Likes

  • A true automotive icon.
  • Stunning timeless design.
  • As unique and engaging now as it was when new.
  • Huge community and support network.

Dislikes

  • Extensive and often expensive reliability concerns.
  • Many on the used market have seen better days.
  • Interior trim is often feeling its age.
  • Ignoring the mystique, arguably asking too much money.

Stuff you should know

When it comes to iconic Japanese sports cars, the Mazda RX-7 FD stands out as a true legend that has left an indelible mark on automotive history. With its sleek design, powerful rotary engine, and impressive driving dynamics, the FD RX-7 continues to captivate enthusiasts and collectors alike. Let’s take a closer look at what makes this car so special.

The Mazda RX-7 FD, also known as the FD3S, is the third and (currently) final generation of the RX-7 lineup, which spanned from 1992 to 2002. Continuing the tradition of its predecessors, the FD RX-7 boasts a front-engine, rear-wheel-drive layout and is powered by a distinctive rotary engine. Mazda’s commitment to minimizing weight led to the creation of a chassis that combined cutting-edge engineering with stunning aesthetics.

The heart of the RX-7 FD is its 1.3-liter 13B-REW rotary engine. What sets this engine apart is its sequential twin-turbocharged system, a technological marvel that was a first for mass-produced Japanese exports. Initially producing 188kW (252 hp), the power output was later increased to 206 kW (276 hp) before the end of production in Japan in 2002. This power was not just about straight-line speed; the engine’s ability to rev up to an astonishing 8,000 RPM provided an exhilarating driving experience, however, with it’s age and complexity, reliability is becoming a major concern.

With a curb weight under 1,300 kg, the FD was an embodiment of Mazda’s commitment to lightweight performance. This lightweight and gorgeous design, coupled with its front mid-engine layout, contributed to the car’s exceptional handling and agility on the road.

The RX-7 FD underwent a series of updates throughout its production run. The Series 7, introduced in 1996, brought about electronic and mechanical enhancements that improved the car’s driving dynamics. The Series 8, which marked the final iteration of the FD, featured more efficient turbochargers, a revamped front fascia for better cooling, and interior upgrades such as a redesigned instrument cluster, steering wheel, and seats.

Furthermore, the RX-7 FD saw various trim specifications and special editions, typical of the Japanese performance car market. However, the availability of different variants varied depending on the market. The world of grey imports emerged as enthusiasts started importing Japanese-market-only models into other countries. This presented opportunities but also potential risks for buyers.

The Mazda RX-7 FD has garnered a dedicated following within the tuning community. Its genetic makeup made it a canvas for enthusiasts to customize and enhance, but this also led to instances of poor modifications or abuse. Ensuring that a prospective purchase has been well-maintained and treated respectfully becomes crucial in this context.

As the years have passed, the RX-7 FD has achieved classic status, appearing in movies, video games, and popular culture. The demand for well-preserved examples has led to rising prices, creating a challenge for those seeking the perfect third-generation RX-7.

What goes wrong

Exterior:

It’s important to note that if the RX-7 has been neglected and exposed to the sun, the factory paint can fade or even peel, particularly on pre-1994 models. Additionally, the paint is prone to chipping quite easily.

If you’re eyeing an RX-7 with an aftermarket body kit, ensure it’s of high quality and professionally installed. Poorly fitted body kits have led to water seepage into interior body panels, causing various issues.

For early models, be wary of ripples forming on the front bar due to prolonged exposure to hot climates.

Squeaky noises from the bonnet latch and hinges are known, which might be confused with suspension problems.

Both headlights and taillights are susceptible to fogging or misting due to condensation buildup. This can impact their performance, making restoration or replacement crucial.

While rust isn’t a major concern, keep an eye out for corrosion around door edges, wheel arches, wheel wells (especially front of the rear wheel arch), sills, under rear tail lights, spare wheel well, bonnet hinges and surrounding area, and behind the rear bumper (which requires bumper removal).

Oddly enough, door handles can come off fairly easily in some cases.

