Review 5 of 308|
from Sansone Rt 1 Auto Ma
Year / Model Reviewed:
2003 Mazdaspeed Protege
HANDLING. This is the best handling FWD car I have ever driven. The suspension is taut but fairly compliant. It differs from the base Protege with upgraded components like Tokico dampers. It has a very neutral balance with minimal understeer. In fact, you can even coax out some oversteer with this car, something truly remarkable for a FWD.
POWER: Peppy turbocharged 4-cylinder. Small turbo means turbo lag is barely noticable. 170HP/160TQ stock. 0-60 in 7 flat, 1/4 mile in 15 flat. This car is quick enough for day-to-day driving.
LOOKS: 17" Racing Hart 5-spoke rims. Low profile 205/45/17 tires. Sparco shift knob & pedals. Unique stitching on steering wheel, shift knob boot, and seats. Leather-wrapped two-tone steering wheel by Nardi. Rear spoiler is large but not insane. Mild body kit (bumpers & side skirts) looks sharp and not overdone.
NO CRUISE CONTROL: The front strut tower brace doesn't give clearance for the cruise control assembly.
TRANSMISSION: Gearbox is notchy, 1->2 shift gives problems sometimes
POWER: Low-boost turbo could use some more ooomph to compete with similar cars (esp. SRT-4)
TORQUE STEER: Good low-end torque gives some fairly strong torque steer
COMMON PROBLEMS: Clunk from the rear suspension from inferior sway bar bushings. Free replacement to an upgraded part under warranty.
PCM: The stock fuel & timing maps need a lot of work.
Turbocharged version of the Protege with a limited-slip differential. Also includes suspension, stereo, interior, and wheel upgrades from the factory.
Similar Products Used:
Dodge Neon SRT-4
Ford Focus SVT
Honda Civic SI
Mitsu EVO VIII