Weakness: Weird floor mats are not premium, no turbo available on petrol engines
Our view: For some time now Mazda is trying to move itself up in the hierarchy of car manufacturers, with the objective to one day rival the Euro brands like Audi, Mercedes and BMW. Have they reached that with the CX-8? The short answer is so. However, they are getting there. The build quality of the current model line-up as well as their feature are clearly a big step in the right direction. So right now Mazda is in a sort of no-mans land between its Japanese or Korean peers and those from Europe. Their pricing has kept in line with this position, so depending on your needs, you may find the Mazda CX-8 checking all your boxes and you then get a car at nearly EU level of quality and build for the price just above a typical Japanese car. Volkswagen definitely needs to up their game and Audi should not slack either if they don’t want Mazda to join their league.
Which model to go for?
We are offered four models in Malaysia, of which 3 are sharing the same 2.5 litre petrol engine. The petrol ones are the 2.5G MID (RM179,660), the 2.5G PLUS (RM185,660) and the 2.5G HIGH (RM201,360). These 3 come without turbo, though still produce 192hp and 258Nm torque which is more than enough to move this large SUV around town as well as on the highway. The petrol versions are also offered with front wheel drive only. Not a major issue as you probably will not take this car off-road anyhow. However, if you insist on getting the 4-wheel drive, then you need to go for the fourth model on offer, which is the top of the line 2.2 turbo diesel (RM216,323). The diesel variant gives you 188hp, which is ok for highway use and more importantly, 450Nm torque. Since you use torque to accelerate, this is perhaps more important and with this amount of torque, you will be among the quickest cars to move away from a standstill. The price jump from the 2.5G HIGH to the 2.2D HIGH is still hefty at about RM12.5k though you do get a lot for that money. So worth to consider. In particular as the diesel engine is very quiet, so you won’t hear that typical low hum that plagued diesels in uncle times.
All cars come with Apple CarPlay or Android Auto standard and the HIG specs also get Mazda's i-Activsense advanced safety technologies, which helps you avoid accidents or minimise their severity. Very useful.
Anything you need to know?
The diesel variant is the only car not available with sport mode for the gearbox. Why is anybody’s guess, though on the flip side, this is not something you’ll miss. If and when you do want to get into a sporty mood, you can always move the gear-lever into manual and control the gear changes by the paddle shifters on the steering wheel and you get a similar effect of shifting at higher gears, which is basically all the sport mode will do in the case of the CX-8.
The 2.5G MID is the only version with 7-seats. All others have the 6-seat arrangement, whereby in the HIGH spec, the seats are covered in nice Nappa leather instead of fabric. A nice centre console is shoehorned between the captain seats in the 6-seaters and offers some storage options as well as 2 additional USB connections and cupholders.
Both the HIGH specced cars have a 360 camera installed as well as a heads-up coloured display.
The CX-8 has been awarded 5-stars in the ANCAP crash safety test, so you know that you and your loved ones are well protected int his car.
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So come over to the Mazda dealership or contact any of the friendly sales advisors to get more info. Alternatively, why not make use of the Free Concierge Service from Motor2U and let us help you in every step of the way? Contact us now!