The Mazda Protege model was introduced in the early 90s. However, it has long been around even before the 90s. It was first conceptualized as an "every man's" car in Japan during the 60s. It was aptly named the Familia. With Mazda's continued surge in the worldwide market, it sought to earn recognition and respect; mainly in the Western territories. That's why Mazda tied up with Ford and rebranded their effervescent Familia to the Protege. With so much history within its name, it's bound to have some problematic incarnations. Here are the top complaints about the Mazda Protege.
The most common problem encountered by the Mazda Protege is misfiring and hesitation of the engine. It has been hounding the Protege for years, ever since it was first introduced to the market. Many reported that within 75,000 to 100,000 miles, misfires occur under heavy acceleration. This was verified by many sources and the culprits linked to this problem are leaky spark plug boots. When the spark plug boot leaks, the spark will arc and disrupt the otherwise, smooth flow of combustion in the engine.
In the recent Protege models (less than 15 years ago), power train problems, particularly with the automatic transmission, have turned up in many owner's testimonials. According to them, the Protege lets off some unsettling noises whenever it shifts or hesitates in shifting. Up to this date, many owners are left unsatisfied because this untreated problem is still not resolved, even if they already went to the dealers.
Possibly one of the more disconcerting and dangerous issues that Mazda Protege owner's have to face is the inability of some Proteges to deploy air bags. Worrying reports about drivers crashing their cars in speeds well over 30 mph, yet the air bags didn't deploy. This is a huge hole Mazda has to climb out off. This complaint could easily be the most high profile and most life threatening of all.
In 1995, a recall from NHTSA required almost 52,000 units of the 1995 Mazda Protege be remedied because of unnecessary air bag deployments. Tie down hooks installed in the Protege could inadvertently deploy air bags even without crashing. This could cause injuries, and the risk of vehicular accidents will be heightened.
Fast-forward five to six years, another recall was made by the NHTSA. This time, a problem with left rear brake hoses needed urgent attention. According to them, the left rear brake hose were damaged during assembly. This will induce brake fluid leakage during application and the risk of crashing the vehicle will be elevated.
It may be called the Protege in the United States and Canada, but it was originally called Mazda Familia when it first debuted in Japan during the early 60s. Through the years, the Protege has adapted many different names, each distinctive in their own territories. It was called Mazda 323 in Europe and Mazda Etude in South Africa, just to name a few.
In the 80s, a partnership with Ford gave birth to the rebranding of Protege as the Ford Laser in the North American market and Ford Meteor in Australia. Meanwhile, during the brink of the 90s, it was rebranded as the Ford Escort and Mercury Tracer in the United States and Canada.
How is the Mazda Protege linked to the biggest war mankind has ever seen? It has more links to the Second World War than you think. For one, the first generation of the Protege (called Familia at that time) was manufactured in the plant located in Hiroshima, the city best known as the first city to be targeted by an atomic bomb. Also, before Mazda became a car manufacturer, it was first known as a weapons maker; supplying Japan with armaments such as pistols and rifles to be used during World War II. The company was named Toyo Kogyo at that time.
The Familia line, from which the Protege owed its existence, is one of the earliest cars made by Mazda.
The first generation of the Familia, the predecessor of the Protege, was one of the earliest Japanese cars designed by revered and decorated car designer Giorgetto Giugiaro.
The fourth generation Familia is the first to Mazda christened with Protege model. It was Mazda's first front-engine, front-wheel drive subcompact car. This new design can be attributed to the co-developer of the Protege, Ford. It was introduced to the North American market in the early 90s.
In 1968, Mazda added their famous Rotary model to the line-up. It employs a Rotary-Wankel engine distinct to the Mazda brand. However, it was discontinued in favor of the larger Mazda Savanna, marking the last time this kind of engine set-up was used in this model.