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2010 Mazda RX-8 Review

This review was written when the 2010 Mazda RX-8 was new.

The 2010 Mazda RX-8 garners a lot of praise for its superb handling dynamics and roomy backseat, but loses points for having insufficient power and a fuel-thirsty, high-maintenance rotary engine.

Hot off a recent refresh, the RX-8 poses a more aggressive stance than ever before. Distinguishing itself among competitors, the RX-8 features a one-of-a-kind "suicide door" design, roomy backseat and impressive handling. Test drivers, however, report that faults with the RX-8's performance spoil the fun. According to Consumer Guide: "RX-8 delights for its exceptional handling ability and slick-shifting manual transmission. The rotary engine that makes this car unique is its biggest liability, however. It feels underpowered and delivers subpar fuel economy." What's more, the RX-8's rotary engine requires a tremendous amount of upkeep.

The RX-8's four-passenger capacity and unique four-door design are attractive, but car buyers should note that anyone but the mechanically inclined will find it a burden to maintain. For instance, because the RX-8 burns a lot of oil, Mazda recommends that drivers check its level every other time they visit the pump -- which will be frequent considering its poor fuel economy. Gear heads, however, will love the fact that the rotary engine doesn't weigh much and is able to generate a high rate of horsepower with little displacement.

If you're in the market for an affordable sports car that has a big backseat and is easier to maintain, check out the Hyundai Genesis Coupe. It has enough leg room in the backseat to satisfy average-sized adults. Its raked roofline, however, will surely leave taller passengers feeling cramped. Otherwise, consider shopping in the muscle car class, where vehicles like the Dodge Charger are renowned for space in the rear cabin.

The 2010 Mazda RX-8 is offered in four trims: Sport, Touring, Grand Touring and R3.

  • "If you're looking for an inexpensive sports car, but need room for child seats or extra passengers, the RX-8 is worth a look. Additionally, the R3 model has turned the RX-8 into a true driver's car with a chassis that is up there with the greats like the Mitsubishi EVO. Still, we can't help thinking that the RX-8 needs something and that something is power." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "With a unique and sporty design, the 2009 Mazda RX-8 R3 will turn heads, but it doesn't quite live up to its looks, and Mazda left out some key tech elements." -- CNET
  • "Providing sports-car performance along with four-passenger capacity, the...Mazda RX-8 would be the ultimate in a practical sports car were it not for its SUV-like fuel economy and lack of torque." -- Edmunds
  • "Minor grievances aside, the RX-8 is a wonderful automobile, more of a civilized sports coupe than a sports sedan. Prospective owners should be sensitive to the complexities of ownership, as this Mazda tries to be a different type of sports car." -- Road and Track
Review Last Updated: 10/5/09

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