As automakers continue to abandon slow-selling sedans and fill holes in their SUV lineups, Mazda announced a mid-size SUV will go on sale in Japan later this year. Will the new CX-8 come to the U.S.? Mazda won't confirm, but the new model would fill an empty stall in the automaker's SUV stable between the compact CX-5 and larger CX-9.
The CX-8 is based on the CX-5 and wears similar exterior styling, including the model's sculpted body sides, flared wheel arches and large family grille. Where the CX-5 seats five passengers in two rows, however, the CX-8 is stretched to accommodate three rows. Mazda says it will have six or seven seats, depending on configuration. Smaller SUVs with available three rows are currently on trend; the compact Nissan Rogue offers a third row, as does the redesigned-for-2018 Volkswagen Tiguan.
Few other details were released, but Mazda announced what's under the CX-8's hood. In Japan, the sole powertrain at launch will be a 2.2-liter turbo-diesel four-cylinder paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. It's the same diesel Mazda plans to launch in the CX-5 later this year, though we have yet to test it.