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Mazda RX8 Review – Interior, Exterior, Specs and Typical Problems

Mazda RX8 – A loved car or a very hated car? Actually, there are many dissenting opinions about this car. Let’s discover a huge ton of character and the incredible handling capacity of it through our Mazda RX8 review.

1. Introduction

Mazda RX8 is a sporty car which was first introduced at the North American International Auto Show in 2001 by Mazda – the 15th biggest automaker in the world. The RX8 was produced from 2002 to 2012 with a Rotary engine (Wankel engine) like its predecessors in the RX range. The car began to come to North American market with 2003 model year.

Mazda RX8 review: A loved car or a very hated car.
Mazda RX8 review: A loved car or a very hated car.

In the year 2010, it was removed from Europe as it did not fit emissions standards there. On August 23rd, 2011, Mazda announced to stop producing the RX-8. The rising of JYP prices coupled with no sales in European market was the reason that made the Japanese automaker could not justify to sale the RX-8 in other markets.
Even that, Mazda RX-8 is still a cool car which many drivers want to have nowadays. Drivers and reviewers alike agree that this car is a well-balanced, agile and stylish 4-seat sport coupe and many of them consider it to be among the best sport cars on the road.

There are many generations of RX8, thus we will show common things all RX8 generations. Here we go!

2. Overview

First of all in this Mazda RX8 review, let’s have a quick look at its strong and weak points.

Mazda RX8’s strong points:

  • Interesting engine
  • Precise shifter
  • Unique design
  • Excellent handling
  • Good driving position
  • Plenty room for luggage
  • Cheap price

Mazda RX8’s weak points:

  • Low – end torque
  • Need more maintenance
  • High registration, insurance fees
  • Gas mileage – 16mpg, 21 mpg (maybe) for highway

Mazda RX-8 is designed with a rotary engine – which is the main talking point of the RX-8. Even the engine is only 1.3L, it still shows a greater mechanical efficiency than normal engines with pistons and allowed the car to make either 189 bhp or 228 bhp, up to the model.

3. Exterior Mazda RX8 Review

Mazda RX8 has a unique exterior design
Mazda RX8 has a unique exterior design

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Mazda designed the RX8 as a rear-wheel drive 4-door, a front mid-engine, 4-seater quad coupe. The car has a very unique design wrapped around high-intensity discharge projector beam headlights. Mazda also equipped for RX8 with 18-inch machined aluminum alloy wheels, a very long sculpted hood with traditional triangular shape bulge in the hood. A moonroof doesn’t come to all models of RX8. Twin polished exhaust tips and LED tail lights, rear heated defrosting glass are also equipped. As most of drivers agree that RX8 is one of the most unique looking vehicle that Mazda has ever created.

Weight is trimmed by using materials like plastic and aluminium for several body panels. The rest of the car body is made of steel (excluding the plastic front and rear bumpers).

4. Interior Mazda RX8 Review

It is surprised that the Mazda RX8 is a comfortable long distance cruiser. Seaching for Mazda RX8 review on the internet, there is a doubt that the Mazda RX8 interior looks a little dated and is made of a lower quality than what we expect. Is the doubt right? Let’s find out about Mazda RX8 interior in more details by taking a look inside it now:

