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Looking to buy my first Mazda (RX-8)


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#1 of 37 Ron-P

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Posted December 26 2007 - 03:56 PM

So much for the Mazda RX-8, the Mits Eclipse Coupe now is at the top of my list. Any Exlipse owners out there?

I've had so many problems with my 2003 MINI that I'm done with MINI and BMW products. When I get my MINI back (she's been in the shop for 5 weeks now and looking at a new tranny) she's going straight to a dealer and getting traded in.
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#2 of 37 Yee-Ming

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Posted December 26 2007 - 08:17 PM

I don't own one, but I agree it's an awesome looking vehicle!

I have heard from an owner that the rotary engine is a bit of gas guzzler, though, despite the fact that it's nominal capacity is pretty small. You might want to look at mileage figures carefully, if that is a concern.

I was sorely tempted to get one the last time I changed cars in late 2004/early 2005, but it was a little pricey -- in case you're wondering, in Singapore taxes on cars are such that the RX-8 at the time was something like S$130K IIRC -- that's US$89K at today's depressed rates, even back then it would've been around US$76K...

#3 of 37 Philip Hamm

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Posted December 27 2007 - 12:32 AM

Read up on the Wankel rotary engine technology. It's a very cool engine, but by design it guzzles gas and burns oil, you need to add oil regularly. Engine longevity is also a concern.
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#4 of 37 DaveF

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Posted December 27 2007 - 01:40 AM

I test drove one in '03 when I was car shopping. It was very fun. But after driving a 5-sp Escort for many years, I just couldn't handle a car that went faster in 3nd gear than my Escort did in 5th. And the feel of driving a car 40 mph to get groceries, when it wanted to go 95, was also unsettling. Posted Image

I got an Accord. I don't think I'm a sports car guy.

#5 of 37 BrianW

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Posted December 27 2007 - 04:04 AM

If I had the money, I'd buy the RX-8 and have it converted to electric. I love the car, but I'm not a fan of the wankel engine -- ingenious as it is -- or its low mileage.

The RX-8 also takes premium gasoline. I'm not sure if it's able to adjust its timing to accommodate cheaper gasoline, but if it isn't, then it's definitely off my list of cars I would buy even if I had more money than sense

Otherwise, I really love the car.
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#6 of 37 Dennis Nicholls

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Posted December 27 2007 - 06:03 AM

I've owned several Mazda products and can vouch that it's a good company. They are just as good a product as Hondas and Toyotas but somehow the Mazda brand never got the cachet of those two other manufacturers. I drove my 1992 Miata for 10 trouble-free years before upgrading to a full-options 2004 Miata. I only got rid of the '92 because I ended up using it as my primary car and wanted p/w, a/c, leather interior, LSD, etc. A friend bought my '92 and is still driving it sans any trouble. That's a 15 year old car!

I don't have much experience with the Wankel but know that Mazda spent decades getting the problems resolved with the apex seals - the Wankel equivalent of piston rings. IIUC the current Mazda Wankels last 200K miles with proper manintenance - keep checking your oil as they use a bit.

Sadly German cars aren't up at the top of reliability these days. I owned three VW products over the years: a 1971 Karman Ghia, a 1978 Scirocco, and a 1984 Jetta. As time went on the designs and performances improved but the reliability went down. A friend owned a 7-series BMW and complained that it had the quality and reliability of a Buick. Posted Image

Since you live in high-crime LA, have you considered a new retractable-metal-top MX-5 aka "Miata"? Posted Image

Posted Image
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#7 of 37 Ron-P

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Posted December 27 2007 - 06:14 AM

I like that Miata, but it only seats 2, I can do it but I'd rather get something like the Miata but seats 4, that's why the RX-8 is such a perfect fit other then it's questionable reliablilty.
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#8 of 37 Steve Schaffer

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Posted December 27 2007 - 06:17 AM

I've had a Mazda 3S 2.3 liter 5spd manual for 3 1/2 years now. Nothing has ever gone wrong with it, not one single problem other than a flat tire.
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#9 of 37 Jason Harbaugh

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Posted December 27 2007 - 07:05 AM

My brother has an RX-8. We just did a road trip from LA to San Fran. It is definitely a zippy car, no doubt about it. Got it up to 139 before my brother chickened out. Posted Image Made for a fun trip, albeit uncomfortable for tall passengers. I'm 6'3" and hit my head on the roof.