Reports of electrical issues are common, often resulting from improperly installed aftermarket security systems.

Rarely, the pop-up headlights might continue moving after being turned off due to a relay issue inside the motor actuator.

Avoid rear-end collisions, especially with Series 8 RX-7s, as replacing the front bar and rear wing can be prohibitively expensive.

 

Interior:

Be aware that instrument clusters can become faulty or fail due to damaged ECU connectors or leaky capacitors on circuit boards. Early models might experience grounding issues, leading to the use of earth kits.

The leather on factory seats wrinkles and creases easily, while bolsters can wear out quickly.

Interior electrical problems include issues with HVAC systems, window switches, and interior lighting.

The Air Conditioning/HVAC system can fail due to a short circuit in the hazard-flasher switch. Non-factory A/C filters can damage the air pump, causing it to fail.

Brittle interior plastics can result in rattling and squeaking, as well as cracking and breaking.

The centre console coin collector hinges are known to come off easily, and the driver’s side plastic compartment lid is usually broken.

Many of the parts required for interior fixes are becoming scarce, raising the cost of repairs. Keep this in mind, as even minor repairs can be unexpectedly pricey.

 

Mechanically:

Enthusiastic rotary fans will ardently claim that the FD RX7 is indeed reliable, provided you embark on a journey to shed numerous factory components, undertake essential modifications, and diligently adhere to a rigorous maintenance regimen. Yet, for many, this isn’t synonymous with reliability; it’s akin to

Exterior:

It’s important to note that if the RX-7 has been neglected and exposed to the sun, the factory paint can fade or even peel, particularly on pre-1994 models. Additionally, the paint is prone to chipping quite easily.

If you’re eyeing an RX-7 with an aftermarket body kit, ensure it’s of high quality and professionally installed. Poorly fitted body kits have led to water seepage into interior body panels, causing various issues.

For early models, be wary of ripples forming on the front bar due to prolonged exposure to hot climates.

Squeaky noises from the bonnet latch and hinges are known, which might be confused with suspension problems.

Both headlights and taillights are susceptible to fogging or misting due to condensation buildup. This can impact their performance, making restoration or replacement crucial.

While rust isn’t a major concern, keep an eye out for corrosion around door edges, wheel arches, wheel wells (especially front of the rear wheel arch), sills, under rear tail lights, spare wheel well, bonnet hinges and surrounding area, and behind the rear bumper (which requires bumper removal).

Oddly enough, door handles can come off fairly easily in some cases.

Reports of electrical issues are common, often resulting from improperly installed aftermarket security systems.

Rarely, the pop-up headlights might continue moving after being turned off due to a relay issue inside the motor actuator.

Avoid rear-end collisions, especially with Series 8 RX-7s, as replacing the front bar and rear wing can be prohibitively expensive.

 

Interior:

Be aware that instrument clusters can become faulty or fail due to damaged ECU connectors or leaky capacitors on circuit boards. Early models might experience grounding issues, leading to the use of earth kits.

The leather on factory seats wrinkles and creases easily, while bolsters can wear out quickly.

Interior electrical problems include issues with HVAC systems, window switches, and interior lighting.

The Air Conditioning/HVAC system can fail due to a short circuit in the hazard-flasher switch. Non-factory A/C filters can damage the air pump, causing it to fail.

Brittle interior plastics can result in rattling and squeaking, as well as cracking and breaking.

The centre console coin collector hinges are known to come off easily, and the driver’s side plastic compartment lid is usually broken.

Many of the parts required for interior fixes are becoming scarce, raising the cost of repairs. Keep this in mind, as even minor repairs can be unexpectedly pricey.

 

Mechanically:

Enthusiastic rotary fans will ardently claim that the FD RX7 is indeed reliable, provided you embark on a journey to shed numerous factory components, undertake essential modifications, and diligently adhere to a rigorous maintenance regimen. Yet, for many, this isn’t synonymous with reliability; it’s akin to enduring an expensive and demanding ordeal.

