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Old 03-03-2012, 06:29 PM   #1
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DD: 1.6EL vs Protege 8th Gen

yes..another help me choose a DD car thread.

I'm finishing up school and looking to buy a budget commuter car. I like Honda but don't want high insurance costs for two door integras/civics etc

I have narrowed it down to 1.6EL and 8th gen Protege. Preferably the 98-00 1.6EL and facelifted 01-03 protege.

my requirements:
- manual
- clean title
- accepts 89 octane...incredible gas mileage
- preferably <200 k mileage and no rust


Did a general search and found these:
2001 Mazda Protege Reliability - MSN Autos
Common EL Problems

not going to read 200+ page EL thread..and not sure if American Proteges have issues that apply to canadian models as they are different specs.

looking for past/current owners to chime in on common problems, reliability, etc. Don't know which canadian make/model-specific forum to look for and not sure if they would still be active for these older models.

Thanks!
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Old 03-03-2012, 06:49 PM   #2
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I've got an 03 mazdaspeed protege that I picked up a few months ago. Haven't had any issues with it so far. The only common problem I can think of right now is that in these proteges it's sometimes hard to put into reverse gear, so occasionally I'd have to pop to neutral and clutch in again before i can get it in. The car seats feel pretty comfortable imo, but cabin noise seems a bit loud.

Mazdas247.com is still quite active.
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Old 03-03-2012, 07:25 PM   #3
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dont quote me, but I think alot of cars needs you to double clutch to go into the reverse gear, is to make sure you dont accidentally mis-shift when you are moving foward
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Old 03-03-2012, 07:27 PM   #4
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Don't bother looking for EL specific problems, the only differences between it and a 6th gen civic are cosmetic.
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Old 03-03-2012, 07:42 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pawdregry4g View Post
I've got an 03 mazdaspeed protege that I picked up a few months ago. Haven't had any issues with it so far. The only common problem I can think of right now is that in these proteges it's sometimes hard to put into reverse gear, so occasionally I'd have to pop to neutral and clutch in again before i can get it in. The car seats feel pretty comfortable imo, but cabin noise seems a bit loud.

Mazdas247.com is still quite active.
I see..had to double check that the mazdaspeed has the same tranny as its lower trims. I don't mind loud cabin noise...I'm not driving a luxury saloon. I'll look into that forum.
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Don't bother looking for EL specific problems, the only differences between it and a 6th gen civic are cosmetic.
I guess i'm now looking for common 6th gen civic problems as well..i take it that the internals are interchangable = cheaper parts?
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Old 03-03-2012, 07:51 PM   #6
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I drive and own a 99' 1.6EL,

It has 236,000km on it and it drives just fine. 45L tank gets me around 375-400km and I drive with a slightly heavy foot. No major problems, other than it wouldn't start after 3 months of sitting (needed starter). Reliability is just like any Honda, really good. Parts are cheap, easy to find cause it's just a Civic underneath. The 1.6EL is a Civic EX, if you're looking at specific engine parts. But cosmetic parts might take a bit of research like a front lip to a new hood, but there are some out there !

For a daily driver, it's pretty good especially for around city driving. More power would be nice, as I find myself shifting from 5th to 4th @ 60kph just to keep up while going up a incline.

Seats are alright (I got cloth) and they do what they do decently. The worse thing about this, is the cup holders, they suck ass and I end up using the side pockets as holders. You can always swap it out for a Civic one which is much better.

As for year to year differences, the 97-98 vs 99-00 have different grills and mirrors (one piece vs ones which fold). Other then that, I don't think theres any other differences.
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Old 03-03-2012, 07:52 PM   #7
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we had our 2000 1.6EL for 6 years, bought it brand new, didn't really have many problems

from the top of my head: we replaced the coolant hose... and had to replace a few of the shitty stock michelin tires
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Old 03-03-2012, 08:23 PM   #8
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I find the EL to be pretty cramped and pretty gutless, I would go for the protege 5 + you get the hatch for extra storage, and the protege has pretty good handling from the factory.

also insurance for the EL is surprisingly high for what it is, its 2k plus for pleasure use with 30% discount.
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Old 03-03-2012, 09:04 PM   #9
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EL/ civic = cheaper parts but more expensive insurance
Protege = cheaper insurance but more expensive parts

As posted above a protege 5 is very nice...however I don't see a lot for sale.
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Old 03-03-2012, 09:28 PM   #10
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http://www.revscene.net/forums/64579...out-there.html

I had a number of comments here about my 2003 Protege 5. Fantastic car with awesome reliability. Never had any work done on it the whole time I had it, two oil changes a year and that was it.
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Old 03-03-2012, 09:38 PM   #11
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I bought a '01 Protege ES for my brother last year. You get a lot of car for the money (ES/P5 model) but there are some niggling minor issues..

