FIRST DRIVE: 2019 Mazda CX-8 2.5L Mid Plus

Brands Mazda News Review

The folks from Bermaz Motor just unveiled their latest 2019 Mazda CX-8 range for the Malaysian market. Introduced as a CKD model (assembled at the Inokom Plant in Kulim, Kedah), we were given the opportunity to test it out on the open road. There are four different variants that’s ready for booking and we got to test the 2019 Mazda CX-8 2.5L Mid Plus (two steps down the range-topping 2.2-litre TurboDiesel).

This particular model is one up from the base Mazda CX-8 2WD MID and it comes with several key features that we think a lot of Malaysians will appreciate. In terms of looks, there are not that many differences apart from the addition of LED daytime running lights which is available across the range except for the base model. Regardless, Mazda did an excellent job with their KODO design language which translates to ‘Soul of Motion’.

Inside is where the biggest difference can be seen as the model that we tested is fitted with captain seats for the second row, making it a very comfortable six-seater crossover SUV as compared to the base CX-8 as it comes with a bench type second row seat that can sit a total of seven occupants all together.

The interior setup is pretty much the same as the rest of Mazda’s CX line-up, particularly the new Mazda CX-5 five-seater SUV. Come to think of it, you would think that you were driving a full-sized seater if you don’t have a look at the back. Driving it around pretty much feels like a normal but good SUV from Mazda.

Mazda went through a lot of effort to ensure that the comfort levels of the driver and the rest of the occupants are as optimum as possible. From designing seats that naturally supports your body to reducing the NVH (Noise, Vibration & Harshness) levels down to a minimum, we can definitely feel the effects of their hard work.

The result is car that is so spacious and comfortable, it doesn’t matter where you sit in the car. Even the third-row seats are able to accommodate full-sized adults up to 170cm (which is coincidentally, my height). Sitting in the last row seats felt pretty good (which most of us tend to agree is the most uncomfortable position in any seven-seater).

There’s not a lot of room for you to stretch or lean but at least Mazda put in the effort to at least make sure that your sitting position is as natural as possible. The captain seats available in the second row were a lot more spacious and they are similar to the ones fitted in the first row of the CX-8 (except for the driver where the seat is comes with power adjustment & memory function).

Mazda also enhanced the cabin comfort by incorporating a better exterior design at its rear to deflect wind noise and also include sound and vibration-damping materials within the chassis. With the Mazda CX-8, I actually wouldn’t mind sitting at the very back, even for long distance travels.

BHPetrol

In terms of power, the 2.5-litre SkyActiv-G produces 192hp at 6,000rpm and 258Nm at 4,000rpm. Taking off from the traffic light felt light, even though the car weighs almost 1,800kg (1,781kg curb, to be exact). Power delivery is smooth and getting it up to highway speeds was a piece of cake. If you want more driving dynamics (which the CX-8 has in abundance thanks to the addition of the SkyActiv Body, Drive, and Chassis), just switch the driving mode to ‘Sport’ and off it goes with a more aggressive rev range.

Mazda also developed their G-Vectoring Control Plus (GVC Plus) for the CX-8 which also helps in the car’s overall handling, controllability, and overall comfort. What you get is a seven-seater SUV that can absorb bumps exceptionally well, offers little to no body roll even when you throw it into the corner, and offers surprising comfort for all occupants.

As for safety, the MID Plus model we tested contains safety features like six SRS airbags, ABS, EBD, Brake Assist, Dynamic Stability Control, Traction Control System, Emergency Stop Signal, Hill Launch Assist, and ISOFIX anchors as standard. As of the i-ACTIVSENSE Advance Safety Technologies, this variant comes with Adaptive Front-Lighting System, Blind Spot Monitoring, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, and Smart City Brake Support (front only).

That’s actually more than enough for your daily driving needs but if you want more, you can opt for the top two variants, which comes with Adaptive LED Headlights, Lane Departure Warning System, Lane Keep Assist System, and Driver Attention Alert as extras.

In all honesty, the 2019 Mazda CX-8 is indeed a very comfortable seven-seater crossover SUV (or six-seater, depending on variant) and those who are constantly travelling with family or friends can probably appreciate what this beauty has to offer. From good looks to great comfort, the new CX-8 has great potential and will definitely leave a lasting mark if Bermaz Motor prices it right (and they did say that the price range will be ‘competitive’).

Stay tuned to Piston.My is the next couple of weeks when they announce the official prices for the 2019 Mazda CX-8. For now, bookings can be made at all Mazda authorised showrooms across the country.

PISTON.MY

2019 Mazda CX-8 now available for booking

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