In Mazda’s model line up, the all-new 2019 Mazda CX-8 positioned between the Mazda CX-5 and CX-9. Sounds fairly simple but when compared to other cars on the market, you’ll realise that the CX-8 is in a league of its own.
To briefly recap, the CX-8 is a three-row SUV priced between RM 176k to RM 211k. There are 2 engine options available - a 2.5-litre 4-cylinder petrol or a 2.2-litre turbodiesel.
If we look at SUVs with three-row seating capacities, you have your popular options like the Mitsubishi Outlander and Nissan X-Trail. But those two are priced significantly lower than the CX-8, surely, you can’t put them in the same page.
Then there are the Koreans – Hyundai Santa Fe and Kia Sorento as well as the Peugeot 5008 which are priced closer to the CX-8. Like the CX-8, they are easy on the eyes and are furnished like a premium car.
However, there’s one problem, the CX-8 is a much larger car than the Santa Fe, Sorento and 5008.
Let’s break it down for you, the CX-8 rides on the CX-9 platform, sharing the same wheelbase of 2,930 mm. It is also 100 mm short of being 5 meters long. This makes the CX-8 closer in size to the Mercedes-Benz GLE than the supposedly 'rivals'.
Being longer in wheelbase, you might expect a capacious cabin in the CX-8. Well, yes and no. You see, Mazda has never been grandmasters at interior packaging, always falling short on making use of space compared to other manufacturers.
The cabin of the CX-8 is not tight per se, but you’d expect to have more room for movement considering its sheer size. However, after trying out the third-row seats first-hand, we can attest that the CX-8 will comfortably accommodate 6 or 7 (depending on seating configuration) adults.
The more expensive platform also plays a big factor in the CX-8’s more sophisticated and plusher ride. Something the competition within the same price point just couldn’t quite match up.
However, what's even more important is that for three-row SUVs at this price point, the CX-8 is the only car that comes equipped with Advanced Driving Assistance Systems (ADAS) like autonomous emergency braking, blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning and rear cross traffic alert across all variants.
Priced between RM 179k to RM 217k, the 2019 Mazda CX-8 being some RM 80k more affordable than the CX-9 yet offers CX-9 levels of road manners, does indeed offer a unique proposition in the Malaysian market.
The way I see it, it’s one step above the Koreans and Peugeot but not quite as posh as the CX-9. Occupying the niche gap for those looking for a sophisticated and premium three-row SUV under RM 220k.