Mazda has dropped the first official information of its CX-8 large SUV today, with news of the three-row high-riding wagon arriving as something of a surprise.
Mazda has made little mention of a ‘tweener model to straddle the gap between the CX-5 and the CX-9, but that’s precisely what the CX-8 is pitched as.
With overall dimensions slightly smaller than the CX-9 (the CX-8 is 115mm shorter in length and 129mm narrower, while the CX-9 is 17mm taller) but a three-row seating config that can accommodate six or seven passengers, the CX-8 is intended to be the company’s flagship in its home market of Japan, where the CX-9 is deemed too massive for local tastes.
Its wheelbase of 2930mm is identical to the CX-9’s, however, which hints that the platform underneath will be heavily based on that of its bigger brother. The mechanical package will differ, though, with Mazda Japan opting for a 2.2-litre turbo diesel rather than the CX-9’s 2.5-litre turbo petrol.
Specific power outputs aren’t mentioned by Mazda, but with the same engine already offered in the Mazda 6 with 129kW and 420Nm, bank on similar figures for the CX-8.
Curiously, the CX-8 will be offered in Japan with two interior configurations. A conventional three-row seven seater will offer maximum passenger-carrying capability, but a six-seat variant with a high centre console bisecting the second row will offer a posher alternative to buyers who have fewer people to transport.
Like the CX-9, Mazda claims even adults will be comfortable in the CX-8’s third row. With the same wheelbase as the ‘9, it’s a believable claim.
Exterior styling has yet to be revealed, but the single interior image that’s been revealed thus far indicates its glasshouse will be narrower and sportier than the CX-9’s. We should see more in coming weeks.
But for now, it appears the CX-8 will be restricted to the Japanese market. Mazda Australia indicated to Wheels that it will closely examine the business case for the CX-8 locally should it become available, but with the CX-9 already sitting in showrooms in the USA and Australia – two principal markets for the Japanese brand – that day may take a while to arrive.