The as-yet unrevealed Mazda CX-8 three-row crossover announced last month is not on the cards for Australia, despite our market’s overwhelming demand for SUVs
Instead, the vaguely mysterious new six- and seven-seater SUV is being produced in Japan exclusively for the domestic market, where it will sit above the five-seat CX-5.
This makes the CX-8 the second all-new Mazda SUV line that won’t come to Australia in very recent memory, with the low-slung CX-4 crossover restricted to China only.
Above: Mazda CX-8 cabin, top: new CX-5
One side note to consider: Mazda Japan does not offer the seven-seat CX-9 that we get in Australia, so the CX-8 will stand in as the new flagship of its range there.
Although the CX-8 and CX-9 will share an identical footprint, the CX-8 will be shorter overall: 4900mm to the CX-9’s 5075mm. It will also be notably narrower and lower.
Unlike the turbocharged 2.5 petrol-only CX-9, the CX-8 will be offered with Mazda’s 2.2-litre diesel engine making around 129kW and 420Nm of torque.
Pictured: Mazda CX-4 in China
Mazda Australia managing director Vinesh Bhindi today confirmed what we all suspected from the global announcement last month.
“CX-8 is being produced in Japan for the Japanese market only, very much like the CX-4 which is aimed at China only,” he said. “There are no plans to introduce these SUVs to the Australian market.
“We have the five-seat CX-3 and CX-5, and the seven-seat CX-9 alternative, which are all performing strongly. These three models give Mazda a very good SUV coverage in Australia.”
Pictured: Mazda CX-9
He’s not wrong there. Mazda’s SUV range is easily Australia’s second top-selling behind Toyota — which offers a far greater breadth of options — comprising 16,842 units this year so far (about half its overall sales).
The CX-3 and CX-5 top their respective small and medium SUV segments, while the new CX-9 is up 400 per cent and is nipping at the Toyota Kluger’s heels.
Still, given SUV sales are now eclipsing passenger vehicles on a market-wide basis, Mazda HQ’s decision not to offer two all-new crossover options to Australia — one of its most important regions by market share — must grate internally.
Pictured: Mazda CX-5
Bhindi did say that things could yet change, though we wouldn’t hold our breath.
“If there was ever a version offered to Australia we would evaluate and consider its viability among our range,” he said.
Cricket metaphors including straight bats and leaving it to the ‘keeper spring to mind…