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Keep the Protege5, get an RX-8, or neither?

The Right Car for Me | TrueDelta

mkaresh
Ten-Year Veteran

About five years ago I briefly considered getting a Honda S2000, then a Mazda RX-8. My father then bought one of the latter. We figured that once he tired of it, I'd take it off his hands.

It took much longer than he expected, but he has now tired of the RX-8, a 2006 Shinka. So I must decide whether to get it from him, or if he should sell it.

Since I have a press car for review most weeks, it doesn't really make sense to have the RX-8 as a third car. But can it replace my aging 2003 Mazda Protege5? Does this car make any sense at all for me? I currently drive the Protege those times I don't have a press car, putting just a few thousand miles on it per year. This driving most often happens in January, when we tend to have snow on the ground. One child still needs to be picked up from school each day. Plus runs to CostCo and the kids' after-school activities. Nearly all of my driving is in the Detroit suburbs.

I've been fighting rust on the Protege5 for five years. The merciful thing would be to find it a new owner somewhere the roads aren't salted.

But is an RX-8 a viable replacement? Or should I either drive the Protege5 into the ground or look for something else? If the last, I prefer compact cars and require a manual transmission.

Priorities: Cargo capacity / Driving position & visibility / Handling

Preferred Bodystyle(s): Hatch / Coupe

Car Needs: Fun toy / Errands about town / Family transporter

Need minimum of 4 seats

Will consider both new and used cars
Maximum mileage: 60000
Maximum age: 7 years

Maximum price: US $ 15000

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Response from Cynder

6:30 pm March 30, 2014

The Mazda RX-8 is not well suited for your needs. These vehicles require fastidious maintenance and are not particularly fun to drive in the cold and snow. You would do well to find a lightly used Ford Fiesta or a Mazda 3… both would be fun to drive and serve all your needs perfectly.

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Ford Fiesta
Mazda Mazda3

Response from avshelden

7:38 pm March 30, 2014

Get the RX-8 only if you want it as a toy, it obviously won't be the family transporter. If you're willing to pay the maintenance, I've been very happy with my '07 Audi A4 Avant. I would think your budget might cover one a bit newer than mine. It's a great balance of fun and practical. In a competing model, you might also look at a Volvo V50 T5 (if you can find one). Yes, these are both more wagon than hatch, but I think would fill the fun factor and still be family friendly.

I will say I also just had a VW Golf 4 door as a rental and was pretty happy with it.


My final comments, if you are getting a "steal" on the RX-8, go for it, but keep the Protege too.

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Audi A4 / S4 / RS4
Volvo V50
Volkswagen Golf / Rabbit / GTI

Response from mkaresh

7:43 pm March 30, 2014

If I keep the Protege5, then the Ford Taurus X would have to sit outside all winter. It's not as rust-prone as the Mazdas (which is why they'd get the garage), but still not the way I'd like to go.

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Response from sasolomon

10:31 pm March 30, 2014

I really really really want to suggest the RX-8, because you deserve the fun car as the bonus, but it really doesn't sound like it will work for your needs. Yes, you can buy a set of winter shoes for it and that will help, but your winters and ground clearance sounds like an issue. If you really could keep the RX as a weekend car (or get a car cover and store for the winter), that would be perfect but it just isn't practical enough for even a 1/4 Costco run (says the guy who has done home depot runs in a FR-S with lumber sticking out the back).

In your pro/con list, write down how many times in the past 6 months that the RX-8 would not have worked. If you have less than 3, then you probably could get away with it. If more, you probably would regret it.

I know your buddy Steve would say "keep the 5". :)

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Response from dholzman1776

11:09 pm March 30, 2014

Has the RX-8 been reliable for your father? (And is he in a comparable part of the country?) If so, I'd say keep it. You mention visibility as a priority--most contemporary cars (since, I don't know, around '08) are terrible!!! With a few exceptions such as Foresters, and some SUVs, and ***maybe*** some VWs.

If the RX-8 hasn't been reliable, I'd say hang onto the Protege for a few more years and hope that this slit window fad passes quickly.

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Response from zcd1

10:02 am March 31, 2014

Response from mkaresh

1:14 pm March 31, 2014

The RX-8 has been reliable for my father. And it would hold as much as I usually buy at CostCo. I hadn't considered that a car cover might be a solution to my car storage conundrum. No good place on the driveway to keep a parked car, though.
The hard part is that there are about two weeks each January around the Detroit auto show that I do not have a press car, and during which the RX-8 would not work well unless I buy winter tires for it. But it's also hard to justify a second set of wheels and tires for two weeks a year. Those tires will rot long before they wear out.

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Response from Member3162

6:41 am April 2, 2014

Have not heard good things about the RX-8 and cold weather. Fortunately, there are tons of fun choices in this spaceMichael: 1) Mini Cooper S 2) Subaru WRX (four doors is nice for family duty) 3) Acura RSX/TSX S-Type 4) Audi A4 2.0T (Chip FTW) 5) Saab 9-3 6) Civic Si 7) VW GTI And regardless of what you choose to do, investing in a set of dedicated winter tires (or tires and wheels) is cheap insurance. Now go and have some fun! Dave W.

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Mini Hardtop
Acura RSX
Saab 9-3

Response from sasolomon

1:53 pm April 14, 2014

For those two weeks you need a car in January, why not just rent something? You have plenty of advanced notice and can find an off-airport rental probably pretty cheap by the week. Certainly much cheaper than owning something.

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Response from nasowas

9:29 pm April 21, 2014

There seems to be a response to the rust issue that doesn't quite make sens to me. Once the car has been exposed to the rad salt it will rust. If you take it to the southern region it will take the rust right with it . If you put it into the garage it will rust right there. Your only chance to fight the rust is washing off all the salt immediatly.
Mazda Protege (Mazdas in general) have lousy rust protection.

My suggestion: keep the Mazda Protege 5 until it has structural rust issues or another expensive repair. Meanwhile safe up for a newer vehicle.

Dad's RX8 could be an additional fun car that should not be operated in winter conditions. It could be a trade in when the 5 gives up which could take a few years depending on your tolerance for cosmetic rust.

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Mazda Protege
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