FOR practical considerations, Mazda’s CX-8 crossover merits serious consideration.
A 6-seater variant of this 2.5L SUV has been smartly laid out in three rows, making access to the rear less of a stressful, and potentially muscle-pulling, experience. For anyone banished to the rear seat, that little corridor is convenient.
In this era of social distancing, you can at least take comfort knowing you have your own space bubble for the duration of a journey.
But if this is a seat short of what’s needed, there’s a 7-seater available as well, but then you’ll have to contort your body to get to the last row.
The Mazda CX-8 in white doesn’t flatter its curves. There are other colours that show off its carefully sculpted form better. The long bonnet with the large grille help to offset the sizable body in its wake. Seen from the side, the sloping window line and the curves and shaped metal soften the profile.
But what this test drive unit lacks in captivating looks, it makes up for in how it handles and responds to a demanding industry. With a century of manufacturing behind it, Mazda has adopted Zen-like statements to showcase its lineage as well as to create that mystique about an otherwise utilitarian tool.
“We believe the joy of being alive comes from what we discover on our journey, and the inspiration we find in every mile.” That’s what the brochure says. Maybe that refers to not being squished when you’re in the six-seater CX-8?
But for those with less airy desires and more down-to-earth demands pertaining to how the CX-8 relates to your wallet, they should find a greater affinity to the 3 variants available.
*Prices range from $153,888 to $160,888 depending on the variant chosen.
The smartly designed crossover moves and handles like a car, belying its size. That’s a plus for those fetching and ferrying the brood. It’s equipped with lots of current safety features that will keep a safe distance from the car in front, or to keep you safely in your lane.
And there’s a head up display that feeds you relevant information and navigation instructions, although at 8″, the centre display seems a bit small, compared to the large touchscreens available these days.
And while it looks a bit old world — it still has a DVD player! — it is effective and lets you manage your connectivity, the ambience in the cabin and your entertainment options. The BOSE sound system does a good job of pumping out decent sound via Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.
Fuel efficiency is a big thing for the CX-8. The Skyactiv-G engine boasts greater efficiency as a result of heavily compressing the air-fuel mixture through its in-line, 4-cylinder engine. The naturally aspirated power plant utilises around 8L of fuel to deliver 100km.
Driving the CX8 is not about excitement, and more about reliability and a drive that meets expectations.
It takes a leisurely 10.7 seconds to get to 100kmh, but then, speed is not be what you’re after here. It’s comfort, like the ventilated seats that will keep you cool in the hot tropics, and safety features that are uppermost in your mind when you choose a vehicle like this.