At this stage in their lifespan, it’s not about speculating what might go awry—it’s about strategizing to slightly prolong the inevitable and often catastrophic engine failure. When distilled to its essence, the demise of these machines can be attributed to fuel irregularities (either excessively rich or lean mixtures), lubrication insufficiencies (internally or via the oil metering pump), ignition complexities, or cooling system glitches.

Of course, it’s worth noting that these factors aren’t unique to these engines alone; they’re prevalent concerns in any engine. The distinction lies in the sensitivity and intricacy of certain support systems within these rotary powerplants, setting them apart from their conventional counterparts. While they function seamlessly under optimal conditions, their tolerance for deviation from the ideal state is remarkably low.

Precision is key—air-fuel ratios, ignition sequences, lubrication levels, and operating temperatures must align harmoniously, or the engine’s survival is jeopardized. In its stock and unmodified state, if the car has been driven, or if you intend to drive it, complications tend to arise due to the intricate twin-turbo setup and the intricate network of vacuum lines and solenoids associated with it. Ensuring the fuel pump, regulator, and injectors are in proper working order becomes imperative, as catalytic converters have a tendency to degrade.

Regarding lubrication, frequent servicing with the correct oil is paramount. Unless you’re willing to dabble in mixing oil and fuel, the oil metering pump must function flawlessly to deliver lubrication effectively. The under-bonnet temperatures these cars create are now taking a toll on plastic components in the electrical and cooling systems, making malfunctions in those areas commonplace.

However, unless you’re in a position to invest substantially in a well-maintained, mint condition RX-7 with significant and extremely high quality upgrades, be prepared for the primary source of issues: shoddy modifications and subpar repairs. The likelihood is that if you’re considering one of the more budget-friendly options, it’s been modified—likely in a less-than-optimal manner—and any of the aforementioned factors contributing to engine failure could be imminent.

In essence, in mechanical terms, owning an FD Mazda RX-7 demands not only financial commitment but also an unwavering passion for meticulous care and attention. The allure of these machines appeals to cash-rich collectors and devoted enthusiasts who are willing to navigate the intricate path to maintaining these iconic vehicles.

Exterior:

It’s important to note that if the RX-7 has been neglected and exposed to the sun, the factory paint can fade or even peel, particularly on pre-1994 models. Additionally, the paint is prone to chipping quite easily.

If you’re eyeing an RX-7 with an aftermarket body kit, ensure it’s of high quality and professionally installed. Poorly fitted body kits have led to water seepage into interior body panels, causing various issues.

For early models, be wary of ripples forming on the front bar due to prolonged exposure to hot climates.

Squeaky noises from the bonnet latch and hinges are known, which might be confused with suspension problems.

Both headlights and taillights are susceptible to fogging or misting due to condensation buildup. This can impact their performance, making restoration or replacement crucial.

While rust isn’t a major concern, keep an eye out for corrosion around door edges, wheel arches, wheel wells (especially front of the rear wheel arch), sills, under rear tail lights, spare wheel well, bonnet hinges and surrounding area, and behind the rear bumper (which requires bumper removal).

Oddly enough, door handles can come off fairly easily in some cases.

Reports of electrical issues are common, often resulting from improperly installed aftermarket security systems.

Rarely, the pop-up headlights might continue moving after being turned off due to a relay issue inside the motor actuator.

Avoid rear-end collisions, especially with Series 8 RX-7s, as replacing the front bar and rear wing can be prohibitively expensive.

 

Interior:

Be aware that instrument clusters can become faulty or fail due to damaged ECU connectors or leaky capacitors on circuit boards. Early models might experience grounding issues, leading to the use of earth kits.

The leather on factory seats wrinkles and creases easily, while bolsters can wear out quickly.

Interior electrical problems include issues with HVAC systems, window switches, and interior lighting.

The Air Conditioning/HVAC system can fail due to a short circuit in the hazard-flasher switch. Non-factory A/C filters can damage the air pump, causing it to fail.

Brittle interior plastics can result in rattling and squeaking, as well as cracking and breaking.

The centre console coin collector hinges are known to come off easily, and the driver’s side plastic compartment lid is usually broken.

