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Mazda's CX-8 is an SUV that can seat more than five, is well-equipped, and offers a comfortable and refined drive.

22 Oct 2020

Getting an MPV is possibly the wisest choice when it comes to ferrying six or seven people around. However, its squared off boxy looks might not be appealing to some car buyers.

Hence, these said car buyers turn to the next best thing -  an SUV. And manufacturers have answered this call with this genre of car in all shapes and sizes. But an SUV that can fit more than five? Not many.

Thankfully, the new Mazda CX-8 SUV is finally here and it not only gives car buyers a six or seven-seater option, it's one that's of quality and substance.

Looks familiar

We love how the CX-8 looks, offering an aggressive yet appealing look across its entire sheet metal
Truth be told, upon first glance, it was a little hard to tell the difference between the Mazda CX-8 from its larger sibling, the CX-9.

That's not a bad thing. Mazda's KODO design language still shines through. Strong yet soulful, the CX-8 offers a lot of road presence with its sharp, aggressive snout up front.

Aside from slight design tweaks between the two siblings, the CX-8 - as its name suggests - is a model that sits below the CX-9. Size wise, they both share the same wheelbase at 2,930mm, but the CX-9 is still 175mm longer, 129mm wider and 22mm taller than the CX-8.

Premium feel

The CX-8 offers an interior that isn't just sensual and luxurious, but sensible and practical at the same time
Step inside and the CX-8's interior does not disappoint. It is quite a premium affair.

While the Peugeot 5008 offers an interior with a lot of flair and style, the CX-8 is one that feels just as stylish, but usable and sensible at the same time.

Soft touch materials line virtually all corners that the eye can see, with important buttons and switches laid out clearly - along with a satisfying click when pressed or turned.

You can tell how much effort has been done in this space not just from the build quality, but how driver information and infotainment functions are displayed.

Analog instruments? Think again - the speedometer portion is entirely digital
The instrument cluster, for example, might seem dated to you and me. But it is in fact a digital 7.0-inch display. Fanciful displays are all the rage now, but a screen that displays important information like speed in a natural and unobstructive way works much better.

Of course, the CX-8 still offers all your connectivity features for a car in this day and age, with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard.

Space for six or seven

Perhaps the most important bit about the CX-8 is the fact that it fits more than five, with either a six or seven seater configuration.

Two individual seats form the second row, with lots of knee and wiggle room on offer
In the six-seater Luxury trim that we tested here, the CX-8 offers two seats in each of the three rows.

Those in the second row will have nothing to complain about, considering how the open aisle layout provides ample knee and wiggle room.

Adding on to the CX-8 comfort abilities are climate control vents that are strong enough to reach even the third row - again, a lot to do with the open aisle format.

Speaking of the third row, adults should find them reasonably comfortable. Kids or young children will suit the space here better, but if it is a short run with your colleagues to lunch, we're sure they'll be more than happy to be relegated to the back.

If you need more space, 775 litres is on offer if you fold the third row completely flat
Boot space is also reasonable for a three-row SUV, with 209 litres on offer with all seats up.

Fold the third row down and this expands to a whopping 775 litres.

A comfortable pace

On the move, Mazda claims that major refinements have been made in terms of suspension and ride quality and it shows. The CX-8 rides effortlessly over ruts and bumps, making easy work out of poor road conditions.

The Bose audio system fitted in the Luxury trim does well in the CX-8's quiet cabin
Vibration and harshness levels are kept well at a minimum, too. The CX-8 is very quiet, which ensures an environment for the 10-speaker Bose system to deliver your favourite tunes.

Driver assistance features also are non-intrusive. Some cars scream and shout when your drive gets out of line, but the CX-8's lane keep assist system gently pulls you back into the lane, with blind-spot monitoring system reminding you of traffic either through the head-up display or through gentle beeps.

These all add to the leisurely drive the CX-8 offers, which brings us to the 2.5-litre naturally aspirated powerplant. With 192bhp and 258Nm of torque powering the front wheels, it is no bruiser - especially when you're moving over 1.8 tonnes of metal.

The six-speed automatic pairs itself well to the power that's on offer and is smooth in operation
But the six-speed automatic does good work in keeping revs within the powerband, making the car feel a lot perkier than what its figures show.

Our 130km test drive with the CX-8 netted a fuel consumption figure of 10.1km/L, which is reasonable for a car this size, but nothing exceptional.

Good car, but six or seven?

In all, the Mazda CX-8 offers what many buyers are looking for in a car today.

The CX-8 does well as an SUV, and offers the practical option two seating configurations
It has a strong on-road presence expected from an SUV, is well-equipped, and offers the flexibility to fit either six or seven seats.

And on that note, it'll be a choice we think some buyers will carefully consider. For the Luxury trim, both the six and seven-seater CX-8 will cost the same, at $157,888 (as of 21 October 2020).

But whichever seating configuration you choose, the CX-8's ability to be sensible yet sensual shines through, which we're sure will please many of you.

Catch more of this stunning Mazda CX-8 and its awesome interior here in our video review!

Car Information

There's a promotion for Mazda CX-8


: $201,888

Engine Type


4-cylinder in-line 16-valve DOHC

Engine Cap





143kW (192 bhp) / 6000 rpm



258 Nm / 4000 rpm



6-speed (A)

Acceleration (0-100 km/h)



Top Speed



Fuel consumption



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