2008 Mazda RX-8


2008 Mazda RX-8 Interior Review

Note: This interior review was created when the 2008 Mazda RX-8 was new.


Interior: 7.8

The RX-8 gets one of the best interior scores in the class because it offers a nice cockpit with a surprisingly practical backseat. Still, the score isn't perfect because of questionable build quality and restricted head and legroom in the front seats. Even so, Automobile.com asserts, "Storage space, seating capacity, and comfort are all at useable levels, in a car that's foremost purpose is performance."


Auto writers seem generally impressed with the RX-8's seating capacity. "With the 2007 Mazda RX-8, the lines of distinction between a sports car and a sport coupe are blurred," says Edmunds. While convention holds that the former seats two with either no backseat or one that's generally unusable, the latter sacrifices performance for passenger capacity. "The RX-8 combines the attributes of both -- it's a true sports car that seats four adults," says Edmunds. "It's hard to believe you can get pragmatic backseats in a car that looks like this," adds Forbes.

Reviewers, on balance, agree that the RX-8's front seats are supportive -- but their positioning could be better. "Like the rear seats, the fronts kept me quite stable under hard cornering," says Automobile.com. Nevertheless, they have a "laid back configuration, which takes a little getting used to." Forbes adds, "Shorter drivers have to sit fairly close to the wheel to reach the pedals, but this forces them to reach slightly backward to shift." On the other hand, Car and Driver reports, "Taller drivers have a hard time fitting in front." Road and Track explains, "Seating is compromised somewhat by a steering wheel that doesn't telescope. It could really use another inch or two to keep taller drivers' knees from getting in the way." Most auto writers agree that headroom is tight.

The RX-8 has a comfortable and roomy backseat -- something that's surprising in a sports car. "The clamshell door arrangement and the absence of B-pillars make it easy to slither into the aft part of the cabin or to employ the space for cargo," says Car and Driver. Once inside, Edmunds asserts, passengers "will find supportive seating and ample room all around." Popular Mechanics adds, "We can attest that those seats are roomy enough for folks with a 6-ft-plus frame." Part of the reason the backseats are so roomy, Automobile.com reports, is because they "are sunken deeply, forcing the knees quite high. While this sounds awkward, in reality it's quite comfortable and should remain so for long distances."

Interior Features

The RX-8 has a long list of standard features, but not all of them are perfect. About.com is unimpressed with the RX-8's proximity key: "No need for an ignition key to start the engine -- the key stays in your pocket or purse -- yet I was still required to twist a knob as if a key had been inserted. A simple pushbutton would have been better."

For entertainment, the RX-8 Sport features a CD player with AM/FM stereo and six speakers. The Touring and Grand Touring, however, come equipped with a six-disc CD changer, AM/FM stereo and nine-speaker/300-watt Bose sound system.

The RX-8 also takes some hits on the interior's layout and ease of use. While AutoWeek asserts that the cabin is "stylish, with a user-friendly layout, high-grade materials and nice build quality," Edmunds says that "an overly busy display for the audio system and climate control makes at-a-glance reading a challenge." The assembly quality isn't perfect either. Automobile.com reports, "The center armrest flexes quite a bit when taking the weight of my elbow and would likely be broken within a month in my care.... Several dash and door panels also don't quite line up properly, and don't seem to be solidly supported."


The Mazda RX-8 has 7.575 cubic feet of cargo space in its trunk - which Motor Trend says "accommodates everything two people can legally carry onto an airplane (and trust me, if your roll-aboard luggage doesn't fit in the overhead bin, it probably won't squeeze through the RX-8's mail-slot trunk opening)." Consumer Guide explains, "The bay is surprisingly deep, but the opening is too small for loading anything larger than small duffel bags." Nevertheless, Edmunds asserts that its rear seat may do as a suitable storage alternative as it's "a great place to throw luggage or grocery bags." Even so, Edmunds says that "maximizing luggage capacity via a flip-down rear seat isn't possible, as the RX-8 doesn't have that feature."

Also standard on the RX-8 is a center console, which Kelley Blue Book says "keeps siblings separate." Automobile.com explains, "The console stretches from the front dash to the back of the rear seat, housing storage compartments for front and rear passengers as well as two cupholders for those in back." Even so, Consumer Guide believes that interior storage space is "poor" and that "the center console is shallow and located in an inconvenient spot aft of the front seats."

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