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SAFETY | 8 out of 10
Four stars, front driver impact and side impact; five stars, front passenger impact
All but the Sport model get stability control standard
Side-impact airbags for the front seats and side curtain airbags are standard
With a small engine and relatively low power numbers to work with, saving weight is critical in the design of the 2009 Mazda RX-8. Fortunately, Mazda engineers are thoughtful enough to include some critical safety features on the 2009 RX-8 Mazda, so drivers won't be completely vulnerable during an accident.
The 2009 Mazda RX-8 scores well in government crash tests. NHTSA fully tested the 2009 RX-8 Mazda and awarded it four out of a possible five stars for front driver impacts and side impacts on both sides. The Mazda RX-8 also earned a perfect five-star rating from NHTSA in the front passenger side impact category. As of this writing, the Mazda RX-8 has not been crash-tested by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, most likely due to the fact that Mazda sells a relatively small number of RX-8s each year.
Most versions of the 2009 Mazda RX-8 come equipped with Mazda's full range of safety features. As Edmunds reviewers point out, "all but the Sport model" of the 2009 Mazda RX-8 "get stability control standard." Cars.com adds that "antilock brakes, side-impact airbags for the front seats and side curtain airbags" are standard as well on the Mazda RX-8. ConsumerGuide reports that the remaining standard safety features on the 2009 Mazda RX-8 include "dual front airbags" and a "tire-pressure monitor," which can also be used to help improve fuel economy (and the Mazda RX-8 needs all the help it can get).
The Mazda RX-8 is, for the most part, a relatively safe sportscar. However, reviews read by TheCarConnection.com reveal one critical shortcoming that safety-conscious buyers should consider: poor driver visibility. ConsumerGuide reviewers are particularly critical, finding that the "thick rear roof pillars severely compromise aft visibility." This issue is of even greater concern on a car as small as the Mazda RX-8.
The 2009 Mazda RX-8 lacks the electronic stability control that most sportscars have, and driver visibility needs some serious improvement.