As first revealed in Wheels magazine in July 2017, Mazda Australia has been keen for the fastback-styled seven-seater to join its popular SUV range, wedged between the CX-5 and COTY-winning CX-9. It will join Mazda’s SUV line-up, which also includes the Mazda CX-5 – Australia’s most popular SUV last year – and the smaller CX-3.
Built on the CX-5’s platform, the three-row CX-8 is powered by an updated version of that car’s 2.2-litre four-cylinder diesel engine, and includes the same G Vectoring Control – the engine can momentarily reduce performance to help weigh up a tyre to improve cornering grip – as rolled out to other Mazda models.
The CX-8 was meant to be unique to the Japanese market – the CX-9 is not sold there – and represents what Mazda says is “a new people-moving option for customers who want to enjoy outings with family and friends but don't want to sacrifice design or driving performance”.
Mazda Australia managing director Vinesh Bhindi said it would also meet growing demand for seven-seat diesel-engined SUVs, something the 2.5-litre turbo petrol-only CX-9 can’t offer.
“More and more, Australians are opting for larger SUVs to suit the demands of their busy lives; the brand-new Mazda CX-8 diesel is the perfect fit for those who need the versatility of seven seats and the economy that diesel affords,” Bhindi said.
The 2.2-litre engine ups performance to 140kW and 450Nm, compared with 129kW and 420Nm for the four-pot diesel’s tune in the smaller Mazda CX-5. In Australia, the Mazda CX-9 sells with a 170kW, 420Nm turbocharged 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine.
The CX-8 features a more sporty suspension tune, with retuning and a rebound spring on the front dampers helping to enhance cornering ability. It also gains beefier brakes, with 432mm ventilated discs up front and a larger master cylinder helping to improve stopping performance.
Local specs and pricing will be revealed closer to launch, though has already revealed that all variants will feature the latest i-ACTIVSENSE driver assistance technologies as standard.