- Plugged EGR
- Idle surges (check for cracks in the snorkel leading up to throttle body)
- Not sure if it's applicable on the 1.6L and 1.8L, but the 2.0L is picky with drive belts and it's probably best to use OEM as you get belt noise at idle, running the compressor, etc
- Gas mileage borders on the mediocre side for a 4cyl (2.0L), but it could be my brother's driving
- Top of the door panels pop out from the doors from constant heat exposure (poor design)
- Check for suspension clunks (worn bushings, endlinks)
- I remember reading about ignitor issues but that escapes me at the moment

Even with the manual, you'll probably want the extra power in the 2.0L from the P5/ES. This model also runs an odd tire size so best to size up to 205.
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Old 03-03-2012, 10:09 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dark0821 View Post
dont quote me, but I think alot of cars needs you to double clutch to go into the reverse gear, is to make sure you dont accidentally mis-shift when you are moving foward
That's because the reverse gear probably doesn't have synchros. With my old CRX's, even when the car was at a full stop, I'd sometimes have to pop into first or second and then into R to avoid any grinding.
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Old 03-03-2012, 10:16 PM   #13
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Do the Proteges have rust issues like the Protege5? I would imagine so, might want to look into that.
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Old 03-03-2012, 10:33 PM   #14
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I guess i'm now looking for common 6th gen civic problems as well..i take it that the internals are interchangable = cheaper parts?
Yup, it's essentially a sixth gen si with a trim package.

If you order replacement parts from the dealership then go to Honda, as there is a premium for the identical Acura part. I would look into 01-05 Civics and ELs as well, very comparable to the other two cars and also becoming very affordable.
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Old 03-03-2012, 11:18 PM   #15
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funny, been looking at the same cars myself as i need a 4dr commuter! so in the end what do you guys recommend ? considering i have a 55% surcharge on my ins cus of my at-fault accident, would the mazda protege or mazda5 be a better choice?


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Old 03-04-2012, 12:24 AM   #16
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Buddy's dad used the 1.6 el as a driving school car, lasted almost 400k with regular maintenance. Its a great car.
P.s. the EL in the B&S with B18c5 would be perfect IMO
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Old 03-04-2012, 12:58 AM   #17
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some really great discussion in here that's actually quite balanced between the el vs protege...keep them coming!

P5 seems like a fun car ..espeically from supafamous description in that other thread comparing it to the mazda3 but they are just slightly out of my price range.

I haven't got a quote yet but is the insurance for early 7th gen civic DX/LX sedan (01-03) very comparable to the 97-00 1.6EL? avs_racing mentioning the latter as 2k+ for pleasure with 30% off which is a bit discouraging for an old 4-door as a commuter (i have the same discount but it'll be for work and I know insurance can still vary). If the insurance for the civic is similar I may consider early 7th gen civic sedans since it's newer for the same price.

Right now I'm leaning more towards Protege LX/ES (2.0L trims) over the civic sedans.

con: less reliable than the honda? less fuel efficient, harder to find, parts probably pricier
pro: slightly better performance, better styling, not as run of the mill, better pricing

I haven't looked at the common issues for either cars in detail.

xplicitluder here's a good summary on the protege I found:Used Vehicle Review: Mazda Protégé, 1999-2003 - Autos.ca
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Old 03-04-2012, 01:48 AM   #18
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from what I remember the 1.7 el insurance is a bit cheaper than the 1.6 but I have to double check exactly how much.

the 1.7 EL is a bit more roomier than the 1.6 but also still very good on gas, it can easily get 5-550 per tank for mixed city and highway.

but yea the 1.6 has REALLY high insurance, it was only about 1-200 cheaper than a dc2 gsr with similar coverage, pleasure, and same discount rate
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Old 03-04-2012, 02:12 AM   #19
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Do the Proteges have rust issues like the Protege5? I would imagine so, might want to look into that.
There's no rust on my brother's car even from scrapes, bumps and vandalism from the previous owners. There is some tiny bubbling behind the rear license plate on the trunk but that looks self-inflicted. A lot of the rust issues seem to center on the rear wheel arches and along the bottom edge of the trunk.

