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2010 Mazda RX-8

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2010 Mazda RX-8 Review

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The 2010 Mazda RX-8 is one of those cars that can generate strong emotions. Owners love its neutral handling, unique four-door coupe design and lightweight rotary engine. Those same owners, however, often complain about the car's sometimes disappointing fuel economy and noticeable shortage of low-end torque. If you can overlook those eccentricities, and the fact that, when equipped with the automatic transmission, the engine loses 20 horsepower, the RX-8 makes a fine sports car, one that lets you take along three other adults and a bit of luggage. The RX-8's sub-$30,000 price tag, stunning interior detail and long list of standard and available features are just icing on the cake.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you love the nimble, responsive handling of the Miata, but want something faster and with room for four adults, the 2010 Mazda RX-8 may win you over.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If you're looking for a low-involvement sports car (which is, to a certain extent, an unreasonable expectation), the 2010 Mazda RX-8's rotary engine, with its occasional oil and fuel consumption issues and short-at-the-bottom torque curve, may not be to your liking. The compact rotary engine delivers its torque high in the rpm band, meaning you have to run the revs high when passing or accelerating.

What's New for 2010

The 2010 RX-8 receives a revised front and rear fascia as well as a simplification of the model lineup. The Touring trim has been dropped, as have the Premium Package options. A sunroof is now standard on the Grand Touring trim and Mazda has made significant improvements to the rotary engine aimed at minimizing oil consumption.

Driving the RX-8
Driving Impressions

At idle, a slight, distinctive vibration is the telltale sign a rotary engine lurks beneath the hood; it's not annoying in any way and actually makes the car feel almost...

... alive. Slip it into first gear and you'll feel the pull of the 232-horsepower RENESIS engine, slowly at first, but then increasingly faster once the tach climbs past 2000 rpm. With a 9000-rpm redline, all you have to do is keep the engine between 4000 and 6000 rpm and you'll always find more than enough power on tap for quick bursts of acceleration. The six-speed shifter requires only the slightest movement to change gears, and the clutch engages so smoothly it's easy to execute neat, clean shifts. The electrically controlled steering is neutral and extremely precise in both its execution and feedback.

Six-Speed Short-Throw Shifter
The RX-8's marvelous six-speed short-throw shifter can make other six-speeds feel imprecise by comparison.

Rear-Seat Console
A rear-seat console keeps siblings separate and provides storage for a navigation unit.

2010 Mazda RX-8 Details
Interior

Slip inside the 2010 Mazda RX-8 and immediately the quality of the materials and the depth of detail will impress you. A combination of suede-like fabric and ribbed cloth inserts covers the excellent sport bucket seats, and the driver's seat features a height-adjustable cushion. Although you can opt for full leather seating, it won't have the same Velcro-like grip on your clothing of the standard seats, which is a nice attribute when hurrying around tight curves. The instrument cluster is housed in a dash-mounted binnacle that includes a center-mounted tachometer with an inset digital speedometer. Why Mazda chose this design is a bit of a mystery, as a nice analog speedometer could easily have been placed on either side of the tachometer.

Exterior

The 2010 Mazda RX-8's styling will probably not appeal to everyone. Its bulging wheel arches, unusual half-doors and low profile give it a look that either draws you in or leaves you cold. The RX-8 forgoes a hatchback design in favor of a usable trunk, a nice feature if this is your only car, and it also tends to look different depending upon the paint color, with brighter colors seeming to accentuate the car's crisp lines.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The RX-8's standard equipment includes a 232-horsepower rotary engine (212 horsepower with the automatic), six-speed manual transmission, four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes (ABS), rear defroster, four cup holders, rear console, keyless entry, dual power mirrors, AM/FM stereo with CD, side-impact and side-curtain airbags, rear-seat pass-through, cruise control, sport suspension, tire pressure monitor, power windows, power locks and a tilt-wheel with touch controls. Grand Touring models gain a power moonroof, heated leather front seats, rain sensing wipers, traction and stability control, auto on/off HID headlamps, automatic air conditioning, torque-sensing limited slip differential, heated side mirrors, power driver's seat and a 300-watt, nine speaker Bose Centerpoint audio system with six-disc CD changer. The R3 adds to the Sport's standard equipment a sport tuned suspension, side sills, fog lights, 19-inch wheels surrounded by performance rubber and Recaro sport seats.

Optional Equipment

This year's revised packaging leaves very little on the options list. The Grand Touring model can be equipped with a DVD navigation system, while Sport and R3 trims can have SIRIUS Satellite Radio installed.

Under the Hood

The RENESIS rotary engine displaces a mere 1.3 liters by rotary measurement formulas, yet produces an impressive 232 horsepower (212 with the automatic). A maximum torque rating of 159 pound-feet is not much to brag about, but with a 9000-rpm redline (7500-rpm with the automatic transmission), you can milk every ounce of the engine's power before upshifting. What makes the rotary engine unique is its simple architecture. Instead of pistons, valves, camshafts, connecting rods and a crankshaft, the rotary requires only an output shaft surrounded by triangular-shaped rotors housed in chambers that are shaped somewhat like ovals with pinched middles. The rotary is therefore mechanically very simple, has minimal moving parts and is quite small.

