Mazda RX8

Car Review: Mazda RX-8 (2002-2012)

Have your heart set on a Mazda RX8? Ever wondered why the Mazda RX8 is so much cheaper than its predecessor, the RX7?

Well, I’ve done the hard yards and found out what makes the RX8 dance to a different beat.

Mazda RX8 Interior

The Good

1. They are excessively cheap to buy compared to the previous RX7

2. It has an awesome design like no other

3. It has extra half doors either side to help people or shopping get into the back seats

4. Has a light, agile chassis

5. Lockable rear seat mid port to the trunk

6. Ideal for Manual drivers

7. The updated model 2008-2012 has increased acceleration and performance

Mazda RX8 Rear

The Bad

1. It’s a thirsty beast requiring oil and petrol on a more regular basis

2. The shelf life of the rotary engine is much shorter than a combustion one

3. Seats won’t hold you through corners, so replace with the R3 version seats

4. No cruise control

5. It has a different rotary engine to the RX7

6. Automatic version provides more problems and is sluggish

7. Not overly fast (you wouldn’t want to drag race anyone)

8. You may lose your phone down the gap between the seat and back

9. While there is room for cargo, the opening is quite narrow to get luggage in

The Essentials

Remember to have funds to top up the liquids

A piggy bank fund for the eventual rebuild of the motor

Let the car warm up when you start it and let it rest when you’ve turned it off

Check oil levels at least once a week if you are driving daily

A tell-tail sign the engine is wearing out, is by the oil smoke coming out of its exhaust

When buying, ask for the service history and how the car had been treated

Also check the pedals and seats for wear and tear (the seats because of the jolting about from side to side if it’s been raced hard)

The cost of a newly comprehensive rebuilt motor will set you back thousands of dollars (or pounds). In fact, a friend of mine had his engine done for a total cost of US$4,500 (or 3,500 Pounds if you live in England). This price did however include a new engine gasket kit and manifold, rotor bearing, oil pump and filter, new street port, water seal kit, apex seals and springs, resurfaced housing, new e-shaft, new front and rear irons, and a new clutch. This list doesn’t cover everything, but gives you a general idea how big a job it is, and how much you need to put aside – unless of course you buy one that has had this work done recently (within the last 6,000 miles or 10,000 km’s) and all the paperwork has been provided.

The Alternatives

Check out the Alfa Romeo GTV or GT JTS, Nissan 350X, Audi TT, Mazda MX5 Roadster Coupe, BMW 1 Series 135i Sport, Hyundai Veloster, and Chrysler’s Crossfire. All have combustion engines.

The Verdict (Out of Ten)

5 out of 10

Looking to buy a Mazda RX-8, then think again. If you sincerely want to learn the intricacies of how this rotary engine works and have pots of cash to top up the oil, then it should last you a few years. However, more often than not, these rotary engines don’t last the distance, and are a costly exercise to replace. Also bear in mind it takes a specialist mechanic to do the work as well, and they don’t grow on trees. In fact, it would be wise to research where in the state or country they are and roughly how much it would cost to replace. Always check the service history and ask if the engine has been changed (and by whom) if the mileage is high, even before checking it out in person. Budget is usually a key factor when purchasing a car in this price range, so check out one of the combustion engine alternatives listed above as a comparison if you’re after a cool looking sports car before handing over your hard earned cash.

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