Mazda RX8 interior
Mazda RX8 interior
  • The RX8 has the black sport cloth interior complete with black lacquer accents on the steering wheel and pieces of the doors. Each seat of the car is designed with a small aluminum rotor shape. Specially in sports model, Mazda gave it with manually adjustable seats. Also, RX-8 has small aluminum kick plates.
  • Most of powered options of the car are located on the door so it has full power mirror controls, including power door locks with window locks as well as automatic driver and passenger windows.
  • Take a look at the dashboard. The car cruise control is set on the left hand side of the wheel. The steering wheel content controls are included with the cruise control as well as radio setting.
  • Mazda designed RX-8 with a multi-function audio system complete with AM/FM and satellite radio along with a separate media outlet, a six-disc CD changer in the center stack. The center button is the power and volume button. Different texts and audio controls are located on the little right knob on the right hand side. Turn the radio simply turn the knob on the left either or to the right depending on the station you are in. There are also a lot of different numbers on audio system indicating spaces for preset radio stations. Drivers can also have the availability of scanning the entire radio system.
  • Below the audio system it is a single zone air conditioning system. The knob on the left is the different fan speeds. The car also has front and rear defroster as well as automatic A/C as well as the hair recycling and outside venting. The knob on the right also controls different temperatures. Moreover, the car has different interior lightings and sort of ventilated mirrors.
Mazda RX8 is equipped with suicide doors
Mazda RX8 is equipped with suicide doors
  • Now, it’s time to take a look at the rest of the features of the RX-8. The rear doors have no handles. One of the key features of the RX-8 is a pair of suicide doors providing easier access to the rear seats. As you can see, the car has no B-pillar between the front and rear doors. But with its smart design, the leading edge of the rear door acts like a virtual pillar for maintaining structural rigidity purpose. Due to the overlapping design, you can only open the rears doors when the car front doors are open. In addition, the cabin of the RX-8 was designed to have enough room for 4 people, making it become a genuine 4-seat car rather than a 2+2 car. According to a Mazda RX8 review of a trusted car magazine, the rear seats are more suited for children. There is really not much legroom for people like adults or people over 6 feet tall or even take close. From the rear seats, you can see the car has a center compartments as well as a locking rear storage device with a little tray inside which is easily lockable by the key.
  • Opening the trunk of RX8 is as simple as pushing the button over by the hood latch on the interior of the vehicle. For such a small coupe or 4-door coupe, the trunk space of RX8 is highly adequate definitely big enough to fit even biggest suitcases.
  • Manually adjustable passenger seat comes with side impact airbags as well as dual front impact airbags.

As you can see, Mazda RX8 still has a sporty inside with unique design far better than what we expert. So the doubt about the RX8 is wrong, right?

5. Engine, Drive and Performance

Mazda RX8 has a Rotary engine
Mazda RX8 has a Rotary engine

Next thing to talk about in this Mazda RX8 review is its engine, performance and driving experience. Driving a RX8 requires more respectation and maintenance than normal cars. But if you do respect and maintain it in the right way, you will enjoy ownership of one of the best cars to drive of its generation.

The RX8 is equipped with the Renesis engine – which was a development of Mazda’s long running series of Wankel engine (a.k.a Rotary engine). This type of engine works on a different mechanical principle compared with normal piston engines. RX8 engine is compact and has light weight which make the car brilliantly agile. The steering is precise and direct, and its rear-wheel drive layout should please purists. All RX8 cars are equipped with a limited- slip differential, helping to rise stability and grip when cornering.

After driving a Mazda RX8, most of drivers can feel crazy in love with it! The reason makes them like the RX8 is that the car has the power delivery and unusual sound of the rotary engine brings a unique and enjoyable experience when accelerating. The 189bhp model is capable of 0-62mph in 7.2 seconds, while the top-of-the range 228bhp model takes 6.4 seconds.

Watch the Mazda RX8 review video below to see how incredible a RX8 engine works:

6. Specifications Mazda RX8 Review

Mazda RX8 Specs with 1.3 (212 HP) engine as below: 

ENGINE SPECIFICATIONS  – 1.3 (212 HP)

CYLINDERS 2-rotor rotary
DISPLACEMENT 1308 cm3
POWER 155.9 KW @ 7500 RPM

212 HP @ 7500 RPM

209 BHP @ 7500 RPM

TORQUE 159 lb-ft @ 5500 RPM

216 Nm @ 5500 RPM

FUEL SYSTEM Multipoint Injection
FUEL Gasoline
CO2 EMISSIONS 258 g/km
TRANSMISSION SPECIFICATIONS
DRIVE TYPE Rear Wheel Drive
GEARBOX Automatic, 6-speed

FUEL CONSUMPTION SPECIFICATIONS

CITY 16 mpg US OR 14.7 L/100Km
HIGHWAY 23 mpg US OR 10.2 L/100Km
BRAKES SPECIFICATIONS
FRONT Ventilated discs
REAR Ventilated discs

TIRES SPECIFICATIONS

TIRE SIZE 225/45 R18

DIMENSIONS SPECIFICATIONS

LENGTH 175.6 in OR 4460 mm
WIDTH 69.7 in OR 1770 mm
HEIGHT 52.8 in OR 1341 mm
FRONT/REAR TRACK 59.1/59.3 in OR 1,501/1,506 mm
WHEELBASE 106.4 in OR 2703 mm
GROUND CLEARANCE 4.7 in OR 119 mm
CARGO VOLUME 7.6 cuFT OR 215 L
CD 0.3
WEIGHT SPECIFICATIONS
UNLADEN WEIGHT 3111 lbs OR 1411 kg
GROSS WEIGHT LIMIT 3858 lbs OR 1750 kg

 

Mazda RX8 Specs with 1.3 (232 HP) engine as below: 