1.3-liter RENESIS 2-rotor rotary
232 horsepower @ 8500 rpm (manual)
212 horsepower @ 7500 rpm (automatic)
159 lb.-ft. of torque at 5500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/22 (manual), 16/23 (automatic)

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2010 Mazda RX-8 Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.0
Out of 10

Based on 476 Ratings for the 2004 - 2011 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.2/10
    Quality
    8.3/10
  • Reliability
    8.0/10
    Performance
    8.7/10
  • Comfort
    8.4/10
    Styling
    9.1/10

2010 Mazda RX-8 - pure freakin fun

By on Saturday, June 11, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 12,500

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Incredible Driver Vehicle"

Cons: "mediocre MPG - so what. 9k RPM"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"OK. been rotary since 1981. 12As. 13Bs, Fuel injected, Sequential twin turbo, and whatever. Now a RX-8 Series II. Its not the fastest - HP wise...like somewhere around 240 ponies. But. As far as a FUN darn car ----with high rev's and incredible driver feedback - you will not find much better. Especially at this price point. Drive a 2009-2011 model year. You will be Impressed."

Great car if you know what you're buying.

By on Monday, February 22, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 84,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
7/10
Quality
7/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
5/10

Pros: "Driving dynamics, reliable if taken care of."

Cons: "Not reliable if you don't take care of it."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7

"I have owned two RX-8s now, and I have loved them both. That being said this car is not for everyone. If you are capable of taking care of your car (checking the oil regularly, getting your oil changed every 3k miles etc.) then this will be a reliable automobile. If you're expecting a muscle car you'll be underwhelmed but the beauty of the rotary is that it is super smooth and revs to the moon; freeway passes require shifting down two gears to get into the power range. The handling is superb, and the back seats have more room than you'd think, and if you have snow tires the car does fine in winter, but not without snow tires. The interior is pretty simple and mid-scale."

9 people out of 12 found this review helpful

Great car for young teens or single adults.

By on Tuesday, November 17, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 100,400

10 5.0
overall rating 5 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
5/10
Value
6/10
Reliability
5/10
Quality
6/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Fun to drive, eye catching"

Cons: "not economical if constant traveling, bad mpg"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5

"I've had this car throughout high school. It's great for looks and to show off but economically it's not a smart car for college."

6 people out of 14 found this review helpful

Great fun car, good for competitive driving

By on Friday, August 7, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 80,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "fun driving, great track car for track days"

Cons: "bad gas mileage, a bit rough riding"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

autox event

"This car has upgraded brakes, full RacingBeat suspension upgrade, Koni Adjustable shocks and struts. Comes with both stock wheels, as well as upgraded 17 inch wheels. Both sets have high performance summer tires."

8 people out of 15 found this review helpful

autox event

Fun. But, hate the suicide doors

By on Tuesday, June 16, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 16

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
6/10

Pros: "Fun to drive, Handles well, Feels sporty"

Cons: "The doors, The doors, The doors, Poor mileage"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7

"The car I really want is an updated RX-7 or 240Z. An inexpensive two-seat hatchback sports car. In early 2013, the RX-8 was the closest I could find. I really like the styling of the front end. I really like the styling of the back end. I absolutely hate the suicide doors. I think they ruin the lines of the car. It's more stretched out than I'd like. And, they just look out of place, to me. From a practical standpoint, they're horrible. It has all the disadvantages of the long doors of a two-door. Plus the added inconvenience of a door that opens the wrong way. If you're parked next to another car and open the suicide doors, then you are now trapped between the two cars. If someone is trying to get out of the back seat, now there are two of you standing there, trying not to let the long door hit the car next to you, while attempting to maneuver to close the back door. If you're trying to get something bulky or heavy in or out of the car, the object is exactly in the way of the door path. You're trying to figure out some place to put your feet, while scooting the object out of the way of the back door, again, while trying to be conscientious of the car next to you. I've since learned that I need to stop the car in a clear area in order to load or unload the back seat. I play hockey. My bag will not fit through the teeny trunk opening. When I leave my house for my game, I have to back the car out of the garage into the driveway to get my bag in. If the parking lot at the rink is full, then I have to stop the car, pull my bag out, then park it. On top of all that, the way the seat belt runs through the loop in the back door, it often gets twisted and won't slide freely. I have to pay attention to how I release it, or else it ends up on the ground, in the way if I'm pulling something out of the back, or tangled in my feet. If I can't have my two-seat hatchback, then I could probably be okay with a two-seat and a trunk sports car. But, this isn't even that. My impression is that they do it for insurance reasons. By having the extra doors and the back seat, it gets put into a different insurance category. So, I guess we can blame the bean counters on this one. Overall, I like the car okay. I just think it would be a much better car without those ugly doors."

3 people out of 10 found this review helpful

Awesome Car

By on Wednesday, May 20, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 48,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "fun to drive, amazing handling, awesome sound"

Cons: "terrible gas mileage"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

My personal RX8 I love her!

"This car is awesome in every way accept one, the gas mileage. Maybe it's because I drive the manual transmission, but I seem to get somewhere around 10-13 MPG city. I get pretty good highway mileage but while driving in the city I feel like I can literally watch the gas gauge go down. That being set aside, this is the most fun car I've owned. It is my dream car and owning it has only made me love it even more. The car handles like no other, and the looks you get while driving it down the road just make you feel good. This is a fantastic car to own. YOU MUST DO RESEARCH ON HOW TO MAINTAIN THIS CAR BEFORE YOU BUY IT. If you take care of this car it will take care of you. This is NOT a 4-door sedan that you can ignore for 10k miles. You need to constantly make sure that your car is in wonderful condition."

18 people out of 24 found this review helpful

My personal RX8 I love her!

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