If you are looking for a family car but still want to get that classy style in an SUV, Mazda has something special for you. Mazda’s has added to its roster of crossover SUVs the new Mazda CX-8, a midsize SUV that is not too big nor too small compared to its siblings, the CX-5 and the CX-9. We’ve driven the AWD Exclusive 6-seater before, and so today we’re taking a look at the Mazda CX-8 2WD Signature 7-seater for this review and how it differs from the higher variant.
Ranked between the well-liked CX-5 compact SUV and the flagship CX-9, the stylish CX-8 is a delightful addition to the Mazda SUV family. Emanating a simple yet sophisticated charm, the CX-8 as expected carries the brand’s KODO design which creates a sense of motion even at a standstill.
Most Mazdas are focused on providing a sporty driving experience, but the CX-8 focuses more on stability and refinement. I took my family for a quick ride to experience what the CX-8 has to offer. And I’m telling you, it did not disappoint us. My family felt very much comfortable, enjoying a quiet and relaxed ride. On the other hand, I felt like I was driving a sedan with its smooth handling and acceleration. You can never feel the bumpiness of the road. Thanks to the unibody frame that has done wonders for the CX-8 as it gives you stability and security when driving. It has a softer suspension compared to other Mazda SUVs, and it effectively absorbed all the harshness of the road.
With its smooth power and acceleration, driving the CX-8 gives so much joy and satisfaction primarily because of the 2.5-liter Skyactiv-G gasoline engine together with its six-speed automatic transmission. This combination produces 187 hp and 252 Nm of torque. The engine feels adequate for its size, though a diesel engine option would definitely be welcome.
What is evident when you drive the CX-8 is its peaceful interior, which offers excellent riding comfort and a relaxing journey that you deserve. Thanks to the additional insulation in the roof to reduce the sound of rain which also takes care of the heat absorption. Mazda has certainly added more enhancements to the CX-8 when it comes to the sound deadening compared to CX-5 and the cabin undoubtedly feels just as upscale as the CX-9.
The Mazda CX-8 2WD Signature is very much loaded with amazing features starting from the plush Nappa Leather upholstery which gives you a feeling of comfort, the standard HUD system, a TFT multi-information display for the speedometer, powered front seats, and 3-zone climate control.
The 7-inch full-color touch screen display runs the first generation of Mazda Connect with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration. This is complemented by a breathtaking 273-watt 10-speaker Bose audio system that gives a positive vibe when you listen to music.
In lieu of the 6-seater Exclusive’s captain’s seats is a more conventional bench seat, which should be a better choice for families. Those seated at the second row aren’t shortchanged on features as they get to experience a center armrest with USB ports, their own climate controls, and even rear sunshades.
As for cargo capacity, the powered-rear trunk provides easy access when your hands are full, while the 50:50 split-folding third-row seats can accommodate additional passengers and gives more luggage space when these seats are folded. However, the third-row seats are a little bit less generous than in the CX-9, though, it can fit two adults. It is not advisable for long drives as they may feel uncomfortable, but two children that are less than 8-years old can definitely sit there comfortably.
In terms of safety, the Mazda CX-8 2WD Signature is equipped with Mazda’s i-Activsense suite of safety features that consist of 360-degree surround-view parking monitor with full sensors, adaptive LED lights, blind spot warning, rear cross-traffic alert, lane departure warning with lane keep assist, and driver attention alert which provides a very relaxed and secure riding experience.
Under the hood, both midsize crossovers variants share the same normally aspirated 2.5-liter Skyactiv-G gasoline engine together with its six-speed Skyactiv-Drive automatic transmission used in the updated CX-5. However, in terms of fuel economy, CX-8 is rated at 8.1 km/L but for a daily commute with traffic included, the trip reading settled in at 7.5 km/L. As far as performance is concerned, the engine brings a very consistent power output and the acceleration is decent as well.
The CX-8 is 175 mm shorter overall than the CX-9, but the two share the same 2930 mm wheelbase measurement which means that there is enough space from the first two rows of seats. The CX-8 is 129 mm narrower and lower by 17 mm, so if the second-row seats are going to be occupied regularly by adults, the CX-9’s extra width could be vital.
The 19-inch alloys are fittingly designed and use the same 225/55 R19 tires as the CX-5 AWD variants. It also possesses excellent brakes as it uses the same 12.6-inch (320 mm) ventilated front discs and 12.8-inch (325 mm) solid rear discs of the CX-9, but since the CX-8 is lighter, braking performance is noteworthy for the segment.
The Mazda CX-8 Signature undoubtedly is a very good-looking and versatile crossover that will not upset its target market. It is not as agile as the CX-5 nor as formidable as the CX-9, but for an everyday car that can be used for long drives, this car is the best fit for any family. The price range for the 2WD Signature 7-seater is at P2,290,000 and the AWD Exclusive 6-seater model is at PHP 2,450,000. Overall, with its simple and yet classy design that can be as worthy as a family car, the new Mazda CX-8 2WD Signature still offers the same luxury as the top-trim AWD variant, but in a more family-friendly arrangement.