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Discussion Starter #1
Well guys just wondering what you think of the Protege.

I am in a dilema. The Mazda dealer close to me has offered an incredible deal. The Nissan dealer(not yet 100% confirmed) can't seem to do the same thing. Anyone consider the protege instead of their Sentra?

I love both cars and they both feel and look nice. I prefer the sentra but unfortunately I don't think I will be able to get all the options I want. So should I cheap out and get the Mazda? They both feel nice and have a/c with 130hp engines...

Anyways any discussion on this? I will find out tomorrow or thursday if the Nissan dealer can give me a better price but unfortunately I am doubting it. I am asking for $1000cdn(675$ US) off retail... anyone get that deal or better?

Thanks. This will be my first car purchase ever and I want it to be right. Just both cars are so good that I am finding that unfortunately Price seems to be the last resort... please talk me back into the sentra world.

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Mike Z
Wannabe Sentra Owner

[This message has been edited by Mike Z (edited March 21, 2001).]
 

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Engi-nerd
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Mike, I was just recently confronted with the same dilema. I was able to find and, if i chose to, get a protoge (with abs) for about the same price as the sentra i got (without abs). overall i found that the sentra felt more polished and was well worth the money, even without the abs. I havent felt the slightest twinge of buyers remorse since the purchase. Nissan doesnt seem to deal quite as well as other companies, like mazda. i could have gotten the mazda with rebates and all for a pretty penny less than the original invoice, where as the nissan i had to go 150 over invoice. but like i said, personally, it was well worth the $. There is no going wrong with the sentra. although, i was looking at sentra SE vs. protoge ES, and if you're looking at sentra GXE and/or any other model protoge, that could have some effect on your decision, depending how the other models match up.

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"If i cannot smoke cigars in heaven, I shall not go." -Mark Twain
 

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The Protege is an excellent car. I'd rank it 2nd behind the Sentra, and the Civic 3rd.

The car's really are about equal; the Protege has a larger interior, the Sentra has a few more goodies, and a little more performance.

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2000 SE w/ PP auto in Heatwave

 

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Al, The Ignorant Fcuk
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It would seem to me if you don't go for the SE then they are about equal. The SE is a great value and it's all about the engine. I however felt that the Sentra was more comfortable to drive. A long trip has confirmat that.

If performance is not high on your list than the Protege is a good choice. I did not get the PP and 5 sp. because the car was for my wife. The performance is outstanding even with an auto. It feels stronger than 145 HP.

Handling with the SE (no PP) is excellent. If its not good enough for you are probably a high risk driver. (Which is OK- to each his own). The car is made well except for a few cheap vinyl panels on the doors inside.

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Plain Jane Cappuccino SE
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i have to agree. the protege is a great little car. as said b4, i'd rank it #2 in it's class. the sentra (at least my SE)has a bit more reinedness to it the protege could not match.

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Discussion Starter #7
Well I am glad that you guys seem to sort of like the Protege. :) I thought I was going insane.

I was going to get the ES protege but then I don't get a/c or anything else... so here is what I am deciding from.

The GXE with touring package. So it has alum rims(15"), spoiler, 6 cd changer(don't car much for this), with the regular GXE options.

Then the Protege basically I am getting the LX model so no power windows or locks and it has stupid black door handles and black guard. I therefore am going to get the car in black to sort of make it not as noticable. The thing that makes me want the protege however is I will get the Sun package which has moonroof, spoiler and a/c. Or I could get the BASE es by itself for the same price.

What you think?

I am going out right now to go test some more cars but I want to make a decision in the next few days. :)

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Mike Z
Wannabe SE owner
 

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if you get the protoge lx, would it be the 2.0 or the 1.8? either way you're basically looking at two great cars that you have to decide which options have a higher priority to you. On the one hand the sentra gets you the aluminum rims (lx protoge has steel with wheel covers), spoiler, and the premium stereo, and probably a bit smoother ride. but the sentra would sacrifice the added interior room, sunroof, superior engine (if 2.0L), and superior handling (i think all protoges have the same suspension)of the protoge. just remember that its all in how YOU weigh the value of the optional equiptment.

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"If i cannot smoke cigars in heaven, I shall not go." -Mark Twain
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Well I just tested 3 cars back to back in 2 and a half hours. The Protege LX, Sentra GXE and Civic DX.