ENGINE SPECIFICATIONS  – 1.3 (232 HP)

CYLINDERS 2-rotor rotary
DISPLACEMENT 1308 cm3
POWER 6 KW @ 8500 RPM

232 HP @ 8500 RPM

8 BHP @ 8500 RPM

TORQUE 159 lb-ft @ 5500 RPM

216 Nm @ 5500 RPM

FUEL SYSTEM Multipoint Injection
FUEL Gasoline
CO2 EMISSIONS 299 g/km

TRANSMISSION SPECIFICATIONS

DRIVE TYPE Rear Wheel Drive
GEARBOX Manual, 6 Speed

FUEL CONSUMPTION SPECIFICATIONS

CITY 16 mpg US OR 14.7 L/100Km
HIGHWAY 22 mpg US OR 10.7 L/100Km

BRAKES SPECIFICATIONS

FRONT Ventilated discs
REAR Ventilated discs

TIRES SPECIFICATIONS

TIRE SIZE 225/45 R18

DIMENSIONS SPECIFICATIONS

LENGTH 175.6 in OR 4460 mm
WIDTH 69.7 in OR 1770 mm
HEIGHT 52.8 in OR 1341 mm
FRONT/REAR TRACK 59.1/59.3 in OR 1,501/1,506 mm
WHEELBASE 106.4 in OR 2703 mm
GROUND CLEARANCE 4.7 in OR 119 mm
CARGO VOLUME 7.6 cuFT OR 215 L
CD 0.3

WEIGHT SPECIFICATIONS

UNLADEN WEIGHT 3064 lbs OR 1390 kg
GROSS WEIGHT LIMIT 3818 lbs OR 1732 kg

7. Typical Mazda RX8 Problems

We’ve covered everything from RX8 exterior, interior, specs to how it drives. Now it’s time to take about its issues. In this Mazda RX8 review, we share with you 6 common problems recorded by auto experts as below:

7.1. Blocked or collapsed catalytic converter

  • Poor throttle response
  • Inability to rev up or bogging down in the higher RPMs
  • Glowing catalytic converter
  • Hot transmission tunnel can melt the carpet

7.2. Weak ignition system

  • Significantly higher fuel comsumption
  • Misfiring
  • Uneven idle
  • Hesitation in higher RPMs
  • Hesitation during startups (Hot & Cold)

7.3. Oil cooler lines

  • Oil leaking around the front wheel arch areas or underneath
  • Oil weeping on the arch liners or undertray

7.4. Bearing failure

  • Loud rattle on cold start-ups
  • Knocking noise from the engine at all RPMs
  • Groaning noise, most obvious above 3500 RPM
  • Metallic rattle around 7000 RPM
  • Poor peak performance and throttle response

7.5. Low compression

  • Good cold start-ups, slow and lazy hot start-ups
  • Poor peak performance
  • Slower throttle response
  • Higher than normal fuel consumption

7.6. Rust

  • Rear arches
  • Front arches
  • Around the centre brake light
  • Under the boot floor
  • Broken rear coil springs
  • Broken anti-roll bar links
  • Corroded steering universal joint
  • Cracked front lower arms
  • Slow starter motors
  • Uneven power steering assistance
  • Seized brake calipers

Check out the video to see more Mazda RX8 problems:

8. A few things to remember

To avoid common Mazda RX8 problems, here are a few thing that a RX8 driver need to remember:

  • Use 10w40 semi-synthetic oil
  • Change the oil regularly (between 3000 – 6000 miles)
  • 97 or 99 octane fuel should be used
  • Expect to top up 500 ml or 0.5 quarts of oil every 1000 miles
  • Expect a fuel range of 220 miles in town and up to 300 miles on a long run

9. Advice

  • Buy a broken car with a good shell
  • Get it compression tested
  • Give the car a comprehensive service and replace the spark plugs
  • Budget for ignition coils. Only use genuine Mazda “C” revision coils or D585 coils
  • Try a hot start
  • Make sure there are no knocks or bangs as chassis components may be rusty or worn

In car market today, we have a lot of sellers having used Mazda RX8 for sale from: 2004 Mazda RX8, 2005 Mazda RX8, 2008 Mazda RX8 to 2011 Mazda RX8 for sale. We can not know exactly how condition these cars are if the sellers are not honest. Therefore, you should be careful when checking the car and follow our advice to purchase a good second hand RX8 for yourself.

We hope this article is useful for you. If you have any question, feel free to leave us a comment below.