2021 Mazda CX-8 Review | Philkotse Philippines

Updated Sep 21, 2021

Editor's: 4.3/5
The anti-SUV crossover from the Japanese automaker.
2021 Mazda CX-8 Review | Philkotse Philippines

In this review...

  1. Introduction
  2. Exterior
  3. Interior
  4. Tech & Safety
  5. Engine & Performance
  6. Fuel Efficiency
  7. Verdict
  8. Variants and Price
  9. Color Options
  10. Specs

2021 Mazda CX-8 Review: Introduction

Mazda has a pickup truck, the Ford Ranger-based BT-50, which got a redesign based on the new Isuzu D-Max. But even with the existence of the Ranger-based Ford Everest and the upcoming next-generation D-Max-based mu-X, there has never been a pickup-based Mazda SUV. And that’s a good thing.

Mazda has crossovers to fill that void and case in point, in lieu of lacking a direct contender in the midsize SUV segment, Mazda has the seven-seater CX-8. For this full review, I drove the CX-8 Signature trim, and here’s why it’s the anti-SUV.

4.3/5

Mazda CX-8 2021 Review

How we do our reviews
  • aesthetics
    4.5/5

    Overall exterior & Interior design, build quality, form vs function

  • Safety & Technology
    4.5/5

    Number of safety & tech features, consistency during usage

  • Performance
    4.0/5

    Power delivery, acceleration, transmission, suspension, handling

  • Comfort & Practicality
    4.5/5

    Overall Ride Comfort, Space, Storage Areas

  • Value for Money
    4.0/5

    Sticker price vs overall package

2021 Mazda CX-8 Exterior Review: Blending in

It may not be apparent for everyone but the Mazda CX-8 Philippines is actually just as huge as pickup platform SUVs out there. It’s a bit lower, however, which gives it a better stance than more popular counterparts and way better on-road manners, but more on that later. Of note, its 200mm of ground clearance is nothing to scoff at.

A picture of the rear of the Mazda CX-8

The CX-8 from the rear

As for the design, the CX-8 carries the Kodo design language gracefully despite its heft. This is both its gift and curse; Kodo design will always be beautiful at any angle but having no clear-cut identity versus its Mazda crossover siblings doesn’t make the CX-8 stand out.

A picture of the front of the Mazda CX-8

This seven-seater crossover is sizable but elegant

But as it is and without looking at its positioning in the Mazda range, the CX-8’s proportions are on-point and void of pretensions; the all-LED affair makes it even appealing, day and night.

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Mazda CX-8 Signature (7-Seater)

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2021 Mazda CX-8 Signature (7-Seater)

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2021 Mazda CX-8 Interior Review: At the top of the food chain

A picture of the CX-8's rear seats

There's loads of space at the back

Cavernous cabin space is one thing that the CX-8 offers proudly. Despite having the same width as the CX-5, it has a wheelbase length of the CX-9 full-size SUV. That said, the second and third rows can fit up to five individuals, though rear headroom’s limited because of the somewhat sleek roofline. It must be said, however, that all of these seats are a pleasure to sit on, as opposed to the laughable third row of pickup-based SUVs.

A picture of the interior of the CX-8

The cockpit has an abundance of soft-touch surafaces

Apart from space, most of the positive experience inside the CX-8’s cabin comes from the obvious use of high-quality materials that please both the eyes and touch. The Nappa leather has proven itself as a coveted type of cowhide, while the layout and overall design execution are as logical as they are pretty. One caveat though is the use of scratch-prone piano black plastics on most touch-points, so yes, hygiene is the key here.

2021 Mazda CX-8 Review: Tech & Safety

The CX-8’s set of tech features are great for the most part but with a bit of shortcoming. Front seat adjustments are all electronic (with memory function for the driver), while all of the other power-assist toys you’d expect at this price point are fulfilled.

A picture of the CX-8's front seats

Finding your preferred driving position is easier with the electronic adjustability

However, the CX-8’s infotainment system is a bit small in relation to the vehicle’s size, which I believe is a missed opportunity given that it has a 360-degree-view camera. Good thing it has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, with a nifty (and safe) storage area for smartphones by the center console compartment.

Beyond that, the 10-speaker Bose sound system is heaven-sent, providing superb listening pleasure wherever you’re seated.

A picture of the CX-8's headunit

The Mazda Cx-8's infotainment system

On the safety front, the CX-8 has more than the basics with a full set of airbags, ABS with EBD, dynamic stability control, blind-spot monitoring system, rear-cross traffic alert, and lane departure warning with lane-keep assist. It does have the standard cruise control; the more advanced radar-based adaptive cruise is found on the pricier AWD Exclusive 6-Seater variant.

