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Mazda CX-8 confirmed for Oz

Seven-seat diesel SUV to join Mazda Australia range this year

Mazda Australia has announced it will release the all-new CX-8, a large seven-seat diesel SUV that went on sale in Japan last year.

Confirmed for local release in the second half of this year, Mazda’s fourth SUV model will slot between the CX-5, on which it’s based, and the CX-9 flagship – at least in terms of size.

As Mazda Australia execs revealed to us at the Tokyo motor show in October, when the CX-8 will still under consideration for our market, it is likely to top Mazda’s SUV line-up in terms of price.

At the time, marketing director Alastair Doak said the CX-8’s 2.2-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel would be a unique proposition alongside the larger CX-9 seven-seater, which is available exclusively with a 170kW/420Nm 2.5-litre turbo-petrol four-cylinder.

“CX-8 is slightly smaller than CX-9, but the interesting thing about CX-8 is that it’s diesel-only, so it has a very clear point of difference,” he explained.

Doak would not say where the CX-8 would be positioned in relation to the CX-9, which is priced between $43,890 and $64,790, but confirmed it wouldn’t come cheap.

“Because CX-8 is designed and developed for Japan, it means it’s limited in terms of grade line-up and so forth, so if we took it, it would mean we’d be locked in to their kind of model range, so it would be a pretty high specification sort of vehicle and that has implications on price point. They’re the things we’re working through at the moment,” he said.

However, Doak indicated that the opportunity to finally offer a large seven-seat diesel SUV to rival models like the Hyundai Santa Fe, Kia Sorento, Skoda Kodiaq and Volkswagen’s upcoming Tiguan Allspace could be irresistible for Mazda Australia.

“Diesel by itself makes it more expensive, so it certainly wouldn’t be a cheap seven-seat SUV – it wouldn’t play that role for us – but at the same time it will be a full seven-seat SUV and not a 5+2 like some of the new players in the segment, so that gives it an advantage.”

Riding on an identical 2930mm wheelbase as the CX-9, the CX-8 is 175mm shorter at 4900mm, as well as 17mm lower (1730mm) and 129mm narrower at 1840mm – the same width as the CX-5 – making it more of a long-wheelbase, seven-seat CX-5 than a shrunken CX-9.

The CX-8 comes with 239 litres of boot space with the rear seats in place, or 572L when stowed – 238L less than the larger CX-9.

Mazda Australia is yet to confirm any local specifications, but the CX-8 is powered exclusively by a 140kW/450Nm version of the company’s 2.2-litre twin-turbo diesel engine (which produces 129kW/420Nm in the CX-5 and Mazda6), matched as standard with a six-speed automatic transmission.

It has, however, confirmed there will be multiple variant grades of the three-row CX-8, all of them equipped with Mazda’s latest i-ACTIVSENSE safety technologies – including autonomous emergency braking (AEB) — “as standard from entry grade, right through to top grade”.

Mazda Australia managing director Vinesh Bhindi said the company’s ninth model line, which will be marketed under the tagline ‘Brand-New Mazda CX-8 Diesel’, will meet Australians’ demand for seven-seat diesel SUVs.

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

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