Mazda RX-8 Coupe (03 - 11) Owner reviews

No longer on sale

I have owned this car since new over 4 years ago, and there are very few cars for less than Β£20k that can offer a similar level of driver enjoyment. On a twisty back road you can keep up with almost anything. The high-revving rotary engine is silky smooth and sounds good. But you do have to keep the revs up to get the most out of it as it certainly lacks torque. But to purchase one you have to be fully aware of the running costs. In the real world, fuel consumption is AT BEST 23mpg, and that's driving it on a long run at low speed on cruise. That's not what one buys this car for though. If you drive normally with a mix of town and motorways, 18-19mpg is realistic. Oil consumption is not a big issue, just always have a couple of litres of oil in the boot. For the first few thousand miles it drinks about a litre per 1000 miles, but over time its now more like a litre for every 6000 miles. Road tax will cost Β£470 per year. Tyres cost Β£220 each, and the back tyres don't last that long! The other big problem is winter! It doesn't move if there's even a light covering of snow! You need a backup for the winter. I had a 3-series before, that was like a land rover in comparison to RX8 winter driving. Then there's the fact that if you drive it round the corner & switch it off, it won't start because it will flood (look up RX8 deflooding procedure, you'll become familiar with it!) But I still won't sell it because it ALWAYS puts a smile on my face!

Robert Smith, October 30th 2013

4dr [231]

  • Overall verdict4/5
  • What it's like to drive5/5
  • Running costs1/5
  • Quality4/5
  • Average MPG18 mpg

I have a 40th Anniversary edition in pearl white and I have to say its amazing. Granted it costs alot to run this car but you simply won't find a quicker more enjoyable car to own at the price. My car is now 4 years old and gets nothing but admiring looks from passers by. The car has top spec and I simply love it, I would recommned the car to anyone but if your worried about running costs then don't bother, if your not then please get one. I am getting approx 22-25mpg which if you consider the power under the bonnet isn't that bad, the oil consumption isn't a majot problem, I've used approx 1 litre of oil in a year which isn't too bad and nowhere near as bad as I thought, its the tax which is the major problem. Insurance isn't too bad, i'm 30 with 8 years no claims and i'm paying Β£355 for the year fully comp. The driving experiance is second to none, I had an ST focus which was also brilliant but in different ways but you really feel the difference in the handling with the rear wheel drive rx8 over the front wheel drive ST. I will probably look to sell it in the next year as I usually get a new car every 2 years but this will maybe be the one to make me think about keeping it for longer.

Michael McCusker, July 4th 2012

h Anniversary 4dr

  • Overall verdict4/5
  • What it's like to drive5/5
  • Running costs2/5
  • Quality4/5
  • Average MPG0 mpg

Love this car, you know when you buy it that its not economical but it is an absolute joy to drive. No problems with the engine oil; on annual mileage of around 10k. Hasn't disappointed yet - 2 yrs in. If you want a fun car to drive - do it.

Kully Samrah, September 8th 2011

[231]

  • Overall verdict4/5
  • What it's like to drive5/5
  • Running costs3/5
  • Quality5/5
  • Average MPG0 mpg

I have now owned my RX8 for over 2 years and still enjoy that special driving experience every time I get behind the wheel. Yes the fuel consumption is poor but what the hell it's a small price to pay to drive such a fantastic car The oil consumption is no problem and not as severe as reported in test reports. Starting problems can be eliminated with the upgrades. I intend to continue the experience and have no intention of letting my little baby go!

Robert Ward, Worcestershire, December 7th 2008

[231]

  • Overall verdict5/5
  • What it's like to drive5/5
  • Running costs3/5
  • Quality4/5
  • Average MPG19 mpg

I've owned my Mazda RX8 for just over a year now so I've had plenty of time to find out the cars good points and bad. I'll start with fuel economy "terrible" I've average around 19mpg and that's driving it like my great grandfather. However the rotary engine is really smooth and very quite at motorway speeds, I do love how the engine sits so close to the cabin. The handling of this car is incredible, it just grips to corners and never let goes. If you want a car to drive to its limits without ending up on its roof this is the car for you. The cabin is fitted with loads of gadgets from, enough cup holders to use the car as a cafe to over head cabin lights normally only seen in a Boeing 747. The exterior of the car looks mean and the suicide doors always impress any new back seat passengers. I have not had any reliability problems so far however, the car has been recalled back twice. First to change the coolant hose and secondly to change all the brake pads as they squeaked every time I broke. Mazda did all the work free of charge, apparently there was a known fault with the coolant hose and brake pads on other cars. Overall I've scored the RX8 192 4/5, if the rotary engine was more economical, and the car hand not been recalled back twice I'd have scored it higher. Can I just end by saying, if you are thinking of purchasing an RX8 soon, don't wait to long as we are coming to the end of the working class man/women being able to drive wonderful cars like this one.

