Retro Cars Wiki

Year-to-year changes[]

1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 Discontinued
323 Base 2DR Hatchback N/A 1994
SE 2DR Hatchback N/A 1993
Protege DX 4DR Sedan 2003
LX 4DR Sedan
N/A ES 4DR Sedan


The 2-door hatchback version of the Mazda Protege, known as the Mazda 323, was available in two models: base and SE. This car came with a 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine, 82 horsepower, and 5-speed manual transmission. The car then became a carryover model for 1992.


This was the last model year for the SE hatchback.


For the Mazda 323, with only the base hatchback on sale for this model year, the car was discontinued after ending production in May 1994, resulting in the Protege alone becoming the entry-level for later model years.

This generation's Protege sedan was a real sleeper, a very useful subcompact economy car that, when equipped with the optional 125-horsepower engine, was probably the fastest car in its class. Unfortunately, it lacked distinctive styling and a clear price advantage when compared with the Toyota Corolla, Geo Prizm, Ford Escort and Honda Civic, its main competitors.


For 1995, the Protege is nearly all new, designed with a process first used on the upscale Millenia. Mazda says it has the greatest volume in its class (more interior space than the Infiniti Q45 luxury car). 

One of the few carryover components for the ES is the outstanding 1.8-liter engine, similar to the Miata's, now modified for lower noise and better fuel economy. The DX and LX share a new 1.5-liter engine designed to minimize internal friction and weight while maximizing fuel economy.

The Protege includes, as standard equipment, features not usually found in cars of this class, power steering, liquid-filled suspension bushings, ball-jointed rear sway bar, computerized engine torque/transmission management for smoother shifts, very high chassis torsional rigidity, orthopedic seats, tilt steering column, adjustable seatbelt anchors, and rear-seat heater ducts. 

The usual power equipment, door locks, mirrors, windows, as well as cruise control and AM/FM/cassette system, are standard on the LX and ES; a/c is standard on the ES, optional on the others. A 60/40 split rear seat is standard on the LX and ES. ABS (with 4-wheel discs) is standard on the ES, optional on the LX.

The Mazda Protege remained the company's entry-level car until 2003.

Retail prices[]

As of April 1, 1994:

  • $9,495 (1994 Mazda Protege Special)
  • $11,995 (1994 Mazda Protege DX)
  • $13,795 (1994 Mazda Protege LX)

As of August 12, 1994:

  • $11,995 (1995 Mazda Protege DX)
  • $13,395 (1995 Mazda Protege LX)
  • $16,145 (1995 Mazda Protege ES)

As of June 30, 1995:

  • $12,395 (1995 Mazda Protege DX)
  • $13,795 (1995 Mazda Protege LX)
  • $16,245 (1995 Mazda Protege ES)

As of October 2, 1995:

  • $11,695 (1996 Mazda Protege DX)
  • $12,995 (1996 Mazda Protege LX)
  • $14,695 (1996 Mazda Protege ES)

Shipping prices[]

  • $425 (1994 models)
  • $440 (early 1995 models)
  • $450 (1995 models)