What Lame Car Did You Love When You Were A Kid?

Image: Mazda

Growing up as a car enthusiast means you usually go through phases of different cars or car segments that you like. Like styles of clothes, usually you end up looking back on some of the cars and thinking “What the hell was I thinking?”

2000 Mazda Protege5

Image: Mazda

One of my favorite cars as a kid was the Mazda Protege5. I thought it was one of the coolest cars I had ever seen. I was a 6th grader at the time it debuted, so I hadn’t seen a lot. Here was a cool little wagon from the Zoom-Zoom brand that was relatively cheap, fun to drive and came in cool colors like orange and yellow. I wanted one.

But as I got older and learned more I came to realize that the Protege5 was kind of lame. For one, that good looking wagon body style hid economy car bones. Take the powertrain. Initially, the Protege lineup was available with a 1.6-liter I4 making all of 105 horsepower. Then in 2001, Mazda gave it a new 2.0-liter engine with 130 hp. You could pair that with a five-speed manual, but it still made for gutless acceleration. It was slow as hell. It needed nearly 10 seconds to get to 60 mph.

Worse yet, Mazda could have easily done us a solid by throwing in the Mazdaspeed Protege’s engine in the Protege5. A 170 HP turbocharged engine in a wagon that was just over 2,700 pounds would have been perfect. But it wasn’t to be and the whole Protege line was dropped in 2003 and replaced by the Mazda3. Now over 20 years after production ended, the Protege5 is barely a footnote in Mazda’s history.

Now we ask you, Jalopnik reader. What lame car did you like as a kid? Remember, this is a no judgment zone. So you won’t get flamed for saying something you were really fond of. Or liking something that ages you. If you were around for the Ford Model A and liked it as a kid? More power to you. We’re glad to still have you around. Just let us know in the comments.


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