Many of the parts required for interior fixes are becoming scarce, raising the cost of repairs. Keep this in mind, as even minor repairs can be unexpectedly pricey.

 

Mechanically:

Enthusiastic rotary fans will ardently claim that the FD RX7 is indeed reliable, provided you embark on a journey to shed numerous factory components, undertake essential modifications, and diligently adhere to a rigorous maintenance regimen. Yet, for many, this isn’t synonymous with reliability; it’s akin to enduring an expensive and demanding ordeal.

At this stage in their lifespan, it’s not about speculating what might go awry—it’s about strategizing to slightly prolong the inevitable and often catastrophic engine failure. When distilled to its essence, the demise of these machines can be attributed to fuel irregularities (either excessively rich or lean mixtures), lubrication insufficiencies (internally or via the oil metering pump), ignition complexities, or cooling system glitches.

Of course, it’s worth noting that these factors aren’t unique to these engines alone; they’re prevalent concerns in any engine. The distinction lies in the sensitivity and intricacy of certain support systems within these rotary powerplants, setting them apart from their conventional counterparts. While they function seamlessly under optimal conditions, their tolerance for deviation from the ideal state is remarkably low.

Precision is key—air-fuel ratios, ignition sequences, lubrication levels, and operating temperatures must align harmoniously, or the engine’s survival is jeopardized. In its stock and unmodified state, if the car has been driven, or if you intend to drive it, complications tend to arise due to the intricate twin-turbo setup and the intricate network of vacuum lines and solenoids associated with it. Ensuring the fuel pump, regulator, and injectors are in proper working order becomes imperative, as catalytic converters have a tendency to degrade.

Regarding lubrication, frequent servicing with the correct oil is paramount. Unless you’re willing to dabble in mixing oil and fuel, the oil metering pump must function flawlessly to deliver lubrication effectively. The under-bonnet temperatures these cars create are now taking a toll on plastic components in the electrical and cooling systems, making malfunctions in those areas commonplace.

However, unless you’re in a position to invest substantially in a well-maintained, mint condition RX-7 with significant and extremely high quality upgrades, be prepared for the primary source of issues: shoddy modifications and subpar repairs. The likelihood is that if you’re considering one of the more budget-friendly options, it’s been modified—likely in a less-than-optimal manner—and any of the aforementioned factors contributing to engine failure could be imminent.

In essence, in mechanical terms, owning an FD Mazda RX-7 demands not only financial commitment but also an unwavering passion for meticulous care and attention. The allure of these machines appeals to cash-rich collectors and devoted enthusiasts who are willing to navigate the intricate path to maintaining these iconic vehicles.

Should you buy it?

If you’re seriously considering buying an FD Mazda RX-7, your relationship status matters.

If you’re single:

Are you a die-hard RX-7 fan with deep pockets, ready to splash cash on the car itself and its high-maintenance demands? Are you eyeing the FD RX-7 as a potential investment, and you’re only planning to take it out for a spin every now and then? If that sounds like you, then yeah, go ahead and get one. The FD RX7 has etched its mark as an iconic performance car, flaws and all. It’s crucial to keep the remaining ones in top shape so if you take the plunge, please meet the responsibilities.

But—and this is a big but—there’s more to consider.

If you’re in a relationship:

Picture this: you’re madly in love with the RX-7, but your significant other isn’t quite on board with your vehicular passion. Now, unless your partner has the diplomatic prowess of a United Nations envoy and both of you are flush with time and cash, maybe rethink hitting that buy button. It’s likely you’ll have to cut corners on car maintenance and divide your attention between the car and your relationship, and that road usually ends in heartbreak.

Buying an RX-7 is akin to getting your hands on a vintage Porsche. Sure, it’s a thrill to drive, gaze upon, and experience. But let’s be real, it demands an unending, meticulous level of dedication. If you’re up for the challenge and excitement, then great! But if you’d rather opt

If you’re seriously considering buying an FD Mazda RX-7, your relationship status matters.

