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October 3, 2021

5 Things You May Have Missed About The Mazda CX-8

It comes as a surprise to many that Pickup-based Passenger Vehicles or PPVs are now getting quite expensive. Although they’re loaded with more features than ever, near top-of-the-line variants have crossed well into the P 2-million mark. With that in mind, more choices open up, including those that weren’t originally within reach of those looking for a family-oriented SUV.

One alternative to the usual PPV choices is this: the Mazda CX-8. The best-selling three-row crossover in the Philippines north of P 2-million (and the best-selling three-row SUV in Japan), it really is an interesting proposition. It combines the practical attributes expected of a family-friendly SUV (it’s the spiritual successor to Mazda’s Japan-only MPV after all), while offering the looks, performance, and high-end feel that’s found in every single member of Mazda’s CX-family of SUVs.

You can read our full review of the Mazda CX-8 2WD Signature here, and the CX-8 AWD Exclusive here, or read on to find out five things you may have missed about this 7-seater SUV.

#1. It offers commendable power

Most, if not all mid-sized SUVs try to dominate headlines using their peak power output. True enough, with burly (but rackety) diesel engines fitted under their hoods, they produce horsepower close, or above the 200-horsepower mark. Ditto their torque figures which are typically in the 450 to 510 Nm range.

Admittedly, the Mazda CX-8 doesn’t offer the same headline grabbing power figure as most PPVs. However, it is much quieter and refined than any diesel motor. Moreover, the 190-horsepower, 252 Nm of torque outputs from its normally-aspirated 2.5-liter Skyactiv-G engine is nothing to be sneezed at. Together with a lighter curb weight compared to PPVs and a revised gear ratio versus the CX-5, the quoted 0 to 100 km/h figure is 10.7 seconds. This puts it at par with other mid-sized SUVs.

Fuel consumption is also at par with PPVs. Based on our latest road test, the CX-8 does 8.4 km/L (previous figures ranged from 7.2 to 7.52 km/L in heavy traffic). This is compared to the Fortuner which does 8.13 km/L in our latest outing (previous figure was at 7.81 km/L).

#2. It actually has low cost of ownership

This is something people hear all the time: diesels are practical because the fuel, on a per liter basis, is cheaper. Given an estimated annual distance traveled of 15,000 kilometers, the Fortuner will consume about 1,845 liters of fuel to the CX-8’s 1,786 liters. However, because diesel is, on the average around P 10 to P 12 less per liter, the fuel cost is P 92,909.86 in favor of the Fortuner. So, the foregoing statement is true.

Having said that, this doesn’t paint the entire ownership experience. Factoring in Mazda’s 5-Year Free Service Plan which covers all the expenses of periodic maintenance at either 6-month or 10,000-kilometer intervals for 5 years or 100,000 kilometers, the CX-8 squeaks out a P 4,341.14 advantage over the Fortuner due to the Toyota’s higher PMS costs. And this doesn’t even factor in inflation which is protected under Mazda’s 5-Year Free Service Plan too.

Check out the computations below.

#3. It’s right-sized

Mid-sized SUVs are favored by Filipino buyers largely because of their form factor. But here’s a surprise, the CX-8 is actually bigger in two key areas: length and wheelbase. Compared to, say the Fortuner, the CX-8 is actually 105 mm longer. Meanwhile, its wheelbase is a full 185 mm longer (it’s actually identical to the larger CX-9). All this while the Mazda maintains a respectable 200 mm ground clearance to the Fortuner’s 225 mm.

Things go beyond just the numbers too. True to Mazda’s Human-Centric Design philosophy, the CX-8 offers large rear doors that swing open up to 80 degrees. This allows easier ingress/egress and even the installation of child seats. Plus, because the CX-8 is a unibody crossover as opposed to a body-on-frame SUV, the interior space is much more optimized. With a higher roofline and flatter floor, it can genuinely fit adults across all three rows of seats.

Even for buyers who’re looking at the CX-8 for its cargo space, it delivers. With all three rows of seats up, it already offers 209 liters of space (not including the sub-trunk box). This is enough to accommodate four carry-on luggage. Dropping both second and third row seats down, that space grows to 742 liters. The standard power tailgate adds extra convenience too.

#4. It’s set to impress

Cabin quality is typical Mazda in that it’s fitted with well-damped switchgear and impressively high premium pieces including the use of real wood trim and even Nappa leather. Across all three rows, the seats promote the spine’s natural S-shape making it one truly comfortable and back-friendly SUV.

Mazda engineers also paid careful consideration to control Noise, Vibration, and Harshness too. By reducing the gap between the roof molding and spoiler, adding vibration-dampening and sound-absorbing material near the back, a decent conversation can actually be done between those seated in the first and third rows. Even if occupants aren’t in the mood to talk, the 10-speaker Bose sound system, tailor-made for the CX-8, produces crystal clear sound.

#5. It’s made to be driven

While it won’t be mistaken for a sportscar (or even the CX-5 for that matter), the CX-8 holds out on its own as a well-sorted mid-sized SUV. It masks its heft well with minimal body roll and precise steering. It also manages to ride very well. It’s extremely pliant—easily the best among mid-sized SUVs. It goes through all sorts of road racks and potholes (yes, even the dreaded C5 truck lane) with poise and grace. Better yet, it has none of the float—a typical cause of car sickness.

Another aspect that sets the CX-8 apart is its suite of driver assist features. Aside from the usual assortment of airbags, ABS with EBD, and stability control, it has lane departure warning (LDW), lane keep assist (LKA), and blind spot monitoring with rear cross traffic alert. Parking or maneuvering in tight confines? No problem. It has front and rear parking sensors and a 360-degree camera.

All this has led the CX-8 to score a 5-star rating at the Australian New Car Assessment Program or ANCAP. Considered stricter than the ASEAN NCAP, Mazda’s mid-sized SUV scored a 96 percent Adult Occupancy Protection (AOP), 87 percent in Child Occupant Protection (COP), 72 percent in Vulnerable Road User Protection, and 73 percent in Safety Assist Technology. These scores are, in comparison, higher than the all-new Isuzu mu-X and Kia Sorento and updated Toyota Fortuner.

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