Mazda RX-8 Coupe 2003 - 2010

Mazda RX-8 Coupe 2003 - 2010

Review by it
Monday, May 16, 2016

Pros:

  • Unique styling
  • A practical coupe design
  • Comes with four useable seats

Cons:

  • Guzzles fuel and oil

Overview

The Mazda RX-8 Coupe comes with a brilliant and unique design at an affordable cost. It comes with incredibly good looks, exceptional built quality and a user friendly handling system. All these features together make the RX-8 a unique coupe in its class of cars. It is different from the traditional coupe designs as it provides easy access to the back seats via two rear-hinged doors, which open from the center of the car rather than the rear. Moreover, it uses Mazda's unique rotary engine that although is small produces tons of power.

Exterior and Interior

Mazda have broken away from the traditional coupe mould by adding two back doors making it easier to get into the back. This combined with its stylish and unique design helps it to stand out from the crowd. The interior is surprisingly spacious with the back seats offering more space than the conventional coupe. The car somehow feels a snug fit, rather than a tight one. The front passenger and driver also receive ample room and the seats are all comfortable and supportive. The Boot is surprisingly large with 290litres of space, which is large enough to easily hold a weeks shopping or luggage for a weekend away. The interior is just as unique and stylish as the exterior with it all being made of high quality and excellent materials that feel well built and up market. The black trimmed centre console is well laid out and is easy to use with the dials and instruments being backlit with white lights that adds to the sporty feel of the car. The amount of standard equipment is impressive to say the least, both models only come with only one trim level that includes alloy wheels, CD auto-changer, electric windows, stability and traction control, light sensing xenon headlights, rain sensing wipers, cruise and climate control and integrated Bluetooth system.

Performance and Economy

The smaller of the two models, the 192bhp engine, is the more economical of the two coming in at 26mpg and isn't that much slower than the more powerful engine going from 0-60mph in just 7 seconds. The larger 231bhp model only loses two mpg on the smaller engine with 24mpg and accelerates from 0-60mph in just 6.2 seconds. However, if you push the engines, as you will inevitably will, you'll see the fuel efficiency drop drastically and are more likely to see around 20mpg. The smaller engine is the cheapest to insure falling into group 15 whilst the more powerful falls into group 16.

Like to Drive

The RX-8 is a dream to drive with responsive and well balanced steering, minimal body roll in the corners, plenty of grip and the car feels superbly balanced, even on the tightest country lanes. The larger of the two engines is the more enjoyable to drive with the extra power adding that extra fizz to the overall experience. The seats are all extremely comfortable making it perfect for cruising and the driving position can be altered to suit anyone's needs. In 2008 there was a face-lifted model release and these come with lowered and stiffened suspension that improves the handling even further and offers a retuned exhaust that produces a lovely sound as you weave your way through country lanes or cruise down the motorway.

Faults and Repairs

Mazda's are reliable and well built cars with the RX-8 being no exception. There were a couple of recalls when it was first released due to a cracked joint in the lower suspension arm as well as problems with the heat insulators and dampers that also suffered from cracks. There was also a recall due to overheating exhaust components creating a fuel leak which was the most worrying, but most of these repairs should have been carried out. Servicing and repairs don't come cheap, but they are cheaper than those for the Audi TT and the Alfa GT.


Overall Rating:
Review by Harpster
Monday, May 16, 2016

Overview

"A real drivers car "

Exterior and Interior

The car looks fantastic, great lines and looks far more expensive than it is inside and out. The exterior has a real sporty look with its low down stance, 18inch alloys and xenon headlights. Inside the sporty theme continues with a digital speedometer and sports two tone leather seats. The 231 model had heated seats, Bose system and a 6 speed gearbox. All in all a really striking looking car.

Performance and Economy

The car has plenty of power and despite a very low torque value still manages to pull away hard, and revs up to nearly 9,000 rpm. It's a smooth seamless engine which always seems to have more to give. With its front engine/ rear wheel drive setup the car has perfect weight distribution and as such handles like a dream with a lot of feedback from the steering. That said the standard tyres are awful in the wet with the read end sliding out at every opportunity. Unfortunately it's the economy that lets this car down, with between 15-20 mpg in the real world, £260 a year RFL (road fund license) and its huge thirst for oil.

