Mazda MAZDASPEED Protege Model Overview
Mazda MAZDASPEED Protege Cars
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Mazda MAZDASPEED Protege Overview
When Mazda decided it was time to introduce a high-performance, specially tuned vehicle to its lineup in an effort to add some juice to the current offerings, the automaker turned to MAZDASPEED, its own in-house motorsports and aftermarket tuner. And the first vehicle to get a souped-up makeover was the compact Protege sedan, which was in its final year of production. The result was the MAZDASPEED Protege, the foundation in what would prove to be a coveted line of MAZDASPEED limited-edition sport vehicles.
Of course, any high-performance vehicle needs a high-performance engine, so Mazda started with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and added a Callaway Garrett T25 turbocharger system. That kicked power up 30 notches, to 170 horsepower. Other upgrades included a suspension tuned by Racing Beat, larger four-wheel disc brakes, special headlight housings, and 17-inch Racing Hart wheels, as well as more than 1,000 additional modifications.
The custom interior included a two-tone steering wheel, high-bolstered bucket seats, alloy pedals with rubber grips, and an alloy shift knob wrapped in leather. Additional features included power steering, power door locks, a keyless entry system, dual airbags, power exterior mirrors, and a premium Kenwood 250-watt audio system.
Drivers gave the MAZDASPEED Protege high marks for its handling (especially around corners), styling, interior appointments, and stereo system (which also garnered high praise from reviewers and critics). On the downside, some drivers noted that the car wasn't as fast as they expected from a high-performance automobile, especially when compared to its competitors.