dudley barnes, beds, October 21st 2008

[192]

  • Overall verdict4/5
  • What it's like to drive5/5
  • Running costs2/5
  • Quality4/5
  • Average MPG19 mpg

Well when i sold my flat i though treat!!! and this is what i come up with the Mazda rx-8 and with Mr Clarkson behind it i knew i was in for a treat. Although i am no speed queen i bought the bigger engine cause my boyfriend advised me to and boy does it shift. It loves long open roads but hates the short boring drive to and from my work. I also hate the fuel cost and to be honest this tax business has kicked me right in the teeth. I too now have to be sensible and go for a less costly car with the our dear friend Gordans idea of taxing us right where it hurts in the pocket!!! I am wiping a tear from my eye because every time i look at this car it makes me smile, it drives like a dream in the dry but whatch out for the back end slide when its wet and greasy. Its oil i agree isnt as bad as i thought it was but i did have a shock when my light came on and no other oil will do but madza recommended own oil!!! I love this car and its well an eye turner and mine is classic red which stands right out even when it needs a good wash. Will be sad to let it go so cheers Gordan your NOT on my christmas card list!!!!

Tania Clarke, scotland, September 8th 2008

[231]

  • Overall verdict4/5
  • What it's like to drive4/5
  • Running costs1/5
  • Quality4/5
  • Average MPG0 mpg

I can safely say this is a fantastic car, I personally bought this car for the thrills of a well balanced rear wheel drive car that would always put a smile on my face and a scorn on the person who is being left in my dust trail. The car is Quick as hell if you drive it right, and if you do drive it right, don't expect many MPG, but like i said, i bought it for thr thrills, so the downsides are ones i can live with. One problem i have is the incredible amount of heat being genertated my the CAT, the cabin gets ridiculosly hot as does the cup holders and hand brake, anyone else had this prob if so did you get it fixed??

Mark Lyons, merseyside, August 31st 2008

[231]

  • Overall verdict5/5
  • What it's like to drive5/5
  • Running costs3/5
  • Quality5/5
  • Average MPG20 mpg

We recently went out to buy a patio set, and came back with a brand new mica grey RX8. We had the Sport kit fitted (lowered suspension, side skirts, sports alloys, RX8 decals etc.) It looks and drives fantastic. The build quality, interior comfort and appearance is brilliant - we have the rare Ivory Leather seats as opposed to the more common black leather interior which the Demonstrator car had, and it really 'opens' up the feel of the interior and is not so claustrophobic, especially for rear seat passengers. Fuel economy is poor (21mpg average so far), and Β£400 VED a Government rip-off, but become insignificant complaints against the looks and driving experience of the RX8. The low torque annoyed me at first as I'd previously owned a 911 & 944, then I learned how the car should really be driven ie on the rev limit!!! Superb roadholding, slightly stiff suspension at low speed but great at cruising speed. A design so clever that 4 adults, 2 medium sized suitcases and a couple of small holdalls can be carried in style and comfort. Rear seat access very easy, and safe too for the children as they cannot open the doors until the front doors have been opened. The Bose sound system with 9 speakers is awesome. Great airbag safety too. My wife instantly loved it, I took 24 hrs longer but it has won me over. Fantastic car - thank you Mazda.

Nick Jones, Cornwall, August 19th 2008

[231]

  • Overall verdict5/5
  • What it's like to drive5/5
  • Running costs2/5
  • Quality5/5
  • Average MPG21 mpg

Have rated as 4 for running costs but sadly this is now a real issue with fule prices on the rise and Mr Brown hitting us for 6 on VED. Was prepared for 20 mpg but not at Β£1.20 ltr! Oil isn't the huge issue that all warn about. Needs slightly more than other cars I have had but only need to top up every 1000 miles or so. The last straw is that Β£400 VED has now seen the bottom drop out of used values so in a lose/lose situation re keep/sell! I bought new in 2006 and have loved every minute of those 2.5 years. Victoria Park Mazda in Cardiff very good, and apart from new cat fitted after 1000 miles (they don't look after them when shipping over here) no probs at all. Pro Drive day great fun and adds confidence to your driving. Elderly parents find it easy to access rear seats due to suicide doors (they can't get into my sis' CLK). Will prob have to sell and buy sensible (Golf GT 2.0 Tdi 170ps) but with huge sadness. Have owned V70 T5, Golf GTI's, 5 series, but have loved this and become really attached to it. Just hope that Gov't has change of heart soon so that I can stick with the Rexie!!