Like to Drive

This car is a real drivers car... Having test driven many of its competitors and previously driving BMW's and Porsches, I have to say I was incredibly impressed with the RX8, it's handling is sublime and plenty of power under the bonnet for anything UK driving can throw at you. If you are looking for a comfortable cruising car then this isn't for you, if you are looking for an exciting, precise and engaging drive... This is definitely for you. <

Faults and Repairs

No major faults on this car at all except its thirst... Repairs are a little on the expensive end but no more than any of its main competitors.

Overall Rating:
Review by Graculus
Monday, May 16, 2016

Overview

"Fabulous performance, poor components"

Exterior and Interior

Not much to be said about the exterior, the styling is great, its a good looking motor! The wheel arches are prone to knocks from other less careful car owners. Interior is spacious for a sports car and the 4 full seats are a definite bonus, though the door configuration is awkward in car parks. Finish is a tad plastic inside.

Performance and Economy

Performance is fantastic. The downside of the rotary engine is the economy, its poor at best. But you don't buy this car expecting supermini levels of economy.

Like to Drive

It is really great to drive, responsive, very fast and all round a drivers car. Can get a bit tiring on long runs though, but you will arrive with a smile on your face. Parking is a bit of a struggle since the rear end is a bit difficult to see and the small rear window is a hindrance. <

Faults and Repairs

Ah. Now here's the rub. This car was originally built with some substandard electrical components. Buy an early model and you should expect to replace the ignition coils after 20K miles, the battery and the starter motor. All are under powered for the car and will fail. This will cost the best part of £1000 from a dealer.
Quality
Performance
Comfort
Value

Overall Rating:
Review by Hufflepuff
Monday, May 16, 2016

Overview

"The RX8 - Whatever happened to the reliable Mazda? "

Exterior and Interior

Good overall. Though quite compact if your sitting in the rear backseats, the RX8 seems a nice place to be. As with all cars of this type it does however have a couple of drawbacks; namely you wouldn't want to travel more than a 150 miles or so without taking a break - definitely a car for the younger generation. The drivers sitting position feels good, gearbox in the right position and gear changes smooth. The leather bucket seats with the heated seats for those cold winter mornings are particularly welcome. Externally things start to go downhill slightly. The front of the car seems a little squashed and only looks right if you begin squinting. Tyres and wheels look good, and the rear 'suicide' doors although unique (except for the Phantom!), are a little impractical if you are normal sized adult trying to squeeze through the gap behind the front seats. If you have a young family - shouldn't be a problem for five years or so.

Performance and Economy

Not good. Miles to the gallon (that's petrol by the way - more on this a little later), in today's growing band of economical this car is poor. At best I hope to achieve 22-25 mpg, if your pushing the1.3 twin litre rotary engine up to the 8000 revs per minute point expect much less - 15mpg. However what may surprise some is the extraordinary amount of oil this little rotary engine burns. Expect regular trips to your local garage to stock up on oil.

Like to Drive

Good, no actually very good. For the price of this car you will be very pleased. Every time I was in it it was a great driving experience, corners come are eaten up, the revs can be pushed hard right up to you hear the little bleep creating a sudden surge of acceleration. Don't get me wrong, this is no 911 or but it will bring a smile to your face if you are having a bad day - guaranteed! <

Faults and Repairs

Which brings me back to the aforementioned title - whatever did happen to the reliable Mazda brand. Within a couple of months of owning the car the cars computer PSU burned out. Cost to repair £1800 - ouch. Another £800 (tear to my eye) was the replacement exhaust as the catalytic converters were broken and clunking around. Coil pack (both) failure was another mishap on two separate occasions. Spark plugs £70 each. Nice. However - I will look back on the car with a degree of fondness. When it is working it is a proper drivers car.
Quality
Performance
Comfort
Value