2011 Mazda RX-8

2011 Mazda RX-8

The 2011 Mazda RX-8 ranks 4 out of 5 Affordable Sports Cars. This ranking is based on our analysis of 94 published reviews and test drives of the Mazda RX-8, and our analysis of reliability and safety data.

The 2011 Mazda RX-8 has impressive handling dynamics and a roomy backseat, but loses points for its lack of low-end torque and fuel-thirsty, high-maintenance rotary engine.

In a class overrun by tiny roadsters and not-so-sporty sports cars, the Mazda RX-8 is a breath of fresh air. Distinguishing itself with a one-of-a-kind suicide door design, roomy backseat and impressive handling, the 2011 RX-8 has a lot going for it -- but only if you’re ok with doing a bit of routine maintenance work.

Test drivers report that the RX-8's performance faults spoil the fun. Not only does it run short on low-end torque, but its EPA-estimated fuel rating of 16/23 mpg is subpar among Affordable Sports Cars. Though the RX-8 is powered by a rotary engine that weighs less than a traditional internal-combustion engine and generates a high rate of horsepower with little displacement, it requires constant maintenance. Because the RX-8’s engine burns a lot of oil, Mazda recommends that drivers check its level every other time they visit the pump -- which will be frequent considering its poor fuel economy.

Still, sports car lovers on a budget will find the hassle of owning and driving the 2011 Mazda RX-8 well worth it. Its superb handling dynamics will get drivers behind the wheel. And its unique style and aggressive stance are icing on the cake.