Biggest con is that it is a very expensive car to own. Premium gas being guzzled at about 1 gallon every 10 miles. Then every other fuelup you need to add oil. That last part is a joke. I can't believe they would put out a car with an engine that burns oil like no tomorrow.

If you have the spare cash and don't care about all of the money you put into the car after the fact, then go for it because it is a fun car with performance and looks. But if you are a treehugger and shallow pockets, this car is not for you.

Oh and the back seats are only for the short and skinny. Average sized adults will hate you if you shove them back there. Posted Image

#10 of 37 Dennis Nicholls

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Posted December 27 2007 - 07:27 AM

Ron, exactly why is a 4 seater needed? Posted Image

If you want a sports car, the 2 + 2 configurations never really seat 4 adults. Unless you don't like two of them.

If you want a 4 adult car, you should consider a sports sedan instead.

Heck if you can live with a 2 seater, a modern Corvette beats the RX-8 on gas mileage (30+ mpg highway from a 6+ liter V8!) and gets close on reliability.
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#11 of 37 Philip Hamm

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Posted December 27 2007 - 07:49 AM

Ron, I don't think the "reliability" of the RX-8 is in question - it is most definitely reliable ... up to a point. The old RX-7 engines were known to be good for no more than 120K or so miles, and they pretty much all failed catastrophically when the seals failed.

The apex seals Dennis mentioned above are the weak point on the Wankel engine design. Though he states so, I'm personally not convinced that Mazda has solved the problem, I don't think the problem is solvable. Maybe I'm wrong. The rest of the car should be relatively bullet proof if it's typical Mazda.
Quote:
I've owned several Mazda products and can vouch that it's a good company. They are just as good a product as Hondas and Toyotas but somehow the Mazda brand never got the cachet of those two other manufacturers.
The reason is because along with great reliable cars they also released many lemons through the years, particularly 626es (probably their largest selling model) with horribly flawed transmissions. Lots of people had those cars crap out on them. Lots more than had the last-forever Miatas, which as I understand it was one of the most bullet proof cars made by anyone.

The RX-8 guzzles premium unleaded like crazy and burns lots of oil. It doesn't burn oil because there's a reliability problem, it is by design. The oil lubricates the Apex seals and burns off during combustion. The wankel engine relies on oil burning as part of the combustion cycle, almost like a 2-stroke. It makes emissions control very difficult. You have to wrap your head around the engine design that's completely and radically different than the conventinoal four-stroke piston engine you're used to.

I like the RX-8 personally but would never consider owning one.

A 1.3 liter engine with no turbo that makes almost 250 horsepower. That's friggin' cool!

.....Oh.... little 4 seat sporty car? Mercedes C230 Kompressor coupe 6-speed. Absolutely a joy. Too bad they haven't released a version for the new generation C yet. Rumor has it they will announce a new one in March 2008.
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#12 of 37 Ron-P

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Posted December 27 2007 - 10:12 AM

Thanks for the input guys, I just got back from some test drives, the RX-8 is now off my list of cars to buy.


12/28/2007

2007 Mitsubishi Eclipse Coupe

6-speed manual, V-6, two door that seats 4...and comfortably. I liked this car. Quite impressive handling, good get up and go with 263 hp under the hood. Roomy inside with decent space and a very clean layout. A bit more of a bubble look then I want but still a very nice, clean sporty look. This jumped to the top of my buy list. Also, a very reliable car as well, just about all solid red dots in Consumer Reports. A great 5 year 50k bumper-to-bumper and 10 year 100k power train warranty.


2008 Mazda RX-8

6-speed, rotary engine with 212hp. A 4 door that feels very cramped, my head barely touched the roof. The salesmen’s head hit the roof. The back seating is nice but no leg room at all if the front passenger is tall and needs some leg room. Also the passenger leg area is very cramped due to a giant bump that sticks out due to the engine. The car is bigger but has less space inside then my MINI.

Performance wise this thing was a blast to drive, handled awesome, I was taking turns at more then twice the posted speed limit and didn't feel out of control in the least. The get up and go was also very impressive, like a rocket once you hit 2nd gear, 1st gear seemed a bit weak.

This car needs to be babied. It requires oil; it requires being warmed up, no cold starting and sudden stopping. It's very subject to flooding. The sales people, 3 of them all made sure I was very aware of these facts.


