Sporty/performance car; Built in Japan
  • 2-door coupe
  • longitudinal front-engine/rear-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $4,800 – $10,000*


1993 Mazda RX-7 2-door coupe


1993 Mazda RX-7 2-door coupe


1993 Mazda RX-7 interior


1995 Mazda RX-7 2-door coupe


1994 Mazda RX-7 2-door coupe

Pros:
  • Acceleration
  • Antilock brakes
  • Handling
  • Dual airbags (1994-95 models)
Cons:
  • Fuel economy
  • Passenger and cargo room
  • Ride
  • Road noise

By the time the car hit its final season, the base price had hit $36,500. Expensive when new, secondhand RX-7 coupes tend to be rather high-priced even with plenty of miles on their odometers. Mazda had only a couple of real rivals in the early ’90s, including the Toyota Supra Turbo and Nissan 300ZX Turbo. We recommend it over a Corvette, 300ZX and other high-end sports cars–provided you value high performance over comfort.

Overview

Launched as an early ’93 model, the third-generation RX-7 adopted a back-to basics approach that was reminiscent of the original 1978-85 model. The convertible and the closed 2+2 coupe were gone, leaving a lighter, more-potent hatchback coupe with fresh styling.

The rear-wheel-drive layout and 1.3-liter rotary engine were retained from the second generation, but twin turbochargers boosted horsepower to 255. Either a 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic transmission could be installed. The RX-7’s wheelbase was little-changed, but overall length shrunk by 1.4 inches. The car was 2.4 inches wider and 1.4 inches lower than before. Base curb weight dropped by some 190 pounds, compared to the old Turbo.

A driver’s airbag, all-disc antilock braking, and limited-slip differential were standard. The performance-minded R-1 option added dual oil coolers and body spoilers, but was not available with the luxury-oriented Touring Package. That option group included leather seats, a power sunroof, Bose speakers, and cruise controls in the steering-wheel hub.

Yearly Updates

1994 RX-7
Improvements this year included a new “one-touch” feature for the driver’s window, plus map pockets. Dual airbags were installed, and a softer suspension setting aimed to reduce ride harshness over bumps–especially in the base and Touring editions. Dashboards were revised slightly. A new option group put popular features into a single package. Three major option groups were offered: Luxury-oriented Touring (now with a power steel sunroof rather than glass); Performance (now called R-2); and Popular Equipment (sunroof, leather, and a rear cargo cover).
1995 RX-7
Not many changes were evident for 1995, as the RX-7 began to fade out of Mazda’s lineup, a victim of sluggish sales. The car’s standard air conditioning unit switches to CFC-free refrigerant. The Touring Package was dropped, but leather seats, a cargo cover, and a power steel sunroof remained available in the optional Popular Equipment Group. Red leather upholstery no longer was offered. An R-2 performance package also remained available, featuring a firmer suspension, dual oil coolers, rear spoiler, front air dam, and Z-rated tires.

Engines

longitudinal front-engine/rear-wheel drive

A turbocharged twin-rotor Wankel (rotary) engine sent its 255 horsepower to either a 5-speed manual gearbox or a 4-speed automatic transmission.

Turbocharged 2-rotor Wankel
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 1.3/81
Engine HP 255
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 217
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
4-speed automatic
17/25
17/24

Road Test

This is a car for shoppers who value performance over comfort. A potent turbocharged engine, razor-sharp handling talents, and head-turning styling make the RX-7 a joy for the serious driver–provided that driver can afford the tariff. Mazda called this generation a more “honest” sports car with fewer unsporting frills than its immediate predecessor.

Acceleration is nothing short of exhilarating, though turbo boost sometimes turns up in a sudden, unexpected rush of power that can catch the unwary driver off guard. A test 5-speed RX-7 zoomed to 60 mph in a sizzling 5.9 seconds. Not quite so appealing was its fuel mileage, averaging just 15.3 mpg from an even mix of driving on expressways and surface streets. Premium gasoline is required, adding to the everyday driving cost.

Handling is quick and responsive, virtually free of body lean. Brakes are powerful, able to bring this coupe to a halt with excellent control and nearly no nosedive. An even 50/50 weight distribution between front and rear allows the RX-7 to change direction with flawless balance and control. Tenacious road grip on dry pavement inspires confidence. Find yourself on wet roads, however, and caution is mandatory because the rear tires can lose traction easily.

The ride is stiff on all roads and harsh on rough surfaces–even with the softer suspension installed for ’94. That gets tiring on long drives. Wind noise is low at highway speeds, but tires and suspensions thump and bump loudly, on all but unblemished surfaces. Engine noise is prominent, if pleasant to hear.

Space is adequate for two. Cabin comfort is fine for shorter folks, but tall ones are likely to find head room limited. Seats are narrow and lanky drivers may find their knees colliding with the non-adjustable steering wheel. The dashboard is clean and convenient, but the cargo bay holds only a couple of small suitcases. Entry and exit demand the usual sports-car gymnastics.

Ratings

Model Tested: 1995 Mazda RX-7

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.

Performance

Acceleration - 7
70%
Fuel Economy - 4
40%
Ride Quality - 2
20%
Steering/Handling - 8
80%
Quietness - 2
20%

Accommodations

Controls/Materials - 5
50%
Room/Comfort Front - 4
40%
Room/Comfort Rear - 0
00%
Cargo Room - 1
10%

Other

Value - 4
40%

Total: 37

Specifications

2-door coupe
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
95.5 168.5 68.9 48.4
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
17 20 2
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
37.6 44.1
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 1995 RX-7 2-door coupe

NHTSA

(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
N/A0%
Front Passenger Injury - N/A
N/A0%

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
N/A0%
Rear Passenger Injury - N/A
N/A0%

HLDI

(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision 282
Injury 79
Theft 424

Trouble Spots

Air conditioner
Description: A problem in the hazard-flasher switch circuit prevents the air conditioning from working. (1993-95)
Climate control
Description: Using a nonoriginal-equipment air filter allows hot air to be drawn into the air pump causing it to fail. (1993-95)

Recall History

1993
Description: Oil mist contained in engine intake air can collect over time in brake-vacuum check valve, preventing it from opening at specified pressure and reducing power assist to brakes.
1993-94
Description: Radiator-cap pressure relief-valve pressure is set too high, causing coolant to reach excessive temperatures.
1993-94
Description: Residual engine heat can cause premature deterioration of fuel hose.
1993-95 w/accessory hood
Description: Hook on hood striker for Mazda Speed Resinous hoods, sold as accessories, may separate from base plate at welded portion; hood may open suddenly.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.

Pricing

Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.