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Mazda CX-8 prepped for Australia

Eyes on eight: The Mazda CX-8 will finally be revealed at this year’s Tokyo motor show, and could eventually make it Down Under.

Seven-seat, diesel Mazda CX-8 crossover a chance for an Aussie launch

Mazda logo1 Sep 2017

By BYRON MATHIOUDAKIS in Frankfurt

MAZDA has confirmed that the seven-seat CX-8 crossover has been made available for the Australian market, although there has been no official decision as to whether it will be added to the local line-up.

Speaking to GoAuto at a Mazda future technology forum in Germany this week, Mazda Motor Corporation (MMC) executive officer in charge of research and development and product strategy, Hidetoshi Kudo, said that the seven-seat crossover has been engineered to meet Australian certification, if required by the local distributor.

“The CX-8 can come to Australia,” he said. “It will be able to be sold in Australia once it is launched in Japanese domestic market late this year.”

While MMC’s approval might seem an inevitability given Mazda Australia’s ongoing success with the segment-leading CX-3 and CX-5, as well as the popular CX-9, this has not always been the case.

The CX-4 crossover announced globally last year may have also been a strong contender for Australia, but it remains a Chinese market only, left-hand drive proposition, and it is likely to stay that way for the current generation’s lifespan.

Mazda Australia marketing director, Alastair Doak, said the CX-8 was currently under discussion for Australia, but there were still significant hurdles to overcome before it can be given the green light.

“While it’s true the CX-8 is now available to us, it does not automatically mean that we will take it,” he said. “There are all sorts of things that need to be worked out, including how it would fit within our current SUV line-up.

“And if we do decide to go ahead with it, it is unlikely to be available inside the next 12 months.”

Mr Doak conceded that besides its swoopier and more compact design, the CX-8’s biggest advantage over the CX-9 is that it would introduce a diesel-powered seven-seater to the Mazda range – a first in the firm’s 57-year history in Australia.

The CX-7 Series 2 diesel from 2009 only had five seats and the CX-9 in previous- and current-generation guise has only ever been available with a petrol engine.

“The attraction for us is that it would be a diesel and that is something that the CX-9 does not offer,” he admitted. “And nor do key competitors such as the Toyota Kluger.”

Among the only other monocoque-bodied large SUVs in the sub-$70,000 class to have a diesel option are the Kia Sorento, Hyundai Santa Fe and Mitsubishi Pajero. The imminent depletion of Ford Territory TDCi stock after production ceased more than a year ago should also present further volume opportunities for Mazda.

Teased earlier this year and set to be unveiled at the Tokyo motor show in November, the CX-8 is the SUV replacement for the third-generation MPV/Mazda8 people-mover sold in Japan and other Asian markets from 2006.

In some regions it will also serve as the successor to the smaller Mazda5/Mk3 Premacy series, as that is not mooted for replacement.

As previously reported, the CX-8 is a lower and more wagon-like seven-seater built on the CX-9 platform but with shorter overhangs.

Key stats are 4900mm long, 1840mm wide and 1730mm high, compared to the 5075mm/1969mm/1747mm dimensions of the CX-9. Both ride on a 2930mm wheelbase.

The only engine on offer for now will be the 129kW/420Nm 2.2-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel SkyActiv-D powertrain as found in the closely related CX-5 as well as the Mazda3 and Mazda6 passenger cars, with a six-speed torque-converter automatic driving either the front or all four wheels depending on specification.

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