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Ron, exactly why is a 4 seater needed?
A wife and 10 year old.
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#13 of 37 Jason Kirkpatri

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Posted December 27 2007 - 01:22 PM

I'll throw this out as it's a car I'm looking at - Infiniti M6 G37. 3.7 turbo-charged V6 running 300+ HP. Rear wheel drive, 6 speed manual (heard that the clutch is very touchy). Not sure if that's a choice for you or not, but there's my two cents.

Posted Image

#14 of 37 Todd Hochard

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Posted December 27 2007 - 01:54 PM

Quote:
Infiniti M6 G37. 3.7 turbo-charged V6 running 300+ HP.
These aren't turbocharged. They make 330hp the old-fashioned way- naturally aspirated, and a REALLY high redline.Posted Image

Ron, you might look at a couple years old G35 Coupe. The styling is great, reliability is good (the ubiquitous Nissan VQ series V6), power is there (290+ all the way back to '04, IIRC), and seating will be fine. Available with 6spd manual, the only way to enjoy, IMO.
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#15 of 37 Jason Kirkpatri

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Posted December 27 2007 - 02:08 PM

I'll be damned Posted Image. 330 HP at 7,000 rpm. That'd be pretty neat, actually.

#16 of 37 Yee-Ming

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Posted December 27 2007 - 07:40 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron-P
2007 Mitsubishi Eclipse Coupe
Mitsubishi Evolution X Posted Image

Since it's based on the Lancer (Mirage) chassis, it's a 4-door sedan and can seat 3 adults in the rear if they squeeze a little. Come to think of it, since it's based on the new 2008 Lancer, which in Japan with a 2 litre engine is badged as the new Galant, it seems pretty roomy actually -- externally it certainly appears bigger than my 2005 Lancer. A friend of mine just bought a new Lancer, so if/when I get a ride in it I'll let you have my thoughts. Of course, it's still nowhere near an Evo -- I once rode in an Evo VII and when the driver floored it, it really felt like a rocket taking off.

#17 of 37 Philip Hamm

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Posted December 28 2007 - 01:17 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Todd Hochard
Ron, you might look at a couple years old G35 Coupe. The styling is great, reliability is good (the ubiquitous Nissan VQ series V6), power is there (290+ all the way back to '04, IIRC), and seating will be fine. Available with 6spd manual, the only way to enjoy, IMO.
I can't speak for Ron but it appears he is only considering brand new zero mileage cars. If gas mileage is important, give the gas mileage of the G35 a look. It's not so good IIRC.

If later model used cars are in the mix, I will say it again - give the Mercedes C Coupe a look. It's an amazingly fun car. It doesn't have impressive power on paper, but that supercharged four gets up and goes, believe me, and it gets fantastic mileage. And the handling is amazing. Rear wheel drive and all the electronic stability and safety bells and whistles that Merc puts in all their cars. Six speed tranny is the same one that is in the SLK, slick shifting, clutch feel is wonderful. I believe the six speed versions all came with the sport package (suspension/wheels). Lots of room inside both in the cargo bay and the back seat.

One complaint - the car cups front tires like nuts because of the steering geometry.

My wife and I absolutely adore hers, we've had it for three years and it has greatly exceeded our expectations. Extremely fun to drive. My only regret is that we leased it (I had cold feet about buying a German car after a very expensive experience with Audi). We are right on the mileage but will probably buy it when the lease runs out because we love the car.

I've owned a Mitsubishi. I wouldn't go to that brand again with a 10 foot pole.

Edit. Wow, this is my 4,000th post.
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#18 of 37 Dennis Nicholls

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Posted December 28 2007 - 03:18 AM

Sorry, Ron, I keep forgetting you have a kid. Otherwise if you were only worried about driving out-of-town visitors to Disneyland once a year, I'd have said get a 2 seater and rent a car when they arrive. But over the expected life of your new car that 10 year old will grow into someone as big as you are.

I agree with Philip...Mitsubishi doesn't sound like a place to go for cars. They make great street-racing cars for teenie-boppers who are going to smash them up anyway so they don't care about long-term reliability.
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#19 of 37 Shane Martin

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Posted December 28 2007 - 07:12 AM

I've owned a Mits recently and would recommend them. Toyotaesque reliablity is what I would describe.

That said, I don't like the Eclipse.

#20 of 37 Ron-P

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Posted December 28 2007 - 01:14 PM

Why no love for the Mits guys? They are well built cars and are rated very well by Consumer Reports.
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