I have test drove the first two already but it was interesting to try them again.

I will start off with the Civic. What a grandma's car. It was quiet and smooth but didn't have much of a feel and the clutch didn't have super bite. It was nice and neat inside and felt the biggest of the three. It didn't seem to have the smae power as the other cars and therefore have eliminated it from my list. It was also slightly more expensive and I think the quality is about the same. It would be a car to get if I did a lot of highway driving.

The protege was the exact opposite. It felt like a small sports car(only one I have to compare it too was the Toyota MR2 and it actually felt like that). The sunroof was neat and the interior felt spacious. The stereo wasn't as nice as the honda's but sounded fine. The sporty feel and the very sensitive clutch made it an interesting test drive. I accidently popped it and smoked the tires. It was interesting and something I have never done in my current car. :) I like the Protege but it being a bit to edgy and probably the most uncomfortable for driving, it is good for throwing friends around in but I think that if I had to drive it every day it isn't the best.

Last and the best test drive was with the Sentra GXE. It had the most acceleration of the three cars but didn't give me the sensation that was in the mazda. The manual transmission was smoother than the Mazda's and I really loved how getting up to 60mph felt like no effort at all(I bet the SE is even better). I didn't push the Sentra that much but yet it felt fast and smooth. I don't think I brought it over 4500-5000 rpm during the whole test drive and yet I felt I never even had to, unlike the mazda.

I am going to purchase a Nissan tomorrow. I will think about it some more but as long as I can get the pricing I want and so on it should end up good. I may consider getting the XE with two packages rather than GXE with the touring package. I am not into power windows and cruise control I have never used before. The seats will be different material but I will have to look into it.

Anyways so my first choice is Sentra. If I don't get one it will be because I can't afford it or something silly like that. :) The mazda was less expensive and would even take more money off. I could probably get like $1500 off!

Anyways gotta go now...



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Mike Z
Wannabe SE owner
 
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Mike- I think you have made a good choice. The GXE should be a great car for you. I'm not surprised that the GXE was the most fun to drive. It has a GREAT motor. Second only to the SR20DE. hehe.

I think I'd go with the GXE for resale purposes though. I don't know what the price difference is, but it might be worth it.

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2001 SE, P/P, 5 spd Cloud White.
MODS:
- Stromung Stainless Cat-back.
- Hotshot CAI

"I always wanted to be somebody, but I should have been more specific."
 

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I have always loved the mazdas reputation for reliability. The only thing is that now some models are made by ford, and those models are definately lacking (b-series trucks).

I have a cousin with a 91' 323 (same everything as a protege) and it is still running fine. I had a friend that had a 92' protege that he purposely tried to destroy because he wanted to justify a new car. He would never change his oil or filter; he would just add oil every now and then. He ended up giving up on trying to destroy it and just traded it in. After that, I have been very impressed with mazda's compact cars.

I had a 92 sentra XE that had 90,000 miles on it, that I recently gave back to my sister because I purchased a 01 SE. I would have been more than content with the XE because it's ride was still smooth and the acceleration was still high (civic EX killa).

Either way, It's a solid buy.

BTW, EDMUNDS.COM gave the sentra #1 over the protege in #4. I don't think that does the protege justice, it should be #2 if not #1.

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SR20DE..Sorry Si guys.
 

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Mike, you say you can only get about US $675 off retail. And you're asking if you can do better? You better believe it. Put it this way - I'm going to ask for US$1300 off retail, and I'll get it too. It takes about 2 hours bargaining, crying, arguing, yelling. but in the end, you'll walk off with a good deal, and everyone's friends again. That's just the nature of car dealerships. I found that out when I racked off nearly 2 grand off the retail price of a civic, and still ended up walking away. Lucky I did, cos now I'll be getting a Sentra.

Then again, I don't really know what the markup is for Canada, but give it a go at least. You should be able to get at LEAST $1000 US off the retail price.

Good luck.
 

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why do you guys all bargain from retail? i say dont work with them unless they'll bargain (up or down) from invoice. if they sell to you at invoice they're still making money from dealer holdbacks (1-3%) and any other incentives nissan has given them.

