2009 Mazda RX-8 Interior Review

Note: This interior review was created when the 2009 Mazda RX-8 was new.


Interior: 7.8

Critics find the RX-8's cabin stylish with room for four but are disappointed with its lack of cargo and storage space. 

  • "Inside, the car's center stack is covered in a chic, modern black finish. Everything looks nicely styled, but altogether, the cabin feels claustrophobic (an unnecessarily huge handbrake cover doesn't help matters)." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "I could make the RX-8′'s interior perfect in 10 minutes- with a crow bar. Out goes the goofy stereo unit, most of the crummy plastic and the useless back seats." -- The Truth About Cars
  • "The RX-8's cockpit features a circular theme, with three round gauges and a circular central dash control stack that houses the stereo and climate control functions. Look closely and you'll also spot numerous circle and triangle details throughout the cabin, a visual homage to the car's rotary engine design." -- Edmunds
  • "Though RX-8's interior is composed of mostly hard plastic, appearance and quality of the interior materials is a cut above those of the Ford Mustang and Nissan 350Z." -- Consumer Guide


Unlike most of its competitors, the RX-8 offers a useable backseat. Still, many reviewers complain that it's difficult to find a comfortable driving position and that larger passengers may feel a bit cramped.

  • "The RX-8's second set of doors open suicide style to provide access to the two full-size bucket back seats. We can attest that those seats are roomy enough for folks with a 6-ft.-plus frame. " -- Popular Mechanics
  • "Most of our testers found it difficult to find a comfortable driving position. The sunroof housing cramps headroom for even average-size adults. Legroom is just adequate. The steering column tilts but isn't telescopic, which further detracts from comfort. The seats are supportive enough but only for those of average girth." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Like the rear seats, the fronts kept me quite stable under hard cornering. The seating position is very low, and for those who have driven an RX-7, the 8 has the same laid back configuration, which takes a little getting used to. Once the driver has adapted to the position it then becomes comfortable." -- Automobile.com
  • "The RX-8's rear seats remain a defining feature. The Mazda is a proper low and small, rear-wheel-drive sports car yet it can carry four adults. There is even enough room in back for a child seat or two and the clamshell doors make it easy to plug junior in." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "Provided they are shorter than 6 feet tall, those seated in the back will find supportive seating and ample room all around." -- Edmunds

Interior Features

While the RX-8 features a host of standard and optional convenience features, auto writers find a great number of quirks with their layout and design.

  • "The climate controls are simple to use, though they're mounted a bit low for easiest access. The audio system has lots of buttons, but they're all clearly marked. Not all of our testers like the digital readout of climate and audio information on the top of the dashboard. The navigation system doesn't incorporate any other functions, which is a plus, and its operation requires familiarization. When the console cupholders are in use, shifting the manual transmission is awkward." -- Consumer Guide
  • "The optional navigation system is now operated through a touchscreen and voice recognition interface, which works well and is a welcome improvement." -- Edmunds
  • " I'd change the placement of the volume knob for the stereo. After thirty years of driving, it's been ingrained in me that the volume knob for the stereo is on the left side and the channel selector is on the right. In the RX-8, the channel selector is on the left, and the volume control is a large, centrally located knob." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "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." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "I was less enchanted with the 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." -- About.com


Critics complain that the RX-8 lacks adequate cargo and storage room.

  • "The trunk has strut-type hinges that don't intrude into the cargo area. The bay is surprisingly deep, but the opening is too small for loading anything larger than small duffel bags. Interior storage is very poor. The door pockets are virtually useless, and the center console is shallow and located in an inconvenient spot aft of the front seats." -- Consumer Guide
  • "The trunk...its opening is small and no flip-down rear seat function exists to increase that luggage capacity." -- Edmunds
  • "The trunk 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)." -- Motor Trend
  • "[T]he trunk is also restricted by a small opening, and by the spare tire mounted oddly at the top." -- Road and Track

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