If you’re single:

Are you a die-hard RX-7 fan with deep pockets, ready to splash cash on the car itself and its high-maintenance demands? Are you eyeing the FD RX-7 as a potential investment, and you’re only planning to take it out for a spin every now and then? If that sounds like you, then yeah, go ahead and get one. The FD RX7 has etched its mark as an iconic performance car, flaws and all. It’s crucial to keep the remaining ones in top shape so if you take the plunge, please meet the responsibilities.

But—and this is a big but—there’s more to consider.

If you’re in a relationship:

Picture this: you’re madly in love with the RX-7, but your significant other isn’t quite on board with your vehicular passion. Now, unless your partner has the diplomatic prowess of a United Nations envoy and both of you are flush with time and cash, maybe rethink hitting that buy button. It’s likely you’ll have to cut corners on car maintenance and divide your attention between the car and your relationship, and that road usually ends in heartbreak.

Buying an RX-7 is akin to getting your hands on a vintage Porsche. Sure, it’s a thrill to drive, gaze upon, and experience. But let’s be real, it demands an unending, meticulous level of dedication. If you’re up for the challenge and excitement, then great! But if you’d rather opt for a smoother ride, there’s a buffet of performance cars out there that could make life simpler and just as enjoyable. It’s all about picking what fits your speed—both on the road and in your life.

Should you buy it?

If you’re seriously considering buying an FD Mazda RX-7, your relationship status matters.

If you’re single:

Are you a die-hard RX-7 fan with deep pockets, ready to splash cash on the car itself and its high-maintenance demands? Are you eyeing the FD RX-7 as a potential investment, and you’re only planning to take it out for a spin every now and then? If that sounds like you, then yeah, go ahead and get one. The FD RX7 has etched its mark as an iconic performance car, flaws and all. It’s crucial to keep the remaining ones in top shape so if you take the plunge, please meet the responsibilities.

But—and this is a big but—there’s more to consider.

If you’re in a relationship:

Picture this: you’re madly in love with the RX-7, but your significant other isn’t quite on board with your vehicular passion. Now, unless your partner has the diplomatic prowess of a United Nations envoy and both of you are flush with time and cash, maybe rethink hitting that buy button. It’s likely you’ll have to cut corners on car maintenance and divide your attention between the car and your relationship, and that road usually ends in heartbreak.

Buying an RX-7 is akin to getting your hands on a vintage Porsche. Sure, it’s a thrill to drive, gaze upon, and experience. But let’s be real, it demands an unending, meticulous level of dedication. If you’re up for the challenge and excitement, then great! But if you’d rather opt for a smoother ride, there’s a buffet of performance cars out there that could make life simpler and just as enjoyable. It’s all about picking what fits your speed—both on the road and in your life.

Need help with finance?

What is the car's build year?

2020

Loan Amount

$5,000

Finance estimate ~

$30

Per week*

8.49%

Comparison rate p.a#

Models, pricing & features

Mazda RX-7-10

RX-7

Price when new: $73,000 - $89,505

Price used: $40,700 - $64,000

Standard features:

16-inch Alloy Wheels
ABS (Antilock Brakes)
Alarm
CD Player
Climate Control
Cruise Control
Driver’s Airbag
Electric Mirrors
Electric Sunroof
Electric Windows – Front & Rear
Leather Trim
Power Steering
Rear Spoiler
Sports Steering Wheel
Torsen Limited Slip Differential

SP

Price when new: Unknown

Price used: $170-000 - $213,000

In addition to RX-7

120-litre Carbon-Fibre Fuel Tank
17-inch BBS Alloy Wheels
4.3:1 Differential
Brembo Brakes and Calipers
Carbon Fibre Nose Cone
Carbon Fibre Rear Spoiler
Larger Exhaust System
Larger Turbo Intercooler
Modified ECU
Recaro Race Seats
Vented Aluminium Bonnet

RS/RZ

Price when new: Unknown

Price used: $69,000 - $146,000

In addition to RX-7

Grey Import
17-inch Alloy Wheels (gun-metal coloured BBS wheels for RZ)
Bilstein suspension
Racing Red Themed Interior (RZ only)