Chris Marriott, Vale of Glam, July 20th 2008

[192]

  • Overall verdict5/5
  • What it's like to drive5/5
  • Running costs4/5
  • Quality5/5
  • Average MPG22 mpg

I've had this car for two years and it has been an absolute pleasure. In that time I had all the alloys simultaneously replaced with no hassle from the dealer, even though only one was showing corrosion, and also the fins (which were an optional extra). Performance has been outstanding when you know how to get the best out of a rotary engine and I can forgive 25mpg at the mileages I do. Oil consumption is negligible, bearing in mind this is a 2003 car. I haven't had engine flooding, even though I'm guilty in winter of driving only a few miles to work so it's not warmed up. The only niggles I have are the amount of emulsified oil on the dipstick (I'm assured it's normal by the chief service engineer) which makes checking the oil tricky; he suggested not letting the engine fully cool down before an oil check. Engine seals and gaskets are OK and I'm not losing coolant. The gear change sometimes is a bit random looking for 5th from 6th. Mind you, going into 3rd by mistake at 80mph is no problem! The tyres, when changed, were the same Bridgestone original fit, as I couldn't find others with as much sidewall protection for the alloys. If you want a cheesy grin every time you get in a car, please have an RX; it is the best handling car I've had yet. I know it's daft but I still love all the positive comments, but after all it is a superb design - spot-on looks, handling and practical as well. My finance deal means I'm selling; I'm getting another RX-8.

chris bruce, N Yorks, February 16th 2008

[231]

  • Overall verdict5/5
  • What it's like to drive5/5
  • Running costs3/5
  • Quality4/5
  • Average MPG0 mpg

I have owned my car since July and travelled nearly 5000 miles. I never considered an RX8 until a friend let me try his Low Power version. I was very impressed and within a week I had brought an 18 month old Hi Power Example with Leather. I came from an MG ZTT CDTI and have also owned a 968CS so I have been used to Torque and the RX8 doesnt have much. However, the engine is so smooth that bouncing off the 9K limiter really isnt a problem. The car handles day to day driving without a problem. They are very well equipped and leave you wanting very little on the equipment front. I have a 3yr and 5yr old and they love it in the back with their own storage and cup holder. The boot is fine for a weekend away and fits a stroller with ease. Coming from a 968CS I can say that the RX8 handles just as well and is so well balanced, its still tricky in the wet but it is RWD afterall. Excellent on the motorway with more than enough pull in 6th. Dont buy this car if you are worried about MPG. As stated I get 18MPG and more on a long run but only 200 miles to a tank on my day to day commute. I check the oil every 500 miles and it really isnt a hassle. I think its an excellent all round car which is practical, looks good and is comfortable and well equiped. It could be better built inside but the enjoyment factor more than makes up for it. Buy as late a car as possible, make sure all the upgrades and recalls have been done and check the owners club website for help and tips.

Andrew Hazell, November 13th 2007

[231]

  • Overall verdict4/5
  • What it's like to drive5/5
  • Running costs1/5
  • Quality5/5
  • Average MPG0 mpg

I love this car to bits and you all know how great it is, but why is the third year service with Mazda so expensive? I was quoted Β£385 by Mazda for a service and when I asked them why it cost so much, they said its because they change the spark plugs? Mighty expensive spark plugs and generally part of any service you'd think. As it is now out of warranty, I think I'll go with the cheaper Kwik-Fit service+MOT for Β£179 all in. Bargain, but I hope I don't regret it. Any thoughts anyone?

