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SAFETY | 8 out of 10
brakes deliver good overall stopping control
Five stars, front impact protection; four stars, side impact protection
rigidity and safety against a side impact
The 2008 Mazda RX-8 earned strong safety scores from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), getting five stars in front impact tests and four in side impact tests.
Cars.com reports that "side-impact airbags for the front seats and side curtain airbags are standard in the Mazda 2008," while an "electronic stability system is standard on all models" above the base trim. Automotive.com relates that in order to "compensate for the lack of a B-pillar, Mazda has carefully designed the structure with supporting steel crossmembers and braces, as well as reinforcements around the door perimeter for rigidity and safety against a side impact." Kelley Blue Book discloses there's an optional traction control system for all trims of the Mazda RX-8.
According to ConsumerGuide, the Mazda 2008's "thick rear roof pillars severely compromise aft visibility." Otherwise, says Canadian Driver, "outward visibility is surprisingly good" in the Mazda RX-8, "thanks to the low hood and wrapover rear window."
Crash-test scores are good for the 2008 Mazda RX-8, but stability control isn’t available on base versions.