Type R Bathurst

Price when new: Unknown

Price used: $60,000 - $94,000

In addition to RX-7

Grey Import
Adjustable dampers
Carbon fibre shift knob
Carbon fibre interior trim
Unique fog lamps

Tech specs

Body Styles

  • 2 door coupé

Engines

  • 1.3-litre twin-turbo rotary petrol

Power

  • 175kW – 1.3-litre twin-turbo rotary petrol (RX-7)
  • 183kW – 1.3-litre twin-turbo rotary petrol (RX-7 – From 1996)
  • 204kW – 1.3-litre twin-turbo rotary petrol (SP)
  • 206kW – 1.3-litre twin-turbo rotary petrol (RZ, RS, Type R, Type R Bathurst)

Torque

  • 294Nm – 1.3-litre twin-turbo rotary petrol (RX-7)
  • 301Nm – 1.3-litre twin-turbo rotary petrol (RX-7 – From 1996)
  • 357Nm – 1.3-litre twin-turbo rotary petrol (SP)
  • 314Nm – 1.3-litre twin-turbo rotary petrol (RZ, RS, Type R, Type R Bathurst)

Transmissions

  • 5-speed manual

Fuel Consumption

  • 10.2L/100km

Length

  • 4295mm

Width

  • 1750mm

Height

  • 1230mm

Kerb Weight

  • 1310kg

Body Styles

  • 2 door coupé

Engines

  • 1.3-litre twin-turbo rotary petrol

Power

  • 175kW – 1.3-litre twin-turbo rotary petrol (RX-7)
  • 183kW – 1.3-litre twin-turbo rotary petrol (RX-7 – From 1996)
  • 204kW – 1.3-litre twin-turbo rotary petrol (SP)
  • 206kW – 1.3-litre twin-turbo rotary petrol (RZ, RS, Type R, Type R Bathurst)

Torque

  • 294Nm – 1.3-litre twin-turbo rotary petrol (RX-7)
  • 301Nm – 1.3-litre twin-turbo rotary petrol (RX-7 – From 1996)
  • 357Nm – 1.3-litre twin-turbo rotary petrol (SP)
  • 314Nm – 1.3-litre twin-turbo rotary petrol (RZ, RS, Type R, Type R Bathurst)

Transmissions

  • 5-speed manual

Fuel Consumption

  • 10.2L/100km

Length

  • 4295mm

Width

  • 1750mm

Height

  • 1230mm

Kerb Weight

  • 1310kg

Body Styles

  • 2 door coupé

Engines

  • 1.3-litre twin-turbo rotary petrol

Power

  • 175kW – 1.3-litre twin-turbo rotary petrol (RX-7)
  • 183kW – 1.3-litre twin-turbo rotary petrol (RX-7 – From 1996)
  • 204kW – 1.3-litre twin-turbo rotary petrol (SP)
  • 206kW – 1.3-litre twin-turbo rotary petrol (RZ, RS, Type R, Type R Bathurst)

Torque

  • 294Nm – 1.3-litre twin-turbo rotary petrol (RX-7)
  • 301Nm – 1.3-litre twin-turbo rotary petrol (RX-7 – From 1996)
  • 357Nm – 1.3-litre twin-turbo rotary petrol (SP)
  • 314Nm – 1.3-litre twin-turbo rotary petrol (RZ, RS, Type R, Type R Bathurst)

Transmissions

  • 5-speed manual

Fuel Consumption

  • 10.2L/100km

Length

  • 4295mm

Width

  • 1750mm

Height

  • 1230mm

Kerb Weight

  • 1310kg

Warranty & servicing

Warranty

3 years / unlimited kms

Service Intervals

15,000 km / 6 months

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Disclaimer

Please note that pricing information is subject to fluctuations in the automotive market.

Information correct as of September 1, 2023.

The advice provided on this website is general advice only. It has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on this advice, you should consider the appropriateness of the advice, having regard to your own objectives, financial situation and needs.

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