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Mazda confirms CX-8 for 2018 launch

Akini-terest: New-vehicle buyers in the market for a diesel-powered seven-seat large SUV may be swayed by the incoming CX-8, which will be topped by the Akini grade.

Seven-seat Mazda CX-8 to arrive in diesel form, but petrol not ruled out

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Mazda logo10 Jan 2018

By RON HAMMERTON

MAZDA Australia has not ruled out a broader range of powertrains for its upcoming new CX-8 seven-seat crossover that it has confirmed will arrive in diesel form in local showrooms in the second half of 2018.

Launched in Japan last month, the CX-8 sits between the mid-sized CX-5 – Australia’s best-selling SUV – and large petrol-only CX-9, giving families a three-row-seat alternative with diesel efficiency.

Prices and full specifications have been withheld until closer to launch, but we would expect pricing in the $40,000 range, with multiple grades.

Announcing the decision to take the CX-8, Mazda Australia managing director Vinesh Bhindi said the Mazda CX-8 would meet Australia’s demand for seven-seat diesel SUVs.

“More and more, Australians are opting for larger SUVs to suit the demands of their busy lives,” he said. “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.”

The vehicle has been launched in Japan with a single powertrain – a 140kW/450Nm version of Mazda’s tried and true four-cylinder 2.2-litre turbo-diesel engine from the Mazda6, hooked up to a six-speed automatic transmission and either front-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive.

That diesel engine has been confirmed for the CX-8 in Australia. Asked if there was a chance of other powertrains, including petrol or hybrid, could be added to the line-up, Mazda Australia public relations senior manager Sonia Singh said it was too early to say.

She said the company was still deciding the final specifications and line-up for the CX-8, and so far, only the diesel had been confirmed.

In Japan where the CX-8 is built, Mazda is offering six- and seven-seat variants, but Mazda Australia so far has only confirmed the seven-seater.

Smaller than the American-built CX-9 in most critical dimensions, Mazda is billing the compact size of the CX-8 as a positive, saying the vehicle is more manoeuvrable than its larger sibling but still offers seven-seat flexibility.

The CX-8 is 4900mm long, 1840mm wide and 1730mm tall, compared with the CX-9 at 5075mm, 1969mm and 1747mm.

The rear-most seat row is said to accommodate people up to 170cm tall, meaning it will mainly suit kids in Australia. With that seat up, boot space is 239 litres, but with it stowed, the capacity grows to 572L.

The top-selling CX-5 is sold only in five-seat form, and the lack of a seven-seat alternative potentially has ruled out even greater sales to families with more than three children.

The CX-8 will give Mazda a direct rival to the seven-seat variants of the Mitsubishi Outlander, Honda CR-V, Nissan X-Trail, Hyundai Santa Fe and Kia Sorento, among others.

Mazda says the CX-8 will feature the latest safety equipment across the range “from entry grade right through to the top grade”.

This comment appears to indicate that the company is planning multiple specifications. In Japan, the vehicle comes in three levels – XD, XD Proactive and XD L Package – but you can expect Mazda Australia to stick with its own nomenclature such as Sport, Touring, GT and Azami.

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