2003.5 Mazdaspeed ProtegÉ: A Bolder, Stronger Design
Instantly popular when it debuted at the end of 2002, the 2003 MAZDASPEED Protegé grabbed the attention of performance- and appearance-minded car enthusiasts alike. Now, the vehicle's design has been modified and improved to present an even more substantial and stronger appearance for the 2003.5 edition of the MAZDASPEED Protegé. "The 2003.5 MAZDASPEED Protegé has a more solid and athletic stance than its predecessor," said Mark Jordan, assistant chief designer, Mazda North American Operations Research and Development, and the man responsible for the unique styling cues on the car. "Finding a perfect balance between overstated tuner designs and OEM styles is challenging, but we know we found it with this car." Jordan's team oversaw the addition of a host of exterior upgrades, including a more aggressive, three-piece, blow-molded rear wing, a larger rear valance, a wider exhaust tip and a new front skirt with two V-shaped brake cooling ducts. The wind-tunnel-tested design is powerfully accentuated by four new colors, including Blazing Yellow Mica, Titanium Gray Metallic, Laser Blue Mica and Sunlight Silver Metallic. All exterior colors are perfectly complemented by new five-spoke wheels treated with an industry-unique, hyper silver, translucent powder coat. The new wheels, which match the powerful and athletic characteristics of the car, allow more visibility of the car's rotors and brakes. Front and rear brake calipers are zinc plated for a cleaner appearance through those wheels. "Follow this car on the road and you will know right away it's special," Jordan said. "If the blue Tokico shocks and large-diameter, red sway bars don't give it away, the aggressive, sophisticated exterior styling will." Jordan's team also turned its design talents to the interior of the car, too. Over a standard Protegé sedan, the 2003.5 MAZDASPEED Protegé includes race-inspired pedals, shift knob and center instrument gauges accented with silver needle points. New seat-insert material strengthens driver and passenger grip while yellow stitching highlights the new trim. Like every Mazda model, the 2003.5 MAZDASPEED Protegé comes with a four-year roadside assistance program. With a call to a toll-free number, MAZDASPEED Protegé owners can access roadside assistance 24 hours a day, 365 days a year throughout the United States and Canada. For all 2003 Mazda vehicles, the company will provide a free loaner car in the event a warrantable condition requires the use of alternative transportation. The 2003.5 MAZDASPEED Protegé is covered by a comprehensive four-year/50,000-mile warranty that covers every part on the vehicle except those subject to normal wear. In addition, the 2003.5 MAZDASPEED Protegé is covered by a five-year/unlimited-mileage corrosion warranty. Mazda North American Operations is responsible for the sales and marketing, customer parts and service support of Mazda vehicles in the United States. Headquartered in Irvine, Calif., MNAO has more than 700 dealerships nationwide.