2004 Mazda RX-8: Sporty, fun, sexy: everything a GT car ought to be
I bought this car used a little over a month ago and I love it.
While it's not as blazing fast as the last-generation RX-7, it's got plenty of power on tap. At the same time, it's not clunky in traffic or around town. It handles well through the curves and has rock solid stability whether you're going 60, 80 or 110 mph.
After picking it up in Florida, I drove it 900 miles home and it's almost as comfortable as my CR-V. I wouldn't want to drive from New York to LA in it, but on the hilly, back-country roads where I live, it's a blast to drive.
If you're nitpicking, here are some things to gripe about:
*The AC is a little underpowered.
*Rear and ¾ visibility is poor.
*Headroom is tight (and I'm 5'5"!)
*The fuel economy is truck-like (18 mpg city/22 mpg highway).
*Trunk space? Fuhgittaboutit!
*Kids will be fine in the back seats, but full-size adults will be cramped.
With that out of the way, you don't buy a car like this to haul a lot of people around or get great gas mileage. The RX-8 is built to be driven. You strap in, open the sunroof, roll down the windows and tell anyone with you to sit down, shut up and hang on!
My car is Velocity Red with the aero package and it turns heads just about everywhere I go. People either rave about the styling or they're just "meh", but I happen to love every curve.
The highlight of the car is the Wankel engine, and oh what a motor it is! Displacing only 1.3 litres, it puts out something like 240 horsepower, most of which is available in the 3-6,000 rpm range. The engine is built to spin up to 5 or 6,000 rpm and the six-speed gearbox's short throws love to shift up and down.
There's a little bit of road noise, but it's not excessive or harsh. Don't expect it to be Lexus-quiet, but nor it is Jeep Wrangler-loud either.
This is a good car to buy used. The build-quality seems to be good (ask me again in a year) and is free of rattles, shakes and wobbles. The previous owner of my car took good care of it, inside and out and it only had 33,000 miles, despite being 4 years old.
The RX-8 has a lot of standard safety features such as ABS, traction control, airbags in front and on the sides and LATCH seat anchors to hold your child seat. Plus, as other people have mentioned, being a "4 door" means that you will get a lower insurance rate than something like a 350Z or S2000.
The controls are intuitive, easy to reach and simple. There are two cupholders in front and two in back. The two 12 volt accessory sockets in the cabin make it simple to hook up your GPS, your iPod or charge your cell phone. The cruise control holds it speed no matter if your going uphill, downhill or cruising along on level ground.
I'd buy this car again in a heartbeat.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.