Used 2006 Mazda RX-8

2006 Mazda RX-8
List price range
2006 Mazda RX-8


  • Low starting price, athletic handling with a comfortable ride, rotary engine's smooth and high-winding nature, can seat four adults.


  • Most optional features buried in packages, rotary's poor fuel economy and mediocre torque output, some quirky interior ergonomics.
Mazda RX-8 years

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Edmunds' Expert Review

The four-seat 2006 Mazda RX-8 offers sports car-like performance without the typically attendant stiff ride. Only disappointing fuel mileage prevents the RX-8 from being the ultimate in a practical sports car.

vehicle overview

Sport coupes have been around a long time, but few have been as unconventional as the 2006 Mazda RX-8. This nimble-handling machine is not only the only new production car sold in the world to have a rotary engine, it's also the only sport coupe to have a set of rear-opening doors that allows access to a surprisingly roomy four-passenger cabin.

These days, the Wankel rotary engine is pretty much synonymous with Mazda. Its advantages over a traditional piston engine include a higher specific output for a given physical size, a lighter weight and fewer moving parts. Mazda's latest "Renesis" rotary design has also minimized most of the traditional drawbacks. In the RX-8, Mazda's engineers were able to utilize the rotary's weight and size advantages to optimize engine placement. The result is a 50/50 weight balance between each set of wheels, a low center of gravity and a low hood line that contributes to the car's sporty style and a slippery coefficient of drag. The RX-8's base curb weight is about 3,000 pounds, about 300-400 pounds less than its main competitors. In terms of handling, very few cars achieve a better balance between handling precision and ride quality than the Mazda.

Although the idea of a "2+2" sports car has been around for decades, the RX-8 takes it to the next level via the "free style" doors in back, which open opposite the fronts and make loading people and cargo much easier. Provided they are under 6 feet tall, those seated in the back will find supportive seating and ample room all around. Alternately, the rear-seat area is a great place to throw luggage or grocery bags, though a synergy between it and the rear cargo area can't be obtained as the rear seats don't fold forward.

There aren't a lot of cars in the under-$30,000 sports car segment. But of the few, Nissan's 350Z is the RX-8's most direct competitor, as it offers similar performance for a slightly higher price. With no backseat, the Z is more of a true sports car, but for those who need a little practicality and a more forgiving ride, the 2006 Mazda RX-8 is hard to beat.

2006 Mazda RX-8 configurations

The Mazda RX-8 comes as a four-seat hardtop with, essentially, four doors. The front doors are full-size, while two smaller rear doors ease access to the rear passenger compartment. The RX-8 line comprises an automatic-transmission model with a new six-speed gearbox, and a manual transmission version that also has six cogs. The automatic RX-8 comes standard with air conditioning, 16-inch wheels and power windows, locks and mirrors. The six-speed manual model adds a limited-slip differential, a sport-tuned suspension and 18-inch wheels and tires. There are four option packages available. On six-speed models, the Sport package adds xenon headlights, stability and traction control and foglights, while automatic-equipped versions also get a limited-slip differential, larger brakes, a retuned suspension and 18-inch wheels. The Touring package provides a sunroof, Bose audio system, Homelink and auto-dimming mirrors. The Grand Touring package adds all of the above equipment, along with a six-way power-adjustable driver seat, heated seats, leather upholstery and heated side mirrors. The Shinka (Japanese for "Evolution") package adds both sporty and luxury features via a more aggressively tuned suspension, leather/Alcantara seating, Sirius satellite radio, upgraded interior trim and unique 18-inch alloys. Stand-alone options include a navigation system and an in-dash six-disc CD changer.

2006 Highlights

Automatic transmission-equipped Mazda RX-8s are a bit sportier for 2006. A new paddle-shift six-speed automatic replaces last year's four-speed transmission, and the rotary engine's maximum horsepower has been increased for cars equipped with the automatic.

Performance & mpg

Both versions of the Mazda RX-8 are motivated by a 1.3-liter rotary engine that sends power to the rear wheels. When connected to the six-speed, paddle-shift automatic transmission, the engine is tuned to produce 212 horsepower. Manual-transmission versions get a 232-hp version of this power plant. Coupled with the vehicle's light weight, the RX-8 delivers exhilarating performance along with ultra-smooth power delivery. We've recorded zero to 60 mph in 7.0 seconds and a quarter-mile performance of 15.4 seconds with the six-speed manual.


