Is it worth it?
October 20, 2008 10:22 AM   Subscribe

Is it worth it? Mazda Protege vs. Toyota Camry!

I currently have a 2000 Mazda Protege. I drive it mostly in the city, so it is a little beat up. It is a manual. It gets about 22 mpg, and has almost 65,000 miles. I could possibly inherit a 2000 Toyota Camry, and I am wondering if it is worth it to dump the Mazda and take the Toyota. It has 80,000 miles, and is an automatic. The insurance on the Toyota is slightly less. Is this really worth the switch? The Toyota is not my dream car, but Toyotas do last forever.
posted by bob bisquick to Shopping (8 answers total)
Dont know much about Mazdas, but I've owned a slew of Toyotas, and they are really reliable vehicles. Get the Toyota checked out and see how it compares to your car. Reliability aside, 80k miles is still a lot and you want to make sure all the maintenance is up to date and that its been well cared for before you decide. Also, have you replaced the clutch on your Mazda yet? If not, you're about due and that's an awfully pricey repair and may figure into your choice.
posted by elendil71 at 10:49 AM on October 20, 2008

*blink* 80k is a lot? My CRX has 220k. And unless you drive like an absolute maniac, you're not getting the MPG you should in your current vehicle.

As long as the maintenance is up to date on both vehicles, it's a wash, really. The timing belt is the biggest thing.
posted by notsnot at 10:54 AM on October 20, 2008

I have a 96 geo, which is essentially a Toyota, or so says my mechanic. It's
still running pretty well, though it has a bunch of cosmetic and inconsequential
flaws. I also have a 2002 Mazda Protege 5. Every repair on the Mazda is 50%
more than repairs on the geo. My mechanic says Toyotas and Hondas are the
cheapest to repair, and Mazdas are the most expensive. The clutch in my Geo
cost slightly south of $1000 just last week. I expect the Mazda to be half
again that.

If I had to decide on another car, I would not choose a Mazda. I would choose a
Toyota. This is not 100% responsive to your question.
posted by vilcxjo_BLANKA at 10:58 AM on October 20, 2008

That gas mileage is seriously low. The only time I ever got mileage like that on a little Japanese car, the tank was leaking.

Regardless of the concerns upthread about clutch replacement, replacing a clutch will cost you far less than getting automatic transmission work done- and believe me, 60,000 miles is nothing in terms of clutch age. (My Volvo made it to 240,000 before it needed one.)

Besides, stickshifts are fun.
posted by dunkadunc at 11:02 AM on October 20, 2008

22 mpg is not surprising at all to me, especially if your city driving is in NYC, if your profile is correct.
posted by zsazsa at 11:39 AM on October 20, 2008

I second dunkadunc. I have a 2000 Protegé, manual, with the 1.6L engine. I get 35-37 mpg on the highway and about 27-29 around town--maybe as low as 25 if I'm doing short trips (under 3 miles) in the winter. You should get the Mazda looked at.

The Camry is a bigger car and will take up a little more space--not much, but if you often find yourself squeezing into spots, you'll notice the difference. On the other hand, it will have a quieter, smoother ride. And if you do a lot of driving in stop-and-go traffic you'll probably appreciate the automatic transmission. It will get worse mileage than the Mazda (other things being equal). My guess is it will last longer than the Mazda but my Protegé is still in fine shape after seven New England winters, including several when it was parked outside all the time.
posted by brianogilvie at 11:39 AM on October 20, 2008

Probably not worth it.

There's always a cost associated with switching cars. Taxes, registration, unforeseen repairs, etc. Yes, the Toyota is better made, but by delaying your switch to another car until the Mazda is dead, you'll have money to buy a nicer replacement.

Sorta unrelated, but IMO, buying new, Toyota/Honda are good choices. Buying used, they tend to have a fairly inflated value due to their reputation. A ten year old $25K Toyota sells for about what a ten year old $80K BMW 7-series does. :)
posted by paanta at 11:40 AM on October 20, 2008

With regular maintenance, you should get another 100k surprise-free miles from the Camry.
posted by zippy at 5:05 PM on October 20, 2008

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