DALDEEP JASWAL, September 3rd 2007

[231]

  • Overall verdict5/5
  • What it's like to drive5/5
  • Running costs4/5
  • Quality5/5
  • Average MPG0 mpg

I was 40 - in need of cheering up so I booked a test drive... The garage had a Nordic Green brand new 228 on the forecourt. I was so impressed that I traded my Celica 190 there and then. I used to get bored with cars not with this one, also it is incredibly comfortable (I even spent 18 hours in it on the M5 recently and arrived home reasonably awake and unstiff). I took the offer of the pro-drive experience and it taught me plenty about the car and myself. Flooding was an issue but removing the fuel pump fuse (middle one in the box) and turning the engine over until it fires cures that - I picked that up from the second engineer to visit after my wife had moved the car. Very smooth to drive, acelerates like a rocket (when you thrash that wnkel) and corners like its on rails (unless its a bit damp). Jeremy Clarkson wasn't wrong this is an incredibly "GOOD CAR", pity there are so many around now I think it will be moving down the cool wall if there is another Top Gear series. Of note you can't say Wnkel when reviewing this car a real shame!

Tim Street, Somerset, August 31st 2007

[231]

  • Overall verdict5/5
  • What it's like to drive5/5
  • Running costs4/5
  • Quality5/5
  • Average MPG0 mpg

I traded in my Carrera 4 for the RX8 because I wanted to add the fun back into the equation and it’s sure done that. Yes, the driving experience is more remote than that of the Porsche but for the price it’s very tactile. The rotary engine needs thrashing to get the best out of it but this just adds to the enjoyment and to your overdraft as you’ll be lucky to average 20mpg. The engine's smoothness and free revving reminds me of a six pot more than the roughness of a standard four cylinder engine and it can be driven sedately. However, because of the lack of low end torque you will be going up and down the gears a lot. It feels great on a track or the road, with plenty of grip in the dry and lots of mid corner control. However, it can be a bit twitchy in the wet so beware! It is also very reliable and practical and I happen to be one of those who think the styling is great. The only little gripe is the optional sat nav; basically it’s rubbish, so stay clear. A top notch practical driver's car for the price.

Dean Marshall, Hampshire, August 23rd 2007

[231]

  • Overall verdict5/5
  • What it's like to drive4/5
  • Running costs3/5
  • Quality4/5
  • Average MPG0 mpg

Main regret - trading it in after 2.5 years. Performance and handling are amazing for the price. Interior very practical and all the toys are standard. On the twisty stuff I can drive it at a sensible, safe pace yet the like of a friends Nissan 350Z couldnt keep up, it was all over the place. Within safe speeds on a straight line (not that there are many in this country) it was just as quick as anything else but with a better ride and far more satisfying use of gears. Having the correct wheels being driven (the rears) and not some banzai engine on a front-wheel drive hot hatch trying to kill you with torque steer all the time makes for a far more rewarding drive. Excellent fuel consumption - no other sports car with this sort of performance at this price gets close. Averaged 25mpg on suburban, open road mix (what does the new BMW M5 get, 12mpg driven hard?). Reliability is up there with the very best (check out JD Power results). Never flooded once, but then I did drive it as dealer and manual instructed, and it takes a pretty incompetant driver to break it. Ignore the oil use myth, it's the same as similar cars - figure one litre every 2000 miles or so. Resale values are excellent, better than many a BMW (look how bad hot hatches are in comparison). In fact, it was the best I've had on a new car. Mine was sold on by the dealer before I had even collected the new car! So what did I get instead - another one - this time the PZ! Β£5k discount and residual thre

C Wells, August 14th 2007

[231]

  • Overall verdict5/5
  • What it's like to drive5/5
  • Running costs5/5
  • Quality5/5
  • Average MPG0 mpg

I owned this car for three years. Performance and handling were both very good, especially braking. The cabin was practical and well finished. However it is a deeply flawed product. Fuel consumption is appalling, with miniscule range between fill-ups. Reliability is distinctly iffy, with a serious tendency for engine flooding before repeated Mazda engine modifications. Worst of all are the resale values, which are on a par with Korean cars. It would have been cheaper to own a Porsche. Avoid.

