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2004 Mazda RX-8 Review

The Little Four-Door Sports Car That Could

A front view of a red 2004 Mazda RX-8 with all of its four doors open

In short: Innovative design that delivers a utility sports car.

Rotary power lives on. And that's a good thing. Basically, you get more horsepower for less displacement and a much different sounding car. On the outside, the car is quite well designed, although the rear disappointed us somewhat—especially the awkwardly designed trunk. In the interior, you get a well-researched cabin reminiscent of a racing automobile, especially with the Grand Touring package.

A rear angle view of a red 2004 Mazda RX-8You'd probably most enjoy this car in the city due to its nimble and fast characteristics, but do watch the fuel consumption as you'll find yourself revving it up past 5,000 rpm for some decent horses. The delivery of power is smooth and constant all the way to the 8,500 rpm redline.

This new generation rotary engine combines the classic mechanism of the technology (process of intake, compression, combustion and exhaust in succession by turning a triangular rotor in a cocoon combustion chamber) with a twin-rotor system that uses increased size side intake and exhaust ports. Among the obvious advantages here are that you get a very light, powerful small engine (1.3-liter/238 hp) that delivers the power of a V6.

Many other technological advances have made this model a truly new car. As a result, all four passengers will get a more comfortable and safer ride.

We never quite got used to the navigation system, and the joystick-like management button kept being hit during gear shifting, which should be less of a problem on automatic versions.

A base model will deliver good value at about $25,000, but watch the options propel the sticker price for another $10,000!

Read a review of the 2009 Mazda RX-8 R3

A front interior view of a 2004 Mazda RX-8 A side view of a red 2004 Mazda RX-8 with its unique doors

Warranty/Service: Four-year/50,000-mile warranty; 24-hour roadside assistance, loaner car program.

Base Price: $26,680 / As tested: $33,734

Technical Specifications

Vehicle type: front-engine, rear-wheel-drive, 4-passenger, 4-door coupe

Engine: 1.3-liter twin rotary
Horsepower: 238 bhp @ 8500 rpm
Torque: 159 lb-ft @ 5500 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed manual

Curb weight: 3,029 lbs
Wheelbase: 106.4 in
174.3/69.7/52.8 in
Turning circle: 34.8 ft

all-wheel disc with ABS

Suspension: independent front and rear
limited slip differential

0-60 mph:
5.9 seconds
Top Speed: 149 mph (governed)

EPA City: 18 mpg
EPA Highway: 24 mpg

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(Updated: 03/24/09 SV)

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