Since taking the keys to the car I have not failed to be impressed by its distinctive styling and impressive performance.
But although I initially liked the fact its rear doors open the wrong way and only do so once the front doors are open, this is one novelty that’s quickly wearing off.
In tight supermarket spaces, opening the doors to load children and shopping can be a pain. It wouldn’t be enough to put me off choosing an RX-8 because the car’s plus points far outweigh any negatives, but it’s a consideration.
And, in its favour, such a system does make loading adults into the back easier providing there’s plenty of room around the car and once inside there’s enough room, particularly for anyone under six feet tall.
The RX-8 is classed as a sports car but there is enough room for four people, although long journeys may become uncomfortable for passengers in the rear.
My fuel economy has improved slightly since my last long-term test report (up from 21.1mpg to 22.3mpg) but it has still not reached the manufacturer’s official figure.
As well as regular fill-ups, I’m also having to check the oil level every 400 miles, as the rotary engine is still consuming oil at a high rate.
The benefits of such technology, according to Mazda, are that rotary engines, over traditional piston engines, are lighter, smaller, have lower vibration, higher power and offer better reliability, as they have fewer moving parts.
Despite these assurances, many fleets are no doubt nervous over such technology but a 45% residual value prediction over three years/ 60,000 miles means used car experts are expecting it to prove a popular choice in the second-hand market.
Model: Mazda RX-8 231
Price (OTR): £22,100 (£25,900 as tested)
CO2 emissions (g/km): 284
Company car tax bill (2005/6) 22% tax-payer: £256 per month
Insurance group: 16
Combined mpg: 24.8
Test mpg: 22.3
CAP Monitor residual value: £9,900/45%
HSBC contract hire rate: £502
Expenditure to date: Nil
Figures based on three years/60,000 miles