trigun7469 Reader
Oct. 1, 2013 1:06 p.m.

I am interested in picking up a Protege5, Mazda 6 (Hatch), or a Mazda 3 (Hatch) manual. Anybody have any positive or negative experiences? What should I be looking for?

Javelin MegaDork
Oct. 1, 2013 1:19 p.m.

The Protege5 is very small and pretty slow. The Mazda3 is a huge step up in quality, power, and interior size. Get the 2.3 or 2.5 versions (s), skip the 2.0 (i). The Mazda6 hatch is a rare bird and pretty slow with the 4-cylinder (i), but eats gas with the V6 (s). The Mazda6 wagon is much more useful and easier to find, but they are all V6-only. A Mazda6 wagon with a manual is a "unicorn car" and usually commands premium pricing.

I would aim for the Mazda3 hatch in S trim. Lots made, very good selection, and the best mileage of the grouping.

FYI - The Mazda5 is a Mazda3 with a taller roof, sliding doors, and a 3rd row. I have one and it's great! If you are looking for family room in a fun handling package, drive one. As a bonus it's dirt cheap because only bizarro people like us want a van with a stick.

Swank Force One MegaDork
Oct. 1, 2013 1:27 p.m.

Depends on your purposes. If you're looking between the three cars and the Mazdaspeed variants aren't on the list, then i'd just go ahead and skip the Mazda3.

The P5 if you want slower, lighter, and nimbler, and a motor that i'm really anything but fond of. Also: better looks. (subjective.)

The Mazda6, i'd take mine in V6 and manual trim and roll it as a luxury daily driver. (luxury for me, that is.)

z31maniac
z31maniac UltimaDork
Oct. 1, 2013 1:32 p.m.
Javelin wrote: The Protege5 is very small and pretty slow. The Mazda3 is a huge step up in quality, power, and interior size. Get the 2.3 or 2.5 versions (s), skip the 2.0 (i). The Mazda6 hatch is a rare bird and pretty slow with the 4-cylinder (i), but eats gas with the V6 (s). The Mazda6 wagon is much more useful and easier to find, but they are all V6-only. A Mazda6 wagon with a manual is a "unicorn car" and usually commands premium pricing. I would aim for the Mazda3 hatch in S trim. *Lots* made, very good selection, and the best mileage of the grouping. FYI - The Mazda5 is a Mazda3 with a taller roof, sliding doors, and a 3rd row. I have one and it's great! If you are looking for family room in a fun handling package, drive one. As a bonus it's dirt cheap because only bizarro people like us want a van with a stick.

I thought the 2.3 was the MazdaSpeed engine?

Or was it an option on the earlier 3s, pre-smiley face?

The0retical HalfDork
Oct. 1, 2013 1:42 p.m.

In reply to Swank Force One:

At the risk of sounding like a fanboi, I'd disagree with you about skipping the 3. My parents an '08 3 hatch Grand Touring with 2.3L with the 5 speed. I really enjoyed that car, it handled well, drove well, and got pretty good gas mileage. I actually drove it back and forth to Columbus Ohio a few times from the Poconos for job interviews, I even got stuck in a snow storm and the car was very well mannered with just all season tires. Throw snow tires on it and it would go through just about anything.

I'm actually trying to think of a single problem encountered with it and nothing comes to mind. They just traded it in on an MX-5 and bought a CX-5 the 3 had close to 70k on it and was 5 years old.

I actually liked the slushbox Skyactiv 3 I had as a rental a couple months ago and if I needed a cheap beater for a city commuter it'd be high on my list.

I haven't had any issues with my MS3 but I don't have that many miles on it yet for lack of being around to drive it.

The0retical HalfDork
Oct. 1, 2013 1:46 p.m.
z31maniac wrote: I thought the 2.3 was the MazdaSpeed engine? Or was it an option on the earlier 3s, pre-smiley face?

It was the upper end engine on the older ones. The 2.5 is filling it's space up to 2014, the 2.3 was retired to only the MS3 post 2009.

Swank Force One MegaDork
Oct. 1, 2013 1:50 p.m.

