The new addition to Mazda’s growing SUV range, the CX-8, has arrived, with the diesel-only mid-size SUV officially in dealerships from 1 July.
Sport and Asaki model grades are offered, the former in 2WD and AWD, the latter in AWD only and featuring more premium trim materials, additional driver-assistance and safety tech, as well as a higher level of in-cabin comfort compared to the Sport.
Modern All-wheel Drive. AWD-equipped models use the latest version of Mazda’s i-ACTIV on-demand all-wheel drive system. Described by Mazda as a predictive system, i-ACTIV AWD uses 27 separate sensors monitoring both driver action and driving conditions to adjust drive between the axles and prevent slip on the driven front wheels.
The CX-8 also features ‘G-Vectoring Control’ which uses torque vectoring to apply more or less traction to individual axles as required when cornering. This has more specific benefits on smooth surfaces, but can assist off-road, as well. It also has benefits for SUVs generally, reducing the lateral movement caused by their higher centre of gravity.
Big on the Inside, Powerful under the Bonnet. In terms of size, the CX-8 rolls on the same 2930mm wheelbase as the CX-9, and while it’s the same width as the CX-5 at 1840mm, overall length sits between the two stablemates at 4900mm; 175mm shorter than the CX-9, but 350mm longer than the CX-5. Height is 1720mm (1725mm in the Asaki grade).
Towing capacity of 2,000kg (braked) is the same as the CX-9 and a 200kg improvement on the CX-5. Taking the same 140kW/450Nm 2.2-litre SKYACTIV-D twin-turbo diesel four-cylinder engine added to the CX-5 earlier this year, the CX-8 drops that into a larger body with seven-seat capacity.
When paired with the six-speed automatic transmission (also from the CX-5 and the only transmission available), the CX-8’s listed fuel economy is 6.0lt/100km for the AWD version and 5.7lt/100k for the 2WD version; described by Mazda as the best in its class.
Familiar Style. CX-8 styling is identifiably Mazda, with what the carmaker says is the latest evolution of their ‘KODO – Soul of Motion’ design language first seen in 2012.
Thick horizontal grille bars, combined with narrow headlights and equally slim vents in the lower front fascia, make the front end seem wider than it actually is. At the rear narrow tail lights are connected by a chrome strip, while the bulk is broken up by a convex crease through the tailgate and lower portion of the back end. In profile, the horizontal theme is more subtle, with the most notable feature arguably being the artificially-tapered side window aft of the C-pillar to give more of a fastback-style look.
On the CX-8 Sport, 17-inch wheels are standard, while 19-inch alloys feature on the Asaki. The upper-level grade also gets LED DRLs and a remote powered tailgate and advanced keyless entry. Inside, the CX-8 brings a premium look and feel, with detailing on both grades picked out with a mix of satin and bright chrome, providing what Mazda says is an overall air of elegance. Nappa leather seats and real timber trim for the dash and door cards feature on the Asaki, while the Sport features plastic trim and cloth seats.
As the higher grade, the Asaki also gets a 10-way power adjustable driver’s seat with adjustable lumbar support, heating and 2-position memory function, with 6-way power adjustment on the front passenger seat. A heated steering wheel, heated second-row seats, premium 10-speaker Bose sound system, LED map lights and a rear window sunshade also feature on the Asaki.
Space for Seven. The CX-8’s 2-3-2 seating layout is said to benefit from Mazda’s “human centred design approach”, with claims that drivers of any size can find a suitable driving position, while passengers up to 170cm can comfortably sit in the third-row seats. Access is improved by rear doors that open out to 80 degrees and a manual tilt/fold second row seat that’s said to be easy to operate.
Cargo space is listed at 209 litres with all seats occupied, improving to 742 litres with the third row folded and 1,727 litres with second- and third-row seats folded. Under the floor in the rear cargo area is an additional 33-litre storage pace, achieved in part by the use of a space-saver spare wheel instead of a full-sized version.
Strong Safety Spec. Under the banner of i-ACTIVESENSE, standard safety features across both CX-8 grades include Intelligent Speed Assistance, Lane-keep Assist System, Lane Departure Warning and Mazda’s Radar Cruise Control with Stop & Go function. Also on the list is Blind Spot Monitoring, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Smart City Brake Support [Forward/Reverse], Traffic Sign Recognition, High Beam Control, a reversing camera and rear parking sensors.
To this, the Asaki adds a 360-degree monitor, front parking sensors and Adaptive LED Headlamps. Passive safety have been built into the high-strength SKYACTIV-body, as has special chassis damping to improve handling and improve NVH levels.
Pricing for the new Mazda CX-8 diesel starts at $42,490 for the Sport FWD, with the Sport AWD listing for $46,490. The premium Asaki AWD is $61,490 (all prices exclude ORCs). See you Mazda dealer for more details.