Australian crossover buyers willing to sacrifice some practicality for sharper style will soon be able to add the Mazda CX-8 to their shopping lists. Mazda announced the addition to the lineup in an email newsletter, according to Car Advice, but the automaker didn't specify exact timing for the launch.
Mazda launched the CX-8 in Japan in December 2017 as its three-row crossover for the market – the CX-9 isn't available there. The CX-8 and CX-9 share a 115-inch (2,930-millimeter) wheelbase, but the CX-8 is 6.9 inches (175 mm) shorter in total length. It's also narrower and has a lower overall height than the CX-9.
What the CX-8 gives up in space, it makes up in style. Up front, the top of the crossover's hood juts forward, giving it an aggressive attitude. Narrow headlights wrap around each side. In profile, a steeper rake for the windshield and hatchback create a sharper look than the CX-9. Inside, both models feature high quality materials that showcase Mazda's recent effort to move upmarket.
Gallery: Mazda CX-8 teaser
In Japan, the CX-8 exclusively comes with a 2.2-liter diesel that makes 188 horsepower (140 kilowatts) and 332 pound-feet (450 Newton-meters) of torque. A six-speed automatic is the only available transmission, but buyers can choose between front- and all-wheel-drive layouts. According to Car Advice, this engine's economy could be a selling point for the CX-8 in Australia because the CX-9 only comes with Mazda's gasoline-fueled 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder there.
There's no sign yet that Mazda might bring the svelte CX-8 to other markets. However, launching the model in Australia could be sign of the firm testing the waters for wider availability. BMW and other brands already offer more stylish, less utilitarian variants of their crossovers, like the X5's relationship with the X6, so it's easy to see how Mazda could follow this path with the CX-8 and CX-9.
Source: Car Advice