Review - Mazda CX-8

By Alexi Falson on 03 May 2021
image for Review - Mazda CX-8 Mazda has been working away at plugging holes within its lineup for a number of years now, and the CX-8 is no different.

For buyers looking for the added space and practicality of a seven-seat SUV, but reluctant to step into something the size of the largest SUV in Mazda’s lineup, the CX-9, Mazda has created the CX-8.

It’s billed as a more adaptable and flexible car to the CX-9, and has dimensions that are far smaller than the CX-9, too, which means it’s significantly easier to park and maneuver around tight spaces. This is, in part, due to the fact that it’s actually an elongated version of the almighty sales-hit that is the CX-5.

Does the overall quality of the CX-5 transfer over to the CX-8, though?

Let’s find out.

Starting Price: $39,910

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Mazda CX-8 - SPORT (FWD) Specifications

Model Date 2021
Model CX-8
Series CX8C
Variant SPORT (FWD)
Transmission 6 SP AUTOMATIC
Drive FWD
Engine DIRFI
Engine capacity 2499
Engine configuration DUAL OVERHEAD CAM / 16 valves
Engine RPM 6000 / 4000
Cylinders 4
Torque 252
KW 140
Fuel tank size 72.0
Fuel usage specs 8.1 / 0.0
CO2 187
ANCAP security rating 5

For more details and other variants, check Mazda CX-8 car page.

How Much Does It Cost?

The Mazda CX-8 lineup kicks off at $39,910 for the base model Sport in a front-wheel drive configuration. Option for the diesel-powered Sport variant adds $7,000 to the sticker price, bringing the total to $46,910.

The rest of the CX-8 lineup jumps to the Touring variant for $46,590 for the petrol engine, or $53,590 for the diesel, while the GT and Askari variants rise to $57,990 and $61,440; adding a diesel powertrain to this variant brings the price to $61,990 for the GT and $65,440 for the Akari.

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What Features Does the CX-8 Have?

The entry-level CX-8 Sport comes with features like LED head-and-tail lights, three-zone climate control, 8.0-inch infotainment system with satellite navigation and digital radio, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, 17-inch alloys, leather-wrapped steering wheel, radar cruise control, rear parking sensors and reverse camera, active driving display, power mirrors and auto-dimming rear-view mirror.   

Stepping up to the mid-spec Touring adds LED fog lamps, parking sensors up front, advanced keyless entry, black leather seat trim, six-way adjustable seats, paddle shifters on the steering wheel, as well as rear seats with storage and USB chargers.

The GT variant adds 19-inch alloys, adaptive lighting system, a glass sunroof, LED daytime running lights, a black front grille, USB chargers on the third-row as well as a premium BOSE sound system.

The range-topping Askari receives 19-inch alloys, adaptive LED lights, nappa leather interior, heated steering wheel, 7-inch TFT for the driver, 360-degree view monitor, as well as some special touches around the cabin.

Range Features:

  • LED Head & Tail Lights
  • Three-Zone Climate Control
  • 8.0-inch screen with MZD Connect, Apple CarPlay & Android Auto
  • 17-inch alloys (19-inch in GT & Askari variants)
  • Panoramic Sunroof (GT & Askari)
  • 360 Degree View Monitor (Askari)  

Mazda CX-8 Colours

Soul Red Crystal Metallic Polymetal Grey
Machine Grey Metallic Platinum Quartz
Titanium Flash Mica Deep Crystal Blue Mica
Jet Black Mica Snowflake White Pearl Mica

Is it Comfortable to Drive?

The CX-8 drives extremely differently depending on which engine you opt for. The base engine, a 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol produces 140kW and 252Nm of torque, while the more powerful diesel unit produces 140kW and 450Nm of torque. Translated from car-speak to english, this means that the diesel is a remarkably more rewarding choice between the two.

Even with a base engine fitted, though, the overall power figures are extremely close, so more casual drivers are unlikely to notice the absence of torque. In normal driving conditions, the CX-8 performs remarkably well for a car of this size. While its proportions are smaller than the CX-9, it’s a large car, but somehow manages to hide its size while driving.

The steering feel is typically lightweight, as we’ve come to expect from modern Mazdas, and the six-speed automatic transmission provides remarkably smooth shifts between gears. All in all, the CX-8 performs perhaps better than it should at this size, and is extremely easy to pilot around the urban commute, and effortless navigating down a highway for a holiday road trip.

Is it Practical and Spacious?

As you can probably imagine for a car that is this size, the CX-8 is extremely capable of eating up a family-sized load of people, bags and odd, bulky items. Up front, the cabin has a simple and spacious layout, while passengers in the second-row of seats have perhaps just as much space as the driver and front passenger. Each row is treated to a variety of stash-spots and cubby holes for smaller items, while there is also the option of USBs for the second and third-row passengers that is perfect for long roadtrips.

Mazda has done exceptionally well at packaging the CX-8 with a usable, yet spacious and practical interior configuration that will remain unchallenged by even the largest of families. The third-row of seats is more suited to children, or young teenagers, but will accommodate an adult if you’re desperate.

Around the rear of the CX-8, there’s a boot capable of swallowing up 209L of luggage, which has been impacted by the third row of seats. With those seats folded down, the CX-8 has 775L of boot space.

Is it Safe?

The Mazda CX-8 has been awarded the maximum Five Star ANCAP Safety Rating, and comes packaged with a huge array of safety equipment as standard. The base model Sport comes fitted with blind-spot monitoring, high beam control, lane departure warning, radar cruise control, lane-keep assist, rear cross-traffic alert, reverse camera, smart brake support, smart city brake support, traffic sign recognition and parking sensors on the rear. 

Is it Fuel Efficient?

Mazda says the official fuel economy rating of the petrol CX-8 is 8.1L per 100km, while the diesel variant sips just 6.0L per 100km. Real-world figures will see these figures jump higher, though, so be wary that the petrol-powered CX-8 is not necessarily a class-leader in terms of economy. If fuel economy is a top priority, the more expensive but vastly more economical diesel engine is perhaps your best option.

Our Verdict: Is the Mazda CX-8 Worth it?

The CX-8 is an extremely capable people-mover that can handle all the people and bags you can throw at it, while still being relatively small enough to pilot without breaking a sweat. If you need a vehicle that can eat up a family’s worth of legs and school bags, and value for money is potentially your top priority, it’s difficult to walk past the CX-8 as an option.

We recommend you look at one of the more affordable model variants (Sport or Touring) and use the money you’ve saved for that diesel engine.

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Five Specs You Need to Know

  1. Three-zone climate control
  2. 8-inch infotainment system with Apple CarPlay & Android Auto
  3. 17-inch alloys as standard, (19-inch Touring & above)
  4. 6.0L/100km fuel economy (diesel engine)
  5. 140kW and 450Nm from diesel engine


  • Economical, torque-filled diesel engine (optional)
  • Impressive driving dynamics for size
  • Handsome amount of equipment as standard


  • Thirsty petrol engine
  • Costly upgrade to diesel engine

OnlineAuto Rating: 8/10

Mazda CX-8 Competition

Mazda CX-8

Mazda CX-5
Toyota Kluger
Honda CR-V
Mitsubishi Outlander
Mazda CX-9


Alexi Falson

Alexi is an automotive journalist and road tester hailing from Byron Bay. He has an affection for both cars and motorbikes, a great admiration for the simplicity of old-school engineering, and a fascination of new technology making its way to modern cars. When he's not road testing, you'll find him surfing, hiking or helping people find their dream cars.

Have any questions? Call us on 1300 719 925

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