2021 Mazda CX-8 Review: Engine & Performance

Mazda offers the CX-8 with a 190-hp, 252-Nm 2.5-liter naturally-aspirated engine, practically a counter-intuitive decision considering Filipinos’ addiction to diesel. It’s also front-wheel-drive, with the all-wheel drivetrain reserved for the Exclusive trim.

A picture of the CX-8's gear shift lever

The CX-8's gear shift lever, electronic parking brake, and command controller knob

But whatever your belief or biases against gasoline (and front-wheel drivetrains), you’re wrong. The gasoline engine wasn’t lacking nor does it need help. It did admittedly work harder with higher loads, but with the expected usage of this family hauler, it certainly did the trick. If anything, the non-punchy power delivery promotes a buttery-smooth ride, which is the CX-8’s greatest trait.

A picture of the CX-8's engine

The CX-8's 2.5-liter inline-4 Skyactiv-G inline-4 powerplant

With its unibody body construction, the CX-8 didn’t feel floaty. No harsh dips and dives, while its noise insulation kept things peaceful within the cabin. If refinement and utmost ride quality are what you’re looking for, no pickup-based SUV ever comes close to what the CX-8 can offer.

2021 Mazda CX-8: Fuel Efficiency

After several days of testing within the city and a few instances of expressway runs, I discovered the main downside of the CX-8: its fuel efficiency.

At an average speed of 40 km/h, the CX-8 returned 6.2 km/L – not really a stellar number but I guess that’s the price of refinement.

2021 Mazda CX-8 Review: Verdict

In the Philippines, owning an SUV usually exudes a certain level of success. Whether that’s true or not, it’s entirely up to you.

As for myself, I am never really a fan of midsize SUVs, especially those that sit atop a ladder-frame chassis. In my years of testing vehicles, pickup-based vehicles always have a ridiculous ride quality; a comparison between contenders within this segment is usually a question of which one has a more livable ride.

A picture of the Mazda CX-8

If you're looking for a premium and comfortable seven-seater, consider the CX-8

This is where the CX-8 enters. The Mazda seven-seater crossover is the ultimate anti-SUV – proof that hefty family vehicles don't necessarily mean a compromise in comfort and ride quality.

If you’re in the market for SUVs and have the means to shell out P2,290,000 for a family vehicle, the CX-8 Signature should be on your shortlist. It’s the reason why Mazda doesn’t need its version of the mu-X, and you’ll have to drive one yourself to understand what that means.

2021 Mazda CX-8: Variants and Price

Mazda CX-8 Variants

Price

CX-8 Signature 2.5 FWD AT (7-seater)

Php 2,290,000

CX-8 Exclusive 2.5 AWD AT (6-seater)

Php 2,450,000

2021 Mazda CX-8: Color Options

Mazda CX-8 Color Options

Deep Crystal Blue/Jet Black/Machine Grey/Snowflake White Pearl/Sonic Silver/Soul Red Crystal

2021 Mazda CX-8: Specs

Overall

Make

Mazda

Name

CX-8 Signature

Body Type

5-door crossover

Dimensions and Weight

Length

4,900mm

Width

1,840mm

Height

1,730mm

Engine and Transmission

Type

2.5-liter Skyactiv-G inline-4 DOHC

Max Power

190 horsepower

Max Torque

252Nm

Transmission

Six-speed automatic transmission

Chassis and Suspension

Brakes (Front/rear)

Disc/Disc

Suspension (Front/rear)

MacPherson Strut/Multi-link

Wheels and Tires

19-inch alloy wheels, 225/55R19 tires

Exterior

Adaptive LED headlamps

Power liftgate

Rain sensing wipers

Dual exhaust tips

Interior

Nappa Leather

Dual-zone Automatic air-conditioning w/ rear vents

Cruise control

10-way power adjustable driver’s seat with memory function

8-inch touchscreen w/ 2 USB ports, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto

10-piece BOSE sound system

Safety and Security

Six airbags

Anti-lock braking with electronic brake-force distribution

ISOFIX

360-degree view camera

Lane departure warning

Lane-keep assist

Blind-spot monitoring

Stability control

Front and rear parking sensors

Jacob Oliva

Jacob Oliva

Author

Jacob is a motoring journalist and the Content Manager of Philkotse.com. A recipient of the Henry Ford Awards in 2019, he currently has a column under Wheels, the motoring section of The Philippine Star. He's also an editor for Motor1.com, a leading global automotive website.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jacobosing/

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