Justin Malta, August 3rd 2007

[231]

  • Overall verdict2/5
  • What it's like to drive4/5
  • Running costs1/5
  • Quality4/5
  • Average MPG0 mpg

I have just sold my RX8 after three years of ownership, and in summary I really have mixed feelings. On the road the car handles fantastically, is very quick if lacking in torque at low speeds. It's been very reliable and has only been in the garage to replace (under warranty) the alloys, which had rusted, and to sort out the engine flooding issue which left me stranded a few times in its early days. Practicality is excellent for a coupe - it has a decent sized boot, and the ski hatch has helped get longer items in the boot. I've had two adults in the back on numerous occasions quite comfortably. Running costs have been my main gripe: I've never managed to get over 20mpg, with 17-18mpg more common. I appreciate it's a sports car, but its much worse than a number of other faster and more powerful sports cars out there. On the plus side, oil has never been an issue, and insurance is reasonable, as is servicing. However, I really fell out of love with the car and Mazda when I came to part-exchange it, with garages being very reluctant to give me even a reasonable part-exchange price, claiming that the cars were not as popular as they were, and that poor fuel consumption has affected values. Even Mazda themselves were guilty, so owners beware when it comes to part-exchange time! I've now just handed it back after the three-year PCP was up, and cut my losses, and am going to look at a year-old Focus ST.

Nick Huston, Tyne & Wear, August 2nd 2007

[192]

  • Overall verdict3/5
  • What it's like to drive5/5
  • Running costs1/5
  • Quality4/5
  • Average MPG0 mpg

I'm on my second RX-8, this time a PZ. Handling up there with the very best - it's razor-sharp, has lots of power, is docile around town and has a nice low-speed ride, too. It's a genuine sports car with four-seater practicality and a reasonable boot, too (although its small opening limits the size of bags you can put in it). Sadly, too many inexperienced drivers have bought this car, not understanding what's involved in the ownership of a high-revving, high-performance car. Fuel consumption is good for the power, too - many compare it to some sort of small-engined family car. The only downside is its relatively small range - a bigger tank would be nice. Drive it as it was designed and keep the revs in the 4-9000 band (it revs happily to 9000 - what other cars can do that?) and torque is in abundance. Only poor driving gives an owner the belief there's nothing available. Reliability has been nearly exceptional on both cars, apart from the rusting wheels on the first. Interior quality is the only area where price has dictated some savings. It's not bad, but not the best, either. Servicing is on the cheap side compared to similar sports cars. Ignore the myth about oil - it uses little more than similar cars - expect a litre every 2000 miles or so. So remember if you are thinking of buying one, it's a high-powered, high revving sports car, and pound for pound as good as it gets - if it's economy and practicality you are after, buy a diesel estate.

Rowland Tomkins, Surrey, July 25th 2007

[231]

  • Overall verdict5/5
  • What it's like to drive5/5
  • Running costs5/5
  • Quality4/5
  • Average MPG0 mpg

I've now had the car for three years from new and with 82,500 miles on the clock it's pretty much on its last legs! Firstly, like the majority of drivers of the RX8 the comments of great to drive, looks good, drinks fuel and oil etc are bang on. However, I would like to add that reliability is somewhat poor to say the least! I've had two sets of alloys due to corrosion, a boot respray due to corrosion, a new fuel pump (took two weeks to fix), constant starting problems despite the upgrade and now it requires new oil cooler pipes and a new clutch. The car is highly strung. Although I have enjoyed the past three years owning the car (believe it or not ) personally I would not have another! Get it sorted Mazda - rust in this day and age is not acceptable!

Bill Gibson, LINCS, July 18th 2007

[192]

  • Overall verdict3/5
  • What it's like to drive5/5
  • Running costs2/5
  • Quality4/5
  • Average MPG0 mpg

I love my RX8: it handles brilliantly and is a real head turn (mine is red with air inlet fins and steel petrol cap, which are nice touches). It is fast, reliable, comfortable and very practical, having four doors. The insurance is really reasonsible, however there are some things which you need to consider: Fuel consumption is huge. It loves a drink of petrol and I seem to live in the petrol station. Cost of service is pretty high. Both my key fobs have given up and had to be replaced at Β£150 each Cost of having replacement work, i.e. brakes etc, is very high Road tax - Eeeeekkkk! Anyway, if you can live with a car that does around 250 miles on full tank (Β£50.00) around town (it's a little bit better on a run - it hits 300 miles) then go for it! And despite the bad press, it doesn't really use that much oil. I have very rarely needed to top it up (perhaps four times in 18 months). I do love my car. I love the drive, I love the looks and I love the way it feels and the general comfort. The RX8 is really quite special.

Marie Hawkins, Greater Manchester, July 12th 2007

[231]

  • Overall verdict4/5
  • What it's like to drive5/5
  • Running costs2/5
  • Quality5/5
  • Average MPG0 mpg