Sunday, October 6, 2019

The 2020 Mazda CX-8 is Meant to be Both a Luxury MPV and a Family-Oriented SUV


With confirmation that the Mazda CX-8 is arriving to the Philippines (check out our first drive here), it becomes an interesting alternative to the usual suspect of mid-sized SUVs. While the local spec and pricing has yet to be announced, it’s understood that Mazda Philippines is toying to bring in just one variant of its three-row crossover.

See, unlike the usual Fortuner, Montero Sport, and what have you, the CX-8 is designed to replace the now defunct Mazda8 MPV. Because it serves the comfort-conscious Japanese market, the CX-8 has one trick up its sleeve: it’s offered with three different seating configurations. Now, because the Philippine team drove just one variant, there was no chance to see what the others looked like, until now.



The first seating configuration, and one that constitutes the base model of the CX-8 is the one equipped with the traditional 2+3+2 arrangement. The bench second row is sliding in a 60/40 split and can be folded down along with the third row to create a voluminous loading bay. It’s finished in stain-resistant fabric making this perfect for families with small kids.


Moving up, there’s the first 2+2+2 configuration. This CX-8 has second-row Captain Seat’s with arm rests, and like in the base 7-seat version, can be slid forward and backward for more room in the third row. Unlike the 7-seat version though, the center aisle allows passengers to pass between the second- and third-row seats easily. Oh, and unlike other vehicles equipped with Captain’s Seats, the second row here can also be folded down creating a load space that joins with the third row.


Finally, there’s the top-trim 6-seater configuration. This High trim version swaps the arm rests with a fixed center console with a butterfly-style lid and two fixed cup holders. Like the center console-less variant, this one also slides forward and back. This is clearly aimed for the executive crowd and with that, it comes with Nappa Leather as standard. There’s a missed opportunity here to add standard ventilated seats, but weirdly enough, seat heaters are present.


On all variants, a tri-zone climate control system is standard. There are visible vents on the first two rows, but those in the third will have to do with underseat-mounted floor vents. Having said that, Mazda engineers say they’ve taken air circulation into account by splitting the air flow into two. This should provide ample cooling, they said, to those in the third row.

As for pricing, Mazda has yet to reveal the CX-8’s pricing even for the Malaysian domestic market where it’s expected to sell first. However, during a panel interview, executives from Bermaz Auto did mention that it’s roughly 10 to 15 percent more expensive than the top-trim CX-5 putting the price around P 2,250,000 to P 2,550,000. Furthermore, they confirmed that neither the CX-5 nor the CX-9 will be discontinued in favor of the CX-8.



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