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Driven: CX-8 to give Mazda 3000 first-year sales

Octo-push: Mazda’s CX-8 will be the brand’s fourth crossover offering in Australia, slotting below the flagship CX-9, but above the small CX-3 and mid-size CX-5.

Diesel-only CX-8 seven-seater to lift Mazda’s large SUV share to around 10 per cent


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29 Jun 2018

MAZDA Australia’s fourth SUV offering, the diesel-only CX-8 seven seater, has landed in local showrooms and is expected to contribute about 3000 sales in the first 12 months to the car-maker’s year-end tally.
During the local launch of the new model in Hervey Bay, Queensland, Mazda Australia managing director Vinesh Bhindi predicted that the CX-8, which is positioned – both pricing and dimensionally – between the medium and large SUVs, would steal sales from its rivals.
“Where the CX-9 maybe too big and the CX-5 too small, the CX-8 answers the call as the perfect inbetweener,” he said.
“We know that a lot of buyers are intimidated by the size of large SUVs, so there is hesitation to stepping up to a seven-seater, which is where we see great opportunity for the CX-8 in swaying or reintroducing buyers to the large SUV segment.
“There is strong potential for CX-8 to carve out a share in the top 10 (diesel-powered large SUVs).”
Although based on the CX-9’s platform and sharing its 2930mm wheelbase, the CX-8 is 175mm shorter overall at 4900mm and sports the same 1840mm width as the CX-5.
While large SUV buyers are now favouring diesel power over petrol, Mr Bhindi said CX-8 sales are not expected to overtake CX-9, which totalled just over 9000 registrations last year.
“We’re not projecting that (CX-8 sales out-pacing CX-9),” he said. “I mean CX-9 is still the bigger SUV that consumers enjoy and want, I think CX-8 is complementing that segment rather than overtaking – that’s not what we see at this stage.
“But we have both available, so consumers are going to decide what is more attractive.”
Mazda Australia marketing director Alastair Doak said cannibalisation of sales between CX-8 and CX-9 are inevitable, but the new crossover model will add to the Japanese car-maker’s bottom line.
“We hope it will be minimal (cannibalisation), obviously there will be a little bit, but the good news is that they are going to walk out the door with a Mazda,” he said.
“This was our choice to take the car, and that means we will be growing our sales, growing our appeal to a broader customer base, so ultimately, more people, more growth.
“We’re very much private buyer focussed, and to us, that means you have to give choice and we’re adding more choices to the range.”
As previously reported, Mazda’s CX-8 kicks off at $42,490 before on-roads for the entry-level front-drive Sport grade, while stepping up to the all-wheel-drive Sport moves pricing $4000 up to $46,490, and the top-spec AWD Asaki is another $15,000 at $61,490.
All versions are powered by a 140kW/450Nm 2.2-litre SkyActiv-D turbo-diesel four-cylinder engine that is paired to a six-speed torque-converter automatic transmission, returning fuel economy figures of 5.7 and 6.0 litres per 100km in FWD and AWD forms respectively.
Front-drive 1840kg CX-8s can accelerate from zero to 100km/h in 9.2 seconds, while the heavier 1957kg all-paw versions will need 9.6s to hit the landmark triple digits.
Braked towing capacity in all grades is rated at 2000kg.
By comparison, the petrol-powered CX-9 uses a 170kW/420Nm turbocharged 2.5-litre engine, which open at $43,890 in Sport trim and tops out at $64,790 in AWD Azami form, and averages between 8.4-8.8L/100km.
The CX-8 will be pitched directly against other monocoque diesel seven seaters in the large SUV segment, including the Kia Sorento, Peugeot 5008 and new-generation Hyundai Santa Fe.
Kia’s Sorento diesel starts at $45,490 and tops out at $58,990 and uses a 147kW/441Nm 2.2-litre turbo-diesel engine, while the Peugeot 5008 uses a 133kW/400Nm 2.0-litre turbo-diesel engine and retails for $54,490. Hyundai is yet to announce pricing for the new Santa Fe.
Standard equipment in Mazda’s new diesel seven-seater extends to automatic headlights and wipers, roof rails, power-folding side mirrors, tri-zone climate control, head-up display, G-Vectoring control and 7.0-inch MZD infotainment system with satellite navigation, digital radio and Bluetooth connectivity.
Sport variants feature 17-inch alloy wheels, a six-speaker sound system and cloth upholstery, while the flagship Asaki gains 19-inch wheels, Nappa leather interior in brown or white, LED daytime running lights, 10-speaker Bose sound system, rear door sunshades, adaptive headlights, powered tailgate, heated steering wheel, power-adjustable front pews, first and second row heated seats, keyless entry, front parking sensors and a surround-view monitor.
Safety systems include forward collision warning, autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning, blind-spot monitoring, speed sign recognition, rear parking sensors, reversing camera and Intelligent Speed Assistance that is unique to Australian-spec vehicles.
With all seats in place, the CX-8 can swallow 209 litres of storage that extends to 242L when including underfloor storage, while folding the third row flat increases boot volume to 742/775L.

2018 Mazda CX-8 pricing*

Sport FWD (a) $42,490
Sport AWD (a) $46,490
Asaki AWD (a) $61,490

*Excludes on-road costs

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