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Mazda expands SUV range with ‘driver-focussed’ CX-8

By David Bonnici, 10 Jan 2018 Car News

Mazda expands SUV range with driver-focussed CX-8

A diesel-engined alternative to the seven-seat Mazda CX-9 will arrive this year, with driver enjoyment a priority

MAZDA has confirmed its CX-8 fastback SUV will be sold in Australia from late in 2018.

The three-row Mazda CX-8 will bridge the narrow gap between the CX-5 and CX-9, providing a more economical diesel alternative to the latter.

Built on the CX-5’s platform, it is powered by an updated version of that car’s 2.2-litre four-cylinder diesel engine, and includes the same G Vectoring Control – the engine can momentarily reduce performance to help weigh up a tyre to improve cornering grip – as rolled out to other Mazda models.

The CX-8 was meant to be unique to the Japanese market – the CX-9 is not sold there – and represents what Mazda says is “a new people-moving option for customers who want to enjoy outings with family and friends but don't want to sacrifice design or driving performance”.

Mazda Australia managing director Vinesh Bhindi said it would also meet growing demand for seven-seat diesel SUVs, a demand not met by the petrol-only CX-9.

“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,” Bhindi said.

The 2.2-litre engine ups its performance to 140kW and 450Nm, compared with 129kW and 420Nm for the four-pot diesel’s tune for the CX-5. In Australia, the CX-9 sells with a 170kW, 420Nm turbocharged 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine.

The CX-8 features a more sporty suspension tune, with a rebound spring on the front dampers enhancing cornering ability. It also gains beefier brakes, with 432mm ventilated discs up front and a larger master cylinder helping to improve stopping performance.

Local specs and pricing will be revealed closer to launch, though has already revealed that all variants will feature the latest i-ACTIVSENSE driver assistance technologies as standard.