2011 Mazda RX-8 Interior Review

Note: This interior review was created when the 2011 Mazda RX-8 was new.


Interior: 7.6

Auto critics find the RX-8's cabin roomy and stylish. However, some complain that it lacks adequate cargo room and its features are spoiled by layout and design quirks.

  • "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
  • "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


The RX-8 offers a useable backseat, which is a rarity among affordable sports cars. Still, many reviewers complain that it's difficult to find a comfortable driving position and that larger passengers may feel a bit cramped. If backseat room is a deal breaker for you, consider the Hyundai Genesis Coupe -- though taller passengers may run short on backseat head room.

  • "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
  • "Provided they are shorter than 6 feet tall, those seated in the back will find supportive seating and ample room all around." -- Edmunds
  • "It's hard to believe you can get pragmatic backseats in a car that looks like this." -- Forbes

Interior Features

The 2011 RX-8 is equipped with a long list of standard convenience features -- including steering-wheel mounted audio controls and an auxiliary-audio input jack. Higher trims come standard with Bluetooth connectivity and a Bose Centerpoint Surround Sound System. Still, critics 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
  • "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’s 7.6 cubic feet of cargo room is inadequate. For more cargo room, check out the Hyundai Genesis Coupe, which features 10 cubic feet, or the less-sporty Mitsubishi Eclipse coupe, which features 15.7 cubic feet.

  • "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

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