten into a market segment that used to be dominated by Honda. Economical cars that were a blast to drive. Zoom, zoom.
#9518 of 24043 Yes, I find it interesting that ...
Mar 13, 2002 (7:08 am)
... Toyota, and to an extent, Honda, have gone from building small cars that were fun to drive (i.e. "sporty") to building small appliance cars that are trying to emulate their more luxurious stablemates ... while Mazda has gone in the reverse direction.
To back me up, for Mazda, I'll quote Car & Driver magazine from its review of 13 small cars in 2000 (when the Protege won the contest):
"BMW verve for less than half the price. What's not to like?"
And I'll quote auto.com in its week-old review of the brand-new Corolla -- which, granted, it raved about, but here's the part that I think interests us:
"Tuned for a soft, comfortable ride, the Corolla isn't as fun to drive as the Ford Focus. Nor is it trying to be. Instead, the car is rewarding to drive. Toyota does offer an S model with higher-performance tires, slightly stiffer suspension and a peppier interior look. And if fun is the priority, Toyota is nudging drivers toward the new Matrix, a hatchback that uses the Corolla's platform and engine.
"But if the handling isn't razor-sharp, it's something just as valid in this class: balanced, poised, effortless. The ride is amazingly posh, the cabin tranquil."
Now, I know every small-car buyer in the world isn't like me or us. Some don't want a sporty, stiff ride; some are wannabe Camry, Accord and Taurus owners who just can't afford them. So they want a "posh" ride in a small sedan. Well, now they've got the new Corolla to pacify them.
But I think Honda has lost the heart of its sporting style altogether. I mean, come on -- the last-generation Civic SI LOOKED as well as drove sporty. But look at that new SI -- it looks like an overgrown Daewoo Lanos or some kind of Pokemon character. It's so bland I probably wouldn't give it a second look on the road.
#9519 of 24043 small block 4 cyl?
Mar 13, 2002 (7:19 am)
I've heard a couple of people here use the term "small block" when talking about 4 cylinders. "Small block" is a term used to distinguish certain GM V8s (283, 305, 350, 383, 400 etc.) from their "Big block" (396, 454, etc.) counterparts.
#9520 of 24043 Meade.....you are bang on.
Mar 13, 2002 (7:22 am)
For the most part, Toyota and Lexus have always designed their economy and family cars to be quiet, non-sporty type automobiles that removed the driver from the road experience. Honda used to take the other road, but have become more Toyota like in their styling and car design.
Mazda is going the other direction...
#9521 of 24043 New car31...small block
Mar 13, 2002 (7:23 am)
yes, you are right. I probably should have just said small 4-banger.
Mar 13, 2002 (7:25 am)
wow, we just barely beat out the G35 topic by 9 posts, gonna try to keep us on top in the rankings fellas?
#9523 of 24043 Ron, Ron, Ron.
Mar 13, 2002 (7:30 am)
I would say the vast majority of us in this group love our Proteges. That's why we hang out here. If we didn't, I don't think we'd all be here. So if we love our cars so much, then we're going to love (a) washing them, (b) driving 110 mph or whatever speed in them, (c) discussing how they act in different extremes of weather, and (d) enjoying driving the car with the roof open in sunny weather! And we're going to talk about loving doing these things too!
I'm sorry some of us don't know the model number of our engine and our bore and stroke or valve clearances by heart. Maybe some of us just enjoy DRIVING THE CAR! And what the heck is wrong with that?
I, and I would "assume" some others here, went through the typical car-buying experience -- we went to a dealership, test-drove the car, and enjoyed the experience so much -- after comparing it to others in its class -- that we decided to buy the car. I know that I didn't leave in my new car thinking to myself, "Well, this car would be perfect except the engine is buzzy and runs out of breath at high rpms -- it's nothing like a 1983 Porsche and really would benefit from balance shafts, which I gladly would've paid another $500 for." Actually I was quite blown away with what a wonderful and fast ECONOMY CAR engine the car has!
It's like computer owners -- some are techno-geeks and some are just plain USERS. I guess I'm more of a Protege USER than a mechanic. As long as I do my maintenance and the car stays out of the shop, I will continue to talk about how much fun it is to drive with the windows down, blow away the occasional Sentra and Civic, and generally zoom-zoom with the car. You know, I actually look forward to my commute home in the afternoon. Maybe it's Mazda's fault some of us are like this -- they went and gave the car a personality in an era when most cars in this class are viewed and marketed as appliances or technological marvels. What other economy car out there right now is marketed as a grown-up toy?
Whatever the case -- I'm not going to let discussions about someone's vague definition of "buzziness" or "smoothness" change my opinion of the car. My 35,000-mile 2000 ES 5-speed is smooth, fast, and a blast to drive. Absolutely the best bang for my 15 grand. I'm in love with this car!
#9524 of 24043 Meade....perfectly said.....
Mar 13, 2002 (7:34 am)
Couldn't add anymore if i tried. thank-you.
#9525 of 24043 You don't need to thank me ...
Mar 13, 2002 (7:46 am)
If you feel the same way! I think we've been paying too much homage to the techno-gods lately anyway. Let's get some more stories about fun Protege experiences in here! I want to hear Ashu -- a recent West Coast-to-East Coast transplant -- talk about his first trip down Virginia's Skyline Drive in his Protege! What about those little "surveys" we used to conduct -- I think the last one asked what was the most stuff you ever hauled in your Protege? Let's add a dose of FUN in here with the techno stuff!
Or maybe the fun content has migrated over to the Yahoo! group for some reason .....
Mar 13, 2002 (8:00 am)
Some believe that when you can't be with the one you love, love the one you're with. For your 15k, now 16+k for the '02s, certainly the best value there is period.
Love is not a term I'll use to describe my Protege. For the money a very good car and best in class. I'll leave it at that.