In review, i made that sound pretty harsh. I know the Mazda3 is a good vehicle.

I'm just a little weirded out by the cross-shopping and just went whole hog for small vs. big.

And i like the way the 1g 6 looks.

The0retical HalfDork
Oct. 1, 2013 1:51 p.m.
Swank Force One wrote: And i like the way the 1g 6 looks.

I wish I could find a MS6 cheap because I do too.

wvumtnbkr HalfDork
Oct. 1, 2013 1:52 p.m.

there are two different 2.3. The MS3 AND MS6 had teh 2.3 Turbo. Different engine than the one found in the lesser models that had a 2.3.

Rob R.

Swank Force One MegaDork
Oct. 1, 2013 1:54 p.m.
The0retical wrote:
Swank Force One wrote: And i like the way the 1g 6 looks.

I wish I could find a MS6 because I do too.

I can't decide if i'd want an MS6 or an MZ6 with the V6 and manual, fully loaded.

I don't really need another go-fast rocket, but a nice highway cruiser could be fun.

Klayfish SuperDork
Oct. 1, 2013 1:55 p.m.

The Protege is an awesome little car. Underpowered, yes, but so is the Miata. Yet it's still incredibly fun to drive. Very reliable. I put a lot of miles on one with no issues besides routine maintenance. The 3 is the evolution of the Protege. Has more power, but is also thirstier. Never owned one, but test drove them many times. If you can afford it, I'd pick it over the Protege simply because it's newer and more refined.

Don't have much experience with the 6, but the wagon/hatch are cool looking.

itsarebuild HalfDork
Oct. 1, 2013 2:19 p.m.

The GF just bought a 3 and my thoughts are its a mighty big car to be able to fit nothing.... But that is what it fits.

Visibility out the back also sucks. Non hatch is probably better all around.

Dashboard is in your knees. And I'm only 5'8". Airbags may help my head but my legs will be toast,

It does drive nice. Nothing amazing about it, but nice. Has good passing power.

SilverFleet SuperDork
Oct. 1, 2013 2:28 p.m.

Mazdas = affordable cars for people who enjoy driving. Any of the cars listed would be fine drivers.

mndsm UltimaDork
Oct. 1, 2013 2:34 p.m.

I'm partial to the ms3, but...I has one. All are good cars, though I'm with SF1, not a huge fan of the motor/driveline in the P5. If you're talking 4 banger Mz6- they tend to be a bit underpowered IMO, unless you step up to the Mazdaspeed.

Jeff SuperDork
Oct. 1, 2013 2:38 p.m.

They rust. All of them. Other than that, they are great cars for what they are.

AngryCorvair PowerDork
Oct. 1, 2013 2:40 p.m.

i have an '03 6s sedan, V6 MT. every time i drive it, i say "dang, i love this car!"

ymmv

ebonyandivory HalfDork
Oct. 1, 2013 2:48 p.m.

Yes, rust. Just stay on top of it.

2002 Protege5 manual (my avatar).

Sticks to the road, very fun vehicle and they are getting quite cheap. I have MazdaSpeed springs and KYBs, Brembo discs and a B&M short shifter.

Very fun ride. I'm selling it due to my large family but its fantastic for smaller families. Speaking of size, I'm 6'-3" and 260lbs and fit fine!

Vigo UberDork
Oct. 1, 2013 2:52 p.m.
Javelin wrote: Get the 2.3 or 2.5 versions (s), skip the 2.0 (i). ... I would aim for the Mazda3 hatch in S trim. *Lots* made, very good selection, and the best mileage of the grouping.

Huh? If you're concerned with mileage skip the 2.3 and 2.5 and get a 2.0. It blows the 2.3 and 2.5 cars out of the water and im pretty sure a 2.0 mazda3 is still faster than a 2.3 or 2.5 mazda6.

The GF just bought a 3 and my thoughts are its a mighty big car to be able to fit nothing.... Visibility out the back also sucks. Non hatch is probably better all around. Dashboard is in your knees. And I'm only 5'8".

