The Protegé remains a solid small-sedan choice.
For 2002, Mazda dropped the weak 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine in favor of the smooth, 130-hp 2.0-liter, which is now standard on all models.
Handling is fairly nimble and secure, but the ride is stiff and choppy.
Interior room is spacious for a small sedan and includes a fairly comfortable rear seat.
A four-door hatchback/wagon, called the Protegé5, joined the line.
Large fog lights, wide tires, and exaggerated bodywork lend it a sportier appearance.
It was discontinued after the 2003 model year, replaced by the Mazda 3.