People can’t get enough of SUV’s. In Australia, SUV sales overtook those of passenger cars a couple of years ago and haven’t looked back.
As a result, manufacturers are providing more and more variants, and Mazda are the latest to introduce another high riding wagon to their arsenal.
Why it’s called the CX-8 is about the only that doesn’t quite add up.
The CX-8 is a genuine 7-seater, although it’s nowhere near as big as the CX-9 (also a 7-seater), and parked next to the current generation CX-5, it’s slightly longer and wider.
So perhaps it should have been called a CX-6, or even a CX-7.
Regardless of the name, the new CX-8 is a handsome machine. Like the other Mazda SUV’s, it’s a well-executed design that while conservative, is thoroughly modern and good looking from all angles.
Mazda are excellent at producing quality interiors and the CX-8 is a great example.
Even in base model “Sport” trim, it’s an indulgent cabin that feels as if it should cost a lot more than it does.
The material seats are attractive and comfortable, and the cabin layout is intelligent and logical. The finishes are first class, as is the build quality. It’s roomy too.
Up front it’s light and airy, the middle row of seats offer brilliant legroom, while the rear row is best left reserved for those under 12.
While the back seats can easily accommodate full-sized humans, but I wouldn’t want to be going on an interstate trip in the back row.
Mazda have been generous with their standard inclusions in the base model CX-8.
An active driving display and 7 inch colour touchscreen feature prominently, and act as a brilliant interface for the MZD Connect infotainment system, which itself is simple, logical and one of the best in the market.
You also get digital radio, auto lights and high beam, auto wipers, three zone air conditioning, 17 inch alloys, satellite navigation and Bluetooth hands free.
There’s only one engine and gearbox available in the CX-8 range.
It’s a smooth, almost creamy 2.2 litre in-line 4 cylinder 16 valve DOHC intercooled twin turbo diesel linked to a 6-Speed automatic.
It’s a great combo that provides plenty of power: 140 kw and 450 Nm. It makes for an easy cruiser, with effortless highway overtaking.
In town it’s a perky, enjoyable drive with a miserly thirst. Official figures suggest 5.7 litres per 100km, in the real world, over a week of mainly city driving, the digital dash said 7.5 litres per 100km.
The CX-8 is sprung for comfort. It absorbs bumps with minimal cabin interference and provides a gentle, cosseted ride.
You can throw the 7-seater into a corner with predictable outcomes: body roll and a bit of understeer, but it does hang on.
It is exactly as you’d expect and designed first and foremost for comfort. If you are after a performance SUV with brilliant handling, the CX-8 isn’t for you.
ANCAP have awarded the new Mazda CX-8 with a 5 Star Rating. Scoring an impressive 36.8 out of 38, the CX-8 scored a perfect 8 out of 8 for the side impact test and oblique pole test.
Mazda was the first manufacturer to include the full suite of active systems across all of its models.
That means it costs no extra for the really important stuff like automatic emergency braking, blind spot monitoring, lane keep assist, reverse camera, parking sensors and rear cross traffic alert.
There’s even traffic sign recognition which displays the current speed limit beside the digital speedo. It’s a license saving piece of technology that should be standard on every car.
- Great looks
- Roomy interior
- Brilliant drive train
- Great standard safety
- Excellent value for money
Not So Good Bits
- No petrol option
- Tight rear seats
The Mazda CX-8 stands out as excellent value for money in a crowded market segment. It’s roomy, attractive and a great drive.
Like most Mazda’s its strong point is refinement. It feels like it should be a lot more expensive than its $42,755 price tag.
Throw in the now standard 5-year unlimited kilometre warranty and it’s hard to go past the CX-8 if you need a strong, classy 7-seat family hauler.
The CX-8 is a good thing, and you can be confident that when it comes trade in time in a few years, the CX-8 will hold up well in the resale stakes.
Facts and Figures: 2018 Mazda CX-8 Sport FWD
- Engine: 2.2L four-cylinder turbo diesel producing 140kW/450Nm
- Transmission: Six-speed automatic
- Warranty: 5 years/ unlimited km
- Safety: Five stars
- Origin: Japan
- Price: from $42,755