Mazda’s CX-9 will be joined by a 7-seat CX-8 later in the year.
It shares the same wheelbase as the CX-9, but is 175mm shorter which will probably be confined to the boot.
Apart from three rows of seats, the big drawcard will be a diesel engine – the same 2.2-litre Skyactiv unit that can be found in the smaller CX-5.
In that model, mated to a 6-speed auto, it produces 129kW and 420Nm of class leading torque, with fuel consumption of 6.0L/100km.
CX-8 could give Mazda a much larger slice of the large SUV pie in a segment dominated by Toyota with its petrol Kluger and diesel Prado and Fortuner – which together command almost 30 per cent of sales.
Diesel is where it’s at in this segment and has been for a long long time, despite what anyone with a petrol engined SUV might tell you.
Mazda says CX-8 will arrive in the second half of the year and claims it will not compromise cabin comfort, drive or power – despite its smaller dimensions.
Sitting between Mazda’s CX-5 and CX-9, it is narrower and shorter but will feature the latest in safety equipment as standard, from entry right through to top grade.
The 2.2L Skyactiv-D engine will deliver smooth, strong performance and excellent fuel economy.
Mazda Australia boss, Vinesh Bhindi, said CX-8 will meet Australia’s demand for seven-seat diesel SUVs.
“More and more, Australians are opting for larger SUVs to suit the demands of their busy lives; the brand-new Mazda CX-8 diesel is the perfect fit for those who need the versatility of seven seats and the economy that diesel affords,” he said.