The budget-friendly seven-seater CX-8 won’t be packing its bags anytime soon and will instead live on amongst a crop of newer and more premium Mazda SUVs.
The seven-seater SUV is the more budget-friendly alternative to the CX-9 and will provide an affordable option for Australian buyers as Mazda pitches itself further upmarket.
While the CX-8 is still relatively new, launching locally in 2018, Mazda typically has a five-year lifecycle for its models, though some like the CX-9 have bucked this trend.
It remains unclear just how long the CX-8 will go without a replacement but if left unchanged for too long it could potentially be overtaken by newer rivals, such as the Nissan Pathfinder.
Last week, Mazda announced five new SUVs that would be rolled out globally with the CX-60 confirmed for Australia and the CX-70, CX-80 and CX-90 still under consideration.
Sonia Singh, Mazda Australia’s senior manager of public relations & corporate communications, told Chasing Cars this commitment to the CX-8 would allow the brand to diversify its audience.
“The CX-5 and CX-8 will continue to live alongside whichever of that product [CX-60, plus CX-70, CX-80 and CX-90] we bring, in the same way as the CX-30 and CX-3 live alongside one another happily but cater to very different audiences,” she said.
The CX-8 is in its first generation and is based on a transverse platform that offers buyers a front wheel drive option paired with a 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine with 140kW of power and 252Nm of torque – or a 140kW/450Nm twin-turbo diesel four’, in either front- or all-wheel drive.
Both the CX-8 petrol and diesel engines are paired with a standard six-speed torque converter automatic transmission. The CX-8 sits on Mazda’s Skyactiv platform that launched in the early 2010s.
By contrast, the Mazda’s new CX-80 will sit on its new ‘Large Product Group’ architecture which will share a similar relationship with the CX-90 as the CX-8 has shared with the CX-9, serving as the narrow-bodied and more affordable alternative.
The CX-80 will be more suited to European markets and will be offered with a straight-six turbodiesel engine paired with a 48-volt mild-hybrid system that diverts power to the rear wheels, or likely a rear-biased all wheel drive system.
A plug-in hybrid CX-80 paired with turbocharged four-cylinder could also be offered in Australia, but both options would price the CX-80 well above the current CX-8.
Pricing for the CX-8 currently commences at $39,910 plus on-road costs for a base Sport grade with the front-drive petrol drivetrain, with an eleven-strong range extending to the $69,920 top-shelf Asaki LE diesel AWD.
The more sophisticated CX-80 is expected to be priced to compete with large luxury SUVs.
Within Mazda’s broad Australian range, the CX-8 is the narrow-body three-row alternative to the flagship CX-9.
Chasing Cars understands the CX-9 will run for another two years in the North American market, which, alongside Australia, is a pivotal market for the large SUV.
While the CX-8 and CX-80 narrow-body large SUVs will sit alongside one another, the likely end of the CX-9’s lifespan in the US paves the way for the forthcoming petrol-engined CX-90 to become the undisputed flagship Mazda in years to come.
All prices listed are before on-road costs.
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This week on Chasing Cars: Mazda CX-60 reviewed, BRZ orders open and Opel potentially heading to Australia