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Kelley Blue Book ® - 2001 Mazda Protege Overview

Vehicle Overview from Kelley Blue Book

KBB.com 2001 Mazda Protege Overview

Distinctive, Yet Reasonably Priced

Since its inception, the Mazda Protege has offered its owners a little something above and beyond the ordinary four-door economy sedan. From its comfortable seats to its lengthy standard-equipment list to its roomy interior, the Protege has become a favorite among those who desire a reasonably priced yet distinctive sedan. For 2001, the Protege continues to be offered in three trim levels: the DX, LX and ES.

All three models tout new sheet metal that is clean and angular, conveying the look of a much more expensive car. The new grille and front-end treatment lend to the enthusiast theme Mazda has adopted with its "Zoom-Zoom" add campaign. ES models are fitted with 16-inch five-spoke sport wheels, four-wheel disc brakes, a rear spoiler and fog lights. A new 130-horsepower 2.0-liter engine is standard on the ES and LX 2.0 models while the base DX and LX make do with a frugal 103-horsepower 1.6-liter engine. All are available with either a 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic transmission.

The interiors are beautifully laid out, with multiple fabrics and textured plastics cleverly melded together. ES models include aluminum dash trim, white-faced gauges and cloth sport seats with extra side bolstering. All three models benefit from a new center console design that includes a modular AM/FM audio system which can be configured to include a CD, cassette and even a minidisc player. All models also get a lockable 60/40-split fold-down rear seat. Optional side-impact airbags are available, but only on models equipped with the 2.0-liter engine.

Mazda has paid close attention to both steering and suspension, giving the Protege a tight, connected feel with the road. Drawing from their experience with Miata roadster, Mazda engineers have given the new Protege an edge over the competition, especially noticeable on the ES model, with its aggressive 16-inch tires and more powerful engine.

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