SUVs have taken over the automobile market. Automakers are busy releasing an SUV after another. Like other automakers, Mazda is also busy adding to its lineup of SUVs. The latest news from Mazda is a new SUV that will slot below the CX-9. Dubbed the CX-8, the SUV is set to make a sales debut later this year as a 2018 model car. The 2018 Mazda CX-8 SUV will first be offered in Japan before it is released to other markets. There is not much to say about the new model as of now since the automaker has only released a single image of the SUV’s interior while other details about the model are still shrouded in secrecy. The model will be slightly smaller than the CX-9.
2018 Mazda CX-8 Exterior
The exterior look of the new 2018 Mazda CX-8 is still a mystery as of this writing. The automaker has only released dimensions of the model. The model will stretch 192.91 inches long, 72.44 inches wide and stand at a height of 68.11 inches. Its wheelbase will span 115.35 inches making it around 6 inches, 5 inches and an inch shorter, thinner and lower than the CX-9 respectively. The models, however, have identical wheelbases.
Anything else is a mystery.
I expect the exterior to feature extensively the KODO-Soul design. I won’t be surprised if the model looks almost identical to the CX-9 with similar grille, front fascia but with a few touches of its own to set it apart from its bigger brother. Like the CX-9, the CX-8 will likely feature a smooth hood and rest of the body with mild body lines. The rear fascia will likely feature a beefy overhang and probably different taillights but most of the design will still be identical to the CX-9.
The interior of the CX-8 features the same seating arrangement as the CX-9. In addition, the center console of the CX-8 looks identical to that of the CX-9. However, there are a few differences that set the interiors of the two SUVs apart. The CX-8 will have an option to accommodate 6 or 7 passengers as one can either choose captain chairs for the second and third rows to accommodate a total of 6 passengers or a second-row bench seat which means the model will accommodate 7 passengers.
Models that have second-row captain chairs will also feature a rear stand-alone center console almost similar to the one in front while models with a second-row bench seat will feature a fold-down console that is kept in the center of the seat backrests when not in use. Compared to the CX-9, the CX-8 door trim features a longer armrest and smaller as well as thinner aluminum inserts. Its seat cushions seem to have less padding.
The image released by the automaker did not show the model’s dashboard which means there is little to talk about. However, I expect the dash to be almost identical to that of the CX-9 featuring an identical infotainment display system and similar inserts among others.
Engine and performance
Under the hood, Mazda has announced a single turbo-diesel mill with a displacement of 2.2 liters. The 4-cylinder engine produces 173 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque. The engine will be hooked to a 6-speed automatic gearbox with power being channeled to the front wheels as standard. AWD will be offered as an option. The model will initially be offered in the Japanese market. I think the automaker will add gasoline engines when the model is offered in other markets, particularly in the U.S. Details about the engine’s fuel economy will be released later on during an actual public debut of the model probably at an upcoming auto show.
Price and release date
Mazda is yet to release official prices of the 2018 Mazda CX-8. Considering the model will slot below the CX-9, I expect it to have a starting price less than that of the CX-9. As such, I believe a starting price of around $24,000 (¥2,700,000) is a good guess.
The 2018 CX-8 major rival will be the current version of the Peugeot 3008.