The Australian SUV market has been steadily growing since about 2011. The segment now represents about 45-50% of the passenger and LCV market.
The CX-8 range includes one diesel engine, one transmission and three model grades; Sport FWD, Sport AWD and Asaki AWD
There isn’t a lot to say about the CX-8. It carries the same design and look of both the CX-5 and CX-9. The familial resemblance is obvious.
This means that it looks sleek, smart and stylish. It sits lower than other SUV style vehicles, more wagon like. The roof rails accentuate the sleek design
While it shares the same platform and wheelbase of the CX-9 it is slightly shorter overall and much narrower, more towards the CX-5 in width and height.
The Mazda CX-8 has clean crisp interior that is designed for a family of five or six in comfort.
Front occupants are well catered for, with the Sport fabric seats very comfortable and supportive, especially in the lumbar region.
The Asaki seats are obviously leather appointed and with electric adjustment, able to be positioned for superior comfort.
The steering wheel (heated in the Asaki) is small framed and the stalks for the lights and wipers sit above the spokes of the steering wheel for better visibility.
The dash layout is a familiar three ring style, excellent clarity. The heads up display is amongst the best in terms of visibility and brightness and doesn’t polarise out like many.
The centre console and stack layout, again, is typically Mazda and functions without fuss. I do like the ease of use for the dial controls for the 7 inch touch screen display unit.
So the front occupants, with plenty of head and shoulder room are well catered for.
The second row occupants have relatively easy access and the outer two seats are suitable for adult passengers. On the Asaki the two outer seats are heated.
The third row seats are suited to occupants less than 170cm tall. The rear seats provide flexibility though, folding flat to provide a long load area.
Access to the third row seats is facilitated by wide rear doors that open out to 80 degrees from the body, and with a simple pull of a high-mounted lever on the second row, the back rest folds and the seat slides forward to allow extra space for easy access in and out of the third row.
The Mazda CX-8 comes in two grades.
The Sport features include:
- 17-inch alloy wheels in Gun Metallic finish with 225/65 tyres
- Headlamps (LED) with auto on/off function
- Power mirrors (body coloured with heating and auto-folding function)
- Wipers front 2-speed with rain-sensing function
- Active Driving Display
- Air-conditioning (three-zone climate control) with independent rear control
- Rear-view mirror with auto dimming function
- Rear seats with: Centre armrest storage and USB charging ports (2nd row)
- Seat trim: black cloth 7-inch touchscreen display (MZD Connect)
- Audio system with AM/FM tuner, Bluetooth® capability, Digital radio (DAB+) and 6 speakers
- Satellite navigation
Features of the Asaki over the Sport include:
- 19-inch alloy wheels in Bright Silver finish with 225/55 tyres
- Daytime running lamps (LED)
- Front fog-lamps (LED)
- Remote-operated power tailgate (open/close)
- Heated steering wheel function
- Front seats with: 2-position memory function (driver), 6-way power adjustment (passenger) 10-way adjustment (driver) and heating function
- Rear seats with: Heating function (2nd row outer)
- Rear door window sunshade
- Seat trim: Dark Russet or Pure White nappa leather
- Premium Bose 273 watt amplifier and 10 speakers (including subwoofer)
- Real wood door and dashboard trim inserts
- 360° View Monitor
- Parking sensors (front)
- Adaptive LED Headlamps (ALH)
- Advanced keyless entry
There is no Apple CarPlay/Android Auto (but coming soon).
Drive and Engine
Mazda has decided to fit the same diesel engine that sits in the CX-5 into the CX-8. This is an advanced 2.2L SKYACTIV-D twin-turbo diesel engine, producing 140kW/450Nm.
This power and torque is delivered either to the front wheels or all wheels through a SKYACTIV Drive six-speed automatic transmission. Mazda uses the i-ACTIV AWD predictive all-wheel-drive system.
The many SKYACTIV technologies at play help to achieve combined fuel consumption of 5.7L/100km for the Sport FWD variant, and 6.0L/100km for the Sport and Asaki AWD variants.
The CX-8 was found lacking some dynamism on the back roads where the combination of soft suspension and a hefty 200kg weight penalty over the CX-5 meant that it felt at times sluggish and wallowed on some corners etc.
While the ANCAP rating it yet to be determined, Mazda has applied a comprehensive list of i-ACTIVESENSE safety features as standard to the Brand-New Mazda CX-8 Diesel.
Standard features include:
- Blind Spot Monitoring (BSM),
- High Beam Control (HBC),
- Intelligent Speed Assistance (ISA),
- Lane-keep Assist System (LAS),
- Lane Departure Warning (LDW),
- Mazda Radar Cruise Control (MRCC) with Stop & Go function,
- Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA),
- Smart City Brake Support [Forward/Reverse] (SCBS F/R),
- Traffic Sign Recognition (TSR),
- Reverse camera and rear parking sensors.
Asaki adds even more safety equipment, including:
- Mazda’s new 360° View Monitor,
- front parking sensors,
- Adaptive LED Headlamps (ALH) and
- Advanced keyless entry.
- Internal space and practicality
- Style, comfort and features
- Value for money (Sport AWD)
Not So Good Bits
- Open road ride and handling
- More weight means less performance
- Tiptronic counter intuitive
The CX-8 is designed for the family, obviously. For drivers than need 7 seats, but find he CX-9 just a little too big for their liking.
Mazda has built a sterling reputation with quality built vehicles. The CX-8 continues that tradition.
There is a large gap between the Sport and Asaki in pricing, more than the value of what is offered, I believe. The Sport is impressively stocked with standard features.
If you are buying the CX-8 for a city run-around then it will deliver in spades. The pick for me is the CX-8 Sport AWD.
Facts and Figures: 2018 Mazda CX-8 Diesel
- Engine: 2.2L turbo diesel producing 140kW/450Nm
- Transmission: Six-speed automatic
- Safety: Not tested
- Warranty: 3 Yrs
- Origin: Japan
- Price: from $42,490