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"If i cannot smoke cigars in heaven, I shall not go." -Mark Twain
 

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I had the exact same dicission to make with my purchase, the Sentra SE or the Protege ES. To tell you the truth I loved both cars and found that there were different things I like about each car. The deciding factor for me was leather interior. Mazda wanted to charge me $2000.00 Canadian for it and up my monthlys by around $45.00 where as Nissan only charged me around $1300.00 and put half of it onto the buy out, it only upped the monthly by $15.00. They were a little more acommidating in the end and did a great job on the interior. If it wasn't for that I might be driving a Protege right now. I am very glad that it turned out this way and have no regrets on the purchase of the Sentra. OH, and the sunglasses holder is awesome :)

Go with the Sentra, you won't be dissapointed. http://members.tripod.com/bopque/sentra/
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2001 SE, Radium, W/PP. 17% all around tint, Dark charcoal leather interior.

[This message has been edited by saint67 (edited March 21, 2001).]
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Well all valued words. I will go see the Nissan dealer tomorrow. I am thinking since is just acar for school that I will cheap out and get the XE with the air package.

Have to see... :)



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Mike Z
Wannabe SE owner
 

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Do yourself the biggest favor you possibly can (other than buy a Sentra) and visit
Carbuyingtips.com
This web site will at least save you hundreds and might save you thousands!
Always ALWAYS, deal from invoice, and verify several sources to find what the correct invoice is. Never tell them you have a trade or how much you want to spend (total or monthly) just fight to get the lowest price on the car you are buying. After you agree on the price, then tell them you are trading, if in fact you are.
 

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Al, The Ignorant Fcuk
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Agree. But you tell the dealer what you are going to pay. He can take it or leave it. Most times he'll call back. Make it clear to the salesman that if he doesn't sell you the car you will ask for another salesman.

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Plain Jane Cappuccino SE
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Discussion Starter #18
I have purchased a GXE sentra. I got a little off the invoice but not much. I am happy however. I was only going to get the XE model with value package but my mom said she would pay the difference for GXE.

That makes me a happy camper. :)



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Mike Z
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Hi guys, I'm new here. I'm going through the same dillema, Protege ES GT vs Sentra SE. The mail issue I'm having with the Sentra is the extra cost. The Mazda is about 21.5K CDN while the Nissan is pushing 23K. On top of that Mazda offers a 750 buck graduates discount that I can take advantage of.

Here are my impressions thus far, considering that I have not yet driven the Sentra.

Mazda - great engine, transmision, brakes, in fact all the running gear of this car is wonderful. The only things I don't like about it are the ride and seats. The ride is really stiff and choppy. Not sports car bad, but for a daily driver it might get to be too much. The seats suck. Both myself and my GF had sore backs after a 40 min test drive.

Nissan - looks good outside, don't really like the inside at all. The fabric is ugly IMO, and I don't want leather. Also is it just me or do the interior materials seem cheaper than the Mazda's? ie the HVAC knobs are very cheap quality plastic.

The big plus of the Sentra is the great SR20DE motor, do you guys think that motor alone is worth the extra cash? Also the car will likely never be modded so do I realy need the ultra tough block? Although I guess it would be nice to have the turbo option in the future.

PS - I'm a Toyota guy at heart, my baby is a 93 MR2 Turbo. I'd love to park a Toyota beside it but the Corolla is soooo hurting compared to these two that it is not even funny.
 

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no offense, but the first thing i actually noticed about the sentra was that it has a more "upscale" looking interior. you're definately dead on about the HVAC knobs, but the rest has softer features than the mazda, with small classy touches (like chome handles), and is going to be much less dated looking a few years down the road. the sentra, i think you will find when you drive it, just feels more polished/finished off than the protoge.

i didnt get to drive the mazda long enough to notice the seats to that extent, but i definately agree about everything else especially the ride.

the sentra engine is outstanding. if you arent going to mod it, i dont think the block will end up making much difference for you. but the engine and driving feel i felt were worth the extra $ (not to mention i liked the interior). i think the seats and ride are very significant things for you to consider if you're planning to own this for a number of years, maybe taking a few trips with it. you dont wanna end up like my uncle that bought a honda insight, and later learned that my aunt cant ride in it because the way the seats are on her back...although that could be an advantage too. ;)

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"If i cannot smoke cigars in heaven, I shall not go." -Mark Twain
 
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