Interesting vehicle this new Mazda CX-8 because it’s a “bitsa” comprising elements from both the larger CX-9 and the smaller CX-5 to arrive at a car that is arguably the “right size” family 7-seater.
Sharing the same wheelbase as CX-9 with a shorter body and the same width as a CX-5, CX-8 also shares its twin turbo diesel with the recently uprated CX-5 and Mazda6.
To look at, the CX-8 is at least the equal of the CX-5 and the CX9 with a handsome face and sleek proportions. It’s only available with a diesel and comes equipped with an extensive arsenal of safety equipment across a three model range, Sport FWD and AWD and Asaki AWD.
This review is of the Asaki top of the range model.
It’s a handsome beast in Mazda’s signature Kodo styling. That means a predatory bird-like face, sleek lines down the side and a rounded rear end with high mounted tail lights shaped to match the headlights.
If other manufacturers need a lesson in how to make a medium large SUV look good, they should check out the CX8
It offers large doors for easy access and the proportions allow the vehicle to fit in most parking spaces easily.
The Asaki is set off by a set of 19-inch shiny alloy wheels and sundry bright body hardware.
You certainly won’t miss it on the street.
Inside is a step up on what you would expect in a mid-size, mid-priced SUV offering Nappa leather (available in white) and real wood inlays to the instrument console and door cards.
Bose 275watt audio too along with a heated wheel and heated front and second row seats.
The dash looks posh, well above what is offered by some other manufacturers. There’s an enveloping driver’s space surrounded by the necessary controls and a striking steering wheel with multiple functions.
Full connectivity is provided by the MZD Connect infotainment system that’s simple to use with a rotating display of apps and a large selector dial in the centre console.
Inside the CX-8 Asaki is a good place to be.
Drive and Engine
Power comes from a 2.2-litre, four pot, turbo diesel with an unusual twin compressor setup featuring a small and large unit, the latter with variable geometry (VGT) technology for improved efficiency.
It’s a SkyActiv diesel meaning relatively low compression and a high level of engineering technology to achieve the necessary result which is a vehicle offering strong, smooth and quiet performance along with low fuel consumption and emissions.
In Asaki it drives all four wheels on demand with the front axle being the dominant driver.
A conventional six speed auto feeds up to 147kW and 450Nm to the drivetrain.
On test we chalked up a best fuel economy figure of 6.9-litres/100km… not bad in a near 2.0 tonne largish SUV.
Suspension is by strut front and multi-link rear systems that give a comfort orientated dynamic feel.
It’s a pleasant vehicle to drive offering a high degree of luxury and poise on the road.
The brakes are strong and the steering is crisp thanks in part to the low profile 19-inch tyres.
The Mazda CX-8 scores a five star ANCAP rating but goes the whole hog with advanced driver assist technology that includes autonomous emergency braking, lane keep assist, blind spot warning auto high beam, radar cruise with stop and go traffic function, smart city braking, 360 degree surround view camera and more.
The traffic sign recognition is handy as are the rear park sensors and adaptive LED headlights.
- Impressive engine
- Plush ride
- Gorgeous interior and exterior
- Powerful Bose audio
- Extensive advanced safety features
- Heated wheel
- Easy to use connectivity
- Low fuel consumption
- Tows up to 2.0 tonnes
Not So Good Bits
- Getting a touch exey in Asaki grade
- More than one drive mode would be handy
- Pessimistic AEB/collision warning
- Smaller rear seats
- Space saver spare
Yep, the Mazda CX-8 is what I expected from Mazda and underlines their strong number 2 sales position in this country.
Who wouldn’t want to own one?
The CX-8 looks great, is safe, luxurious and relatively affordable. Shop it against the Euros every day, you will be surprised.
Facts and Figures: 2018 Mazda CX-8 Asaki
- Engine: 2.2L, 4cyl, twin-turbo diesel producing 147kW/450Nm
- Transmission: Six-speed automatic
- Warranty: 5 years/ unlimited km
- Safety: Five stars
- Origin: Japan
- Price: from $61,490