Mazda RX-8 – 3.5 Stars

Mazdas aren’t too popular in the UK. They tend to do far better in countries such as Australia and New Zealand, in which total sales far exceeded those of the UK, despite the total number of cars on the road in these countries being close to half of that here.

Mazda RX-8

We should definitely be taking notice of those comparatively huge sales statistics. Mazdas in general are a lot better than the UK sales suggest – and the RX-8 in particular is fantastic. I’m sorry to say that this month will see the last RX-8 roll off of the production line, but I’m reviewing it anyway as it fits in nicely with the used car article we put on 0to60advice recently. This Mazda offers some amazing features for a what is, really, a suspiciously low price.

RX-8 Interior

Starting with the outside, the RX-8 is quite striking. Flared wheel arches and a relatively wide body give the car a very cool and sporty appearance. The RX-8 is a very clever car as well. It actually incorporates 4 doors, with the 2 main doors securing the rear hinged back doors. This makes accessing the back seats easier, gives more interior space, and all whilst maintaining the style and appearance of a 2 door coupé. The very first RX-8s were good-looking, but the newest in the range are unbelievably beautiful. All the body shaping, air intakes and the ‘gills’ behind the front wheels aren’t just for show either…

The engine in the RX-8 is as even more clever than the door arrangement. The rotary design allows the reasonably small and compact engines to shift the RX-8 at the high speeds its appearance would suggest. And, because the engines are small, you get even more space inside the car. Unfortunately, they aren’t the most efficient engines in the world – both are guilty of drinking fuel like there’s no tomorrow. When fuel is as expensive as it is today, that’s a big blow for the RX-8 and will put many buyers off. Insurance is also quite high – but that is partially down to how fast this car can move.

Clever 4-door arrangement

Inside, 4 adults can be comfortably seated – something which very few other cars of this class can boast. Exiting and entering involves minimal embarrassment, thanks to that very clever 4 door design we talked about earlier. Not only is it spacious, but the inside of the RX-8 is a pleasant place to be. The sporty design from the outside is carried on within and, on the used vehicles available, leather is a popular choice. No matter which RX-8 you buy, it will always be well specced – amongst the standard kit are alloy wheels, a CD multichanger, traction and stability control, and electric front seats.

The specs of the most up to date version of the smaller engined 1.3l RX-8 are as follows.

Price: A fairly new approved used RX-8 will cost around £13,000

Power/Torque: 192bhp 162lb/ft

Max. Speed: 139mph

Acceleration: 0 to 60mph in 7.2 seconds

CO2 emissions: 267g/km

Fuel Economy: 26.7mpg

VED Band: M (£460)

Insurance Group: 31

I told you the RX-8 was quick, and I would love more than anything to give it 5 stars, but those running costs are insanely high. £460 road tax every year is just silly for such a small car, and the fuel economy it delivers is comparable to that of a twin turbocharged 6.0l V12 Audi Q7 – in the world we live in, that, unfortunately, makes no sense at all.

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9 responses to “Mazda RX-8 – 3.5 Stars

  1. I’ve owned several Mazdas. As you rightly point out they are very popular here, as are all Japanese cars. I drove the RX8 when it first came out and indeed a friend had one for several years and he loved it. He got rif of it only after he married and had a child to consider as well as a wife. The problem for me was even in Australia where our insurance and petrol are far cheaper the RX8 was still an expansive car to run. If I was going to buy a Mazda it would be the MX5 for me. I love them to bits. Great reviews boys as always.

  2. By the way, what’s road tax? Is that the same as our registration? If so we would pay about $400 a year for rego which includes 3rd party insurance. If we want insurance against theft and accident etc, that’s about $1200 depending on age etc. Cars might be way cheaper in the UK and USA but we pay much less for rego and insurance and out petrol is still about half the price of the UK. It’s a hard call isn’t it?

    • Road tax is a tax which must be paid by all UK vehicles for them to be legally driven on the road. It’s based on the carbon emissions produced by the car but the actual price paid is also determined by the age of the car. It’s free for certain vehicles such as electric cars, or very old vehicles, and can be well over £400 for the newest, highest emitting cars. It doesn’t include any insurance, but a car is not allowed be driven without both road tax and insurance; the police can seize and crush any cars driven without either. It does soon add up over here – car insurance is never less than £1000 for a new driver, even for cars in the lowest groups. Fuel (for petrol and diesel) now sits at around £1.35 per litre, 65% of which is fuel duty!

      • I had no insurance on my last car as it was just an old banger for emergencies only ande was eventually sent off to the wrecker. We have 3rd party (so the person you injure is covered) but property insurance is not compulsory. Your fuel is what? a pound fifty a litre?

      • Sorry i meant $1.50 a litre!!! but i’ve found a converter that tells me its $2 a litre. ours, at $1.40 a litre is 60 tax too including 10% GST and the rest is fuel excise. its appalling, but it makes electric cars look good. I’ll be testing the chevy (holden volt soon. Looking forward to it.

  3. Pingback: Hidden Dangers – A Guest Post by Brian Turner | 0to60advice « 0to60reviews·

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