The styling of the RX-8 is definitely unique. Mazda has chosen to share the flared fender bulge-design with other vehicles in their lineup (CX-7 and CX-9) and creates a more aggressive stance. To me, it looks like a sleek rocket ship with four-wheels with a low slung body that slices through the wind. I do like the large vertical vents behind the front wheels adding to the performance look of the RX-8. The designers have tastefully included the epitrochoid shape to the exterior below both bumpers as well as on the chromed 40th Anniversary badge on each front fender. The enclosed front light pods integrate well with the tapering front quarter panels. I do like the bold interior colors. The red leather seats, door panels, and the black vinyl/leather interior speak volumes.
For a $32k car, it handles like a dream. Its definitely down in power and torque compared to some of the competition, but beats them in price and uniqueness. Practically speaking, this car lacks storage. Both the trunk and rear seating space are rather small, and the rear seats don’t fold down. For two people, we easily filled the trunk with our weekend gear. The build of the RX-8 is impeccable (save for the annoying rattle), and you do get a lot for your money. Navigation and the Bose sound system would bump the price up several thousand dollars. If I was just looking at a well-balanced sports car, the Mazda would be it.
The car is has a style all its own, and garners attention to those unfamiliar with it. While loading the car with luggage at the Chico Holiday Inn, a large man dressed in a flannel shirt and jeans asked what kind of car it was and its mileage rating. I told him it was a Mazda RX-8 and the [2008 EPA] ratings are 16/23 (city/hwy). He remarked that those numbers were better than his full-size Ford truck. I thought the ratings were low, but I guess it’s all relative. For 220 miles of driving (rather fast I must admit), I averaged 19.2 mpg. Using up ¾ of a tank traveling 200 miles is disconcerting, but it’s the price you pay for performance (and the smoothness of a rotary engine).
The balanced chassis, low-weight, and low center of gravity with responsive steering make this Mazda a blast to drive. It hugs the terrain (though rough surfaces may upset the firm dampers) and remains poised at all speeds. Besides the ergonomic and trunk space complaints, I had none about the actual driving experience. The Mazda USA RX-8 entry page says “A Sportscar Like No Other”, an absolutely true description of the car. What you’re buying is uniqueness whether it is the rotary engine, rear suicide doors, or futuristic car design. You will not be disappointed.
|Official website for Mazda cars, trucks, and SUVs – www.mazdausa.com|
>> Read Derek’s Driving Impressions of the Mazda RX-8 around the race track