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Not related to RX-8 discussion, but it does show where Mazda is heading with their cars in general. The comparo was ten 4 door cars for 16k. The Protege beat out the Corolla (2nd), Civic (5th), Nissan Sentra (8th), and Focus (4th).
Pretty impressive. R&T called it solid and sporty, "a four-door Miata." Should be interesting when they match up the new 6 against the competition.
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Not to nitpick, but the Corolla came in 3rd, Hyundai came in 2nd.
I came away a little confused on this though. The writer wrote mostly very good things about the Toyota and Hyundai, but didn't seem especially fond of the Mazda. The writer noted a harsh ride, uncomfortable back seat, above average wind noise, noisy engine, and poor fuel economy. If you read each review seperately without the rankings being noted or referred to, I would have thought the Corolla would have come in 1st, Hyundai 2nd, nissan 3rd, and the Protege in 4th or 5th.
They did qualify their final rankings based on fun to drive intangibles and that's where the Protege excells. I'm sure C&D will be getting a lot of reader feedback on that comparo.
I've got the MPS Protege segment from this week's Autoweek in MPG format. 5-minute, 720x480, beautiful picture = 115 MB or so. If anyone's interested, I can see if Blue Adept wouldn't mind hosting it via FTP for a bit.