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SAFETY | 7 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
The 2010 Mazda RX-8 is, for the most part, a safe sports car; even though it’s small, light, and low, it provides reasonably good protection and should have excellent accident-avoidance ability. The only sore point is that electronic stability control isn’t offered across the model line.
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. The federal government fully tested the 2010 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.
Most versions of the 2010 Mazda RX-8 come equipped with a decent number of safety features—though not everything that reviewers and shoppers alike expect to see. As Edmunds reviewers point out "all but the Sport model" of the 2009 Mazda RX-8 "get stability control standard." ConsumerGuide reports that the remaining standard safety features on the 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). 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 reviewers are particularly critical about visibility, finding that the "thick rear roof pillars severely compromise aft visibility" in the RX-8.
A lack of stability control on all 2010 RX-8 models sours an otherwise decent safety roster.