Side airbags and side curtain airbags for the driver and front passenger come standard, as do four-wheel antilock disc brakes. Stability control is optional. In NHTSA crash testing, the Mazda RX-8 earned a four-star rating (out of a possible five) for driver protection in frontal impacts and five stars for the front passenger. The Mazda received four stars across the board for side-impact protection. Additionally, the RX-8 is the only passenger car currently sold in the U.S. to earn a perfect five-star rollover rating from the NHTSA.


Although the 2006 Mazda RX-8 has the look of a race-tuned sports car, its demeanor on the road is considerably more docile. There's plenty of grip in the corners and solid feedback through the steering wheel, but it won't beat you up on the daily commute. The rotary engine requires high engine speeds to make its peak power, but the delivery is virtually vibration-free and noise levels are subdued. Overall, the RX-8 is one of the best examples of a car that's fun to drive while still remaining livable on a day-to-day basis.


The RX-8's rear-hinged rear doors allow unobstructed access to the rear seats, giving this sports car the ability to comfortably carry four adults thanks to well-shaped seats and a roofline that allows ample headroom in back. The interior design carries a circular theme, with three round gauges and a circular central dash pod that houses the stereo and climate control functions, while "piano black" accents lend a touch of class to the cockpit. Unfortunately, an overly busy display for the audio system and climate control makes "at a glance" reading a challenge.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2006 Mazda RX-8.

Overall Consumer Rating

Most helpful consumer reviews

Amazing car....
This car is amazing.... It is like no other car I have owned. It is fun, sporty, sexy and fast. It may not be the fastest in a straight line but if you are concerned about that you have missed the point of this car. I live in east TN where there are twisty roads everywhere. This car is as close as you are going to get to perfect handling for the money. my only concern is gas mileage. mazda really needs to spend some time on this. I understand this engine is in a high state of tune and it is a sports car but averaging 18mpg is pretty sad when you drive mostly highway. Before buying this car please read the FAQs page on RX8club dot com. there are many things that are unique to this car.
Way under-rated auto/Fun to drive car!
De Groot,12/05/2006
This is my 6th car, 5th brand new car. I had to give up a manual, knee problems, and give up a car I just loved, an Infiniti G20 1996. I wanted something that would be different so I wouldn't compare, something fun so I wouldn't miss the G20. Ha! I got it! This car is fun enjoyment. And it's a car I fit into. I never thought it would accommodate my 6'4" frame. You feel the road and it really hugs the road. At highway speeds it's as smooth a ride as the G20. The handling is sure and real responsive. My favorite stretch of Highway 1 was no disappointment with this car, handling the switchback and tight curves with a sure footing. This car seems capable to give more than it is asked to give.
This is different.
I honestly could not see myself in one of these cars, but I'm really enjoying the experience. Perhaps with just buying this lovely car I'm not quite qualified to offer an opinion but here is my initial impressions. I was fortunate to find a low mileage ( 25k,in kilometers ) GT model with the luxury package and automatic ( wife needs auto. ) We took it for a good run on a winding highway,,,,wow, it has more than enough power for me ( I'm 64 ) the handling was great, the paddle shifters are great fun, so smooth a ride. The interior is so luxurious and very comfortable, oh sure it sucked some fuel but that is a known fact with this car and that's the price you pay,,no big deal. Nice car !!
Quirky Fun
After a few years - Still tons of fun to drive, but not good for heavy traffic commuting. Don't drive it on snow or ice - you will die. On the other hand, its a great road trip car and the handling is amazing. Turns and stops better than anything I've ever driven. It will do a decent 0- 60 if you are willing to abuse the gearbox and clutch, but why? The thing really turns on above 5,000 rpm and is a hoot. It took some time and practice to learn how to maximize the performance, but once you figure out the engine it is the easiest car to drive fast that I've ever experienced.
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Features & Specs

16 city / 23 hwy
Seats 4
6-speed shiftable automatic
212 hp @ 7500 rpm
16 city / 22 hwy
Seats 4
6-speed manual
232 hp @ 8500 rpm
See all Used 2006 Mazda RX-8 features & specs


NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver4 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver4 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    Rollover5 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated

More about the 2006 Mazda RX-8
Used 2006 Mazda RX-8 Overview

The Used 2006 Mazda RX-8 is offered in the following submodels: RX-8 Coupe. Available styles include Automatic 4dr Coupe (1.3L 2rtr 6A), and Manual 4dr Coupe (1.3L 2rtr 6M).

What's a good price on a Used 2006 Mazda RX-8?

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Which used 2006 Mazda RX-8s are available in my area?

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Find a used Mazda RX-8 for sale - 7 great deals out of 11 listings starting at $13,387.

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Should I lease or buy a 2006 Mazda RX-8?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

Check out Mazda lease specials
Check out Mazda RX-8 lease specials