I don't know if this would be an issue for you or not but I find the red-orange instrument lighting on the Protege's dash to be absolute garbage. It's too dim and I constantly have to re-focus my eyes when looking at the damn thing. I would take the time to get some better bulbs in there.

The other things that come to mind right now would be the cat. The OEM units do not last long according to forum posts; from the service records on my brother's that unit was replaced twice.

As long as you can find one that's been maintained well they're fine. I checked out a few that had well over 300,000 well maintained kms on them and they ran great. The 1.6L would be more economical but I believe they're pre 2001s.
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Old 03-04-2012, 07:21 AM   #20
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Never had any rust on my P5 but I was parked indoors most of the time

The ES has the same tuning as the P5 so the fun is all there. I think the LX might have the same tuning as well.

I would take a look at the cars on the island, they tend to be lower mileage for the same price
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Old 03-04-2012, 07:40 AM   #21
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I owned a 2000 1.6 EL for a few years and loved it. Yes, they are kind of gutless but ultra reliable. I think i used to average 450-475kms per tank. Used to frequent clubel.ca, might want to check that forum out for more info.
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Old 03-04-2012, 08:59 AM   #22
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the Proteges for that era are good for what they are. Power wise, it would have an advantage if you are looking at the 2.0 inline 4 versus the EL, which is limited to 1.6 stock. The Mazda's tq emphasis will get you thru City traffic effortlessly.

reliability wise, I would think both are almost equal as they are aged now. With proper care, these econo work horses can last quite awhile.

(personally I have a hard on for 1992 ish proteges for some odd reason. They handle quite well if you can manage to find a 1992/93 Protege GT. They were one of the cars that constantly took my abuse and kept on ticking. )
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Old 03-04-2012, 09:24 AM   #23
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i have 4 friends who own a 1.6EL in stock form as their daily driver/winter beater. i also have another 2 friends who have a modified 1.6EL with 1.8L and 2.0L engines. i highly doubt their insurance is thru the roof because it's generally the coupes and hatches that have higher insurance and especially the 99-00 SiR's being the #1 stolen car in BC for the last decade.

i will be seeing them today so i'll ask what their insurance is like.

this question has been asked of 1.6EL's many times here on RS and the general consensus is to stay away from the automatic transmission EL's. the manual is fine and their reliability is close to bulletproof.

as usual, the difference between the honda civic sedan and the acura el is the motor and interior. here you're comparing the d16y7 (non-vtec, 106hp) vs the d16y8 (vtec, 127hp). the d16y8 in the 1.6EL is a LOT better than the d16y7. it's not a whole lot better but it is noticeably better. as for the interior, all the standard options are there: power windows, power steering, a/c, sunroof (premium model), heated/power folding mirrors, etc. premium model also had heated seats and leather interior that weren't options in the civic sedan.

the one interesting thing to note in the 1.6EL is the extra, lower DIN pocket and cupholder. while it's nice to have an extra DIN pocket, it makes the cupholder rather useless. you can only fit a medium tim horton's or medium mcd's cup (without the straw) in there. but, you can always swap this out with a cupholder from any 96-00 civic and lose that DIN pocket.
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Old 03-04-2012, 12:54 PM   #24
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(personally I have a hard on for 1992 ish proteges for some odd reason. They handle quite well if you can manage to find a 1992/93 Protege GT. They were one of the cars that constantly took my abuse and kept on ticking. )
Same here. Came across this the other day:
1993 Mazda Protege 4dr 5spm (1.8L) *Aircare'd *GAS SAVER*

OP, P5's are pretty expensive compared to the regular Protege's of the same years. Unless you need the space, stick with the sedan. Great city cars, more torque and cheaper than the Acura. That said, the EL's are proven to generally only require basic maintenance and should hold their value a bit better.
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Old 03-04-2012, 04:31 PM   #25
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The only common problem I can think of right now is that in these proteges it's sometimes hard to put into reverse gear, so occasionally I'd have to pop to neutral and clutch in again before i can get it in.
My car had that issue since new, easy way to work around it is to shift into 2nd from 1st and then into reverse.
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