The forthcoming three-row seat Mazda CX-8 will be assembled locally at Mazda Malaysia’s plant in Kulim, Kedah by mid-2019, according to information gathered from an investors’ newsletter published by RHB Research.
Further checks with Bermaz Auto have confirmed that the CX-8 will follow the same introduction plan as the all-new CX-5, in that there will be no fully-imported CBU (completely built up) models, and the CX-8 will be launched in Malaysia as a CKD (completely knocked down) model.
Exports to Philippines, where Bermaz’s subsidiary Bermaz Auto Philippines is also the distributor, have yet to be confirmed but is highly likely.
Details on the CX-8’s powertrain and seating configuration for the Malaysia-bound CX-8 is still unclear. In Japan, the CX-8 can be ordered either as a six- or a seven-seater, powered exclusively by a 2.2-litre SkyActiv-D diesel engine paired to a six-speed automatic transmission.
Measuring 4,900 mm long, the CX-8 is just 175 mm shorter than the CX-9. It’s also 129 narrower and 17 mm lower than the CX-9. Despite being smaller, it is the CX-8 that has more headroom, but of course, legroom is slightly tighter than the longer CX-9.
The odd positioning between the two models is because the CX-8 was originally meant to be Mazda’s flagship for its domestic market in Japan, where the CX-9 is not available. The CX-9 is primarily aimed at buyers in North America.
However, Carlist.my understands that there is a strong interest for the CX-8 in Australia, and Mazda Australia have made a successful business case of pitching the CX-8 as a cheaper alternative to the CX-9. Following this, several regional markets including Malaysia and Philippines have expressed a similar interest in the CX-8.
Currently, there is a huge price gap between the CX-5 and CX-9. The most expensive CX-5 variant, the 2.2-litre AWD GLS turbo diesel, tops out at RM174,779 excluding insurance while the cheapest CX-9 starts at RM289,571 excluding insurance (2WD, 2.5-litre turbocharged petrol). We expect the forthcoming CX-8 to be priced somewhere in the low to mid RM200,000 range.