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2007 Mazda RX-8 Review

This review was written when the 2007 Mazda RX-8 was new.

The RX-8 impresses reviewers with its unique, powerful and light-weight rotary engine, as well as its smooth handling, stylish cabin and comfortable two-passenger rear seat. Nevertheless, its powerplant's constant need of maintenance, poor fuel economy, restricted front seats and history of poor reliability detract from its overall appeal. If you're in the market for a sports car, you should also consider the Subaru Impreza WRX and Mazda MX-5 Miata.

Most auto writers agree that the 2007 Mazda RX-8 is both sporty and pragmatic. "To understate things, 'sports car' and 'practical' are terms that don't bond very well -- unless you happen to be talking about the RX-8," says Car and Driver. "With its rear-hinged rear demi-doors ... and surprisingly roomy rear-seat area, the RX-8 can actually accommodate four adults in reasonable comfort." Edmunds adds, "Overall the RX-8 is one of the best examples of a car that's both fun to drive and very livable on a day-to-day basis."

Unlike most other mass-produced vehicles, the Mazda RX-8 is equipped with a rotary engine. While its 1.3 liter powerplant churns out an impressive 232 horsepower, many reviewers assert that its poor fuel economy and constant need of maintenance deter potential drivers. "Due to the nature of a rotary engine, it loses trace amounts of oil thanks to the need of lubricating the rotors," says Automobile.com. "This can be a bit of an annoyance, as the oil should be checked after every second fill-up, and will need replacing more often than with piston engines." Even so, the engine's small size and light weight makes for a vehicle that weighs considerably less than its competitors -- and even allows for engineers to mount it further back under the hood, creating a 50/50 weight balance and low center of gravity. Though reaching the RX-8's torque peak requires high-revving, auto reviewers assert that it handles smoothly enough to be driven on a daily basis. "The RX-8 is rare in that it handles so well with so little effort," says Forbes.

According to Kelley Blue Book, the RX-8's exterior is designed in such a way that it "either draws you in or leaves you cold." Nevertheless, Automobile.com asserts that it maintains a "distinctive appearance that separates it from other sports cars." Even so, many contend that its unique four-door suicide-door design makes exiting the RX-8 a challenge.

With regard to the RX-8's interior cabin, most reviewers agree that head and legroom is tight in the front seats, but the backseat is roomy and comfortable enough for two adult passengers. In a sports car comparison test, Car and Driver reports, "The RX-8 is the only car here that offers any comfort in the rear seats." Auto writers, however, give the interior's layout and build-quality mixed reviews.

"Performance is often synonymous with a pricey and punishing ride," says Forbes. "But the Mazda RX-8 defies convention." Even so, IntelliChoice gives the 2007 Mazda RX-8 a rating of "Poor" for its predicted five-year total cost of ownership compared to other vehicles in its class. Still, Car and Driver asserts that the RX-8 is a "good value" for all it offers. A reviewer for Automobile.com, however, warns that the RX-8 may not keep its long-term value: "Unfortunately, most people these days don't even remotely think of checking a car's oil level, which will likely result in the engine receiving massive wear, in-turn lowering the resale value of the car. Best to buy new and then pay close attention, I should think."

Review Last Updated: 5/6/08

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