Used Mazda RX-8 (2003 - 2010) Safety & Reliability

Review by David Ross on
Last Updated: 14 Nov 2013
Mazda isn't afraid to do things differently - as the RX-8 proves. It breaks traditional coupe convention by having two rear-hinged doors to make access to the back easier plus it's powered by a unique rotary engine.

4 out of 5



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The RX-8 doesn't have a Euro NCAP crash safety rating but it comes with plenty of standard safety kit including six airbags, traction control and stability control. On the security front there's an alarm, immobiliser and central locking.

3.5 out of 5


Rotary engines used to suffer premature wear problems, but Mazda claims to have resolved this. However regular maintenance is essential - if oil consumption is not monitored regularly and the level falls too low, the engines rotor tips will wear out, which will prove very expensive in the long run. Otherwise reliability should be good. The R3 model comes with a larger oil capacity and an easier to access dipstick.

Car check problem points


No problems reported.


Rotary engines were tarred with a reputation in the 1960s of living fast and dying young thanks to high oil consumption and poor maintenance allowing the rotor tips to wear out. The latest rotary engine in the RX-8 still needs TLC in its early stages with oil level checks about every 500 miles until it has travelled a few thousand miles and then less often afterwards. Look for a full Mazda service history and ask the previous owner how frequently oil levels were checked.


No problems reported.