Interesting. I'm 6'0 and had no issues with space. Maybe what you're really looking for is adjustable pedals rather than a different dash design. That way your height wouldnt change how far you are from the dashboard very much.

z31maniac
z31maniac UltimaDork
Oct. 1, 2013 3:01 p.m.
The0retical wrote:
z31maniac wrote: I thought the 2.3 was the MazdaSpeed engine? Or was it an option on the earlier 3s, pre-smiley face?

It was the upper end engine on the older ones. The 2.5 is filling it's space up to 2014, the 2.3 was retired to only the MS3 post 2009.

That's what I was thinking since I know the only options on the wife's 2010 were 2.0 and 2.5, and of course my MS3 was 2.3.

Javelin MegaDork
Oct. 1, 2013 3:05 p.m.

In reply to z31maniac:

The naturally aspirated 2.3L is the optional motor for the "s" trim Mazda3 sedan and hatch and Mazda6 sedan and hatch, and the standard engine in the Mazda5 from 2004-2009. The DISI 2.3L (turbocharged, intercooled, and direct-injected) is the engine in the Mazdaspeed3 and Mazdaspeed6. The current 2.5L N/A motor replaced the N/A 2.3L at each models facelift.

Sonic SuperDork
Oct. 1, 2013 3:27 p.m.

All of the first generation 3 "s" models had the 2.3, that's was what the s meant, all of the i models had the 2.0. All hatches were s models.

We have an 07 hatch 5 spd. It's been awesome, very reliable, fun to drive, usually gets 28-30mpg. The only repairs were an a/c compressor under warranty, motor mount at about 70k, and a coil pack I fried by pressure washing the motor. Now at 132k it still looks and runs great. We did shocks at 75k (Koni FSD and eibach springs) brakes for the first time at 100k along with plugs, clutch at 115k, otherwise just fluids. It's a great car that can carry lots with the seats down, I'm 6' and fit comfortably for 7 hour drives. We've considered replacing it but it just serves us too well. I highly recommend it.

Oct. 1, 2013 3:28 p.m.

Every protege I see suffers from rust easily and there rear brakes are like VW parts (mid year changes, variety of options based on trims) not a huge deal but a hassle from my experience.

3 is a good car but for either you can describe (almost) every mazda as "needs about 10-20 more hp"

also that era had bad radios, like most fords back then.

In 2004 the wagon was an 7.8% option, about 224k mazda6's that year. 17,500 wagons made for SAE market (USA/CAN). So figure (for math's sake) half of the wagons are manual, its a 4% option.

7000 manual wagons

and for maths sake lets say that half of the manual wagons are leather interior. (probably more of a 60/40 split cloth/leather but this is assumption)

Only 3500 wagons to the USA with leather manual or cloth manual.

and that is the largest year of wagons that made it here, 05-08 saw about 5,100 wagons each year...

To give you perspective there are 3000 galant VR4s that made it to the states and they built the wagon for SAE market in Flat Rock, MI.

Blitzed306 Reader
Oct. 1, 2013 3:37 p.m.

I had a 08 touring with the 5 speed. I bought it with 2600 on the clock and sold it with 100k on it. Never had the first problem... NOTHING broke. I beat it like a rental car. I liked it a lot, But I hated the way the shifter felt. and it was a little noisy inside. but I'll blame the cheap tires I had on it. I would recomend one to anybody. I have never driven a automatic or skyactiv

Javelin MegaDork
Oct. 1, 2013 3:38 p.m.

In reply to Sonic:

You are entirely correct. I was trying to say the s was optional (over the base model i). All s's of course have the 2.3 (and now the 2.5).

fornetti14 HalfDork
Oct. 1, 2013 7:46 p.m.

I had a '05 M6i with the 2.3L and 5-speed. It was a nice car that was underpowered by about 20 HP.  photo Mazda62.jpg

It started to rust so after about 3 years I bailed...

And just picked up a MS6. Now I can get to where I'm going in a freakin' hurry.
They are both nice cars and I haven't had much trouble with either of them.  photo ms6.jpg

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