Due to practical reasons, SUVs and crossovers are becoming increasingly popular today. Households that once crammed into smaller sedans and hatchbacks often find themselves in need of bigger vehicles as they grow. But what if you could own a vehicle that could do it all?
Buyers usually find this out once they’ve upgraded from a sedan to a crossover: Though their ability to carry bags and groceries has improved, they’re still limited to the same number of seats. Spring for one of those new small MPVs or a diesel SUV, on the other hand, and you’ll find that the third row isn’t very useful once the children who sit there grow teenage-sized legs. Rides that do have commodious rear legroom are often expensive or unwieldy to drive. Often both.
To address this problem, Mazda combined the agile CX-5 and the luxurious midsize CX-9 to create the CX-8. Incorporating the length and luxury of the CX-9 into the dynamically brilliant CX-5 platform gives an SUV that carefully balances space and driving dynamics. Re-engineered rear doors and a new second-row folding and sliding mechanism make for easy entry into the third row, where you’ll find more legroom than in most diesel SUVs and even some larger midsize crossovers. That new sliding mechanism and re-contoured seats give the CX-8 more flexibility, allowing adults to fit in the third row even with the second row slid all the way back.
Once seated, passengers find themselves in what is perhaps the most luxurious cabin in the class, with materials and design a cut above the common car, with increased sound insulation resulting in a hushed, vault-like interior—all the better to enjoy the new 10-speaker Bose sound system with. Sit back in fine leather seats, with interiors accented by brushed steel and woodgrain trim as quick-and-painless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration allow for plug-and-play music, telecommunications, and navigation on the built-in 8” infotainment screen.
This being a Mazda, however, the driving experience is still first and foremost. The 2.5-liter SkyActiv mill under the hood delivers 187hp, channeled to the ground through a smooth and silky six-speed automatic transmission. A re-tuned shifting algorithm makes it more responsive, to cope with the CX-8’s extra weight over the CX-5. As such, the driving experience remains nearly undiluted, and the handling is surprisingly agile despite the CX-8’s extra-long 2,980mm wheelbase.
While engaging to drive, the CX-8 also brings class-leading safety to a segment that’s largely devoid of active safety technology. The proprietary i-Activsense system includes radar-assisted cruise control, active lane-keeping assist, and smart brake support (for when you’re suddenly cut off in traffic by other motorists). Blind-spot monitoring with rear-cross traffic alert also comes in handy, especially in areas with a lot of motorcyles and pedestrians weaving through.
Though buyers looking for seven-seaters often find themselves gravitating towards familiar ladder-frame competitors, the CX-8’s impressive blend of generous cabin space, luxury, safety, and technology should put it at the top of your test drive shortlist. And scheduling that test drive is as easy as going to www.mazda.ph, where you can learn more about the CX-8 and other exciting new products in the Mazda stables.