The Right Stuff
Right off the bat, it’s apparent that the Mazda CX-8 4×2 Signature evokes more than the usual statement. It’s not your usual crossover, but more of a sophisticated kind that sets it apart from the pack.
As with all medium-sized crossovers, the Mazda CX-8 4×2 Signature also has a 7-seat layout, but that ‘s where similarities end. The overall design boasts of generous passenger space, renowned safety and sheer elegance.
Skyactiv Technology and Kodo Design
Setting it apart from its competitors is Mazda’s Kodo: Soul of Motion design. The CX-8 possesses sylphlike lines, flowing from end to end. The hood curves gradually to the base of the windshield, which in turn, flows to the roof and the D-pillar. The accent is the rear overhang that also acts as a rear spoiler.
It has a higher than usual beltline, which accents the two mid line and fender curves. It is by far, a big departure from its contemporaries.
Sharp edges punctuate the curves; the rear is dynamic with its horizontally elongated taillights, the hatch protrudes to give more cargo space. The front features the trademark gaping grille, with slimmer headlights that some say resembles a smiling face. And why not, the CX-8 brings joy to its passengers.; a visual mix that’s a feast for the eyes.
Mazda designed the interior with passenger feel as its priority. Aside from the abundant space, comfort was also very much considered. The elegant Deep Red Nappa leather seats add a subdued contrast against the black hue of the dash. The firm feel of the seats gives a stress free ride. Triple-zone climate control, with second row controls give the passengers a cool ride experience.
The dash is driver-centric, with most controls within arms reach of the driver. The lines of the dashboard is unobstructed, with only the twin pentagon shaped AC vents providing the contrast.
The 8.0-inch infotainment is small compared to its competition, not an eye candy but what it lacks in size and graphics is compensated with a 10-speaker Bose sound system. All CX-8 variants come with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Most importantly, the sound quality is simply impeccable.
The CX-8 comes with Mazda’s I-Activ Sense suite of safety features as standard: 360º View monitor, Adaptive radar cruise control, Smart Brake Support, rear cross-traffic alert, driver attention alert, lane departure warning with lane keep assist, and blind-spot monitors. ABS, stability control, and front/rear parking sensors. Safety is paramount with Mazda.
Providing the oomph is the famed SkyActiv-G 2.5L naturally aspirated 4-cylinder gasoline motor that yields 187 hp and 252 Nm of torque. The only transmission available is the 6-speed automatic transmission. Power goes to the font wheels for the CX-8 signature series. However, the high-end model has the AWD system.
The CX-8 Signature series is oozing with elegance – a crossover with pedigree if you will. But all that pizzazz is nothing without performance, and that is where the surprise is. The CX-8 is no slouch on the highway; throttle response is quick despite the drive-by wire control. It’s also fuel efficient, with the most economical figure at 80kph which gave a surprising 5L/100 km or roughly 20km/L. Speeding to 100kph speed limit is achieved in no time, with nary a sound heard inside.
City driving is a bit different though. Acceleration is a tad slow compared to other makes. Since the CX-8 is meant to be comfortable, subdued power is logical; after all, you don’t want to be pinned in your seat during power acceleration. Cool is the name of the game. Shifting is also seamless; you don’t notice the changes of gears.
The front MacPherson Struts and the multi-link rear suspension with the monocoque chassis, work together to ensure smooth ride on all kinds of tarmac. The bigger than usual 225/55/19 Toyo Proxes tires provide more traction and stability for the big crossover. They look good too.
Mazda CX-8 Signature 4×2 AT
Price as Tested PHP2,290,000
- Engine: SkyActiv-G 2.5L naturally aspirated 4-cylinder Gas
- Power: 187hp @ 6,000rpm
- Torque: 252 Nm of torque @ 4,000 rpm
- Kerb Weight: 1,833kg
- Economy: Highway: 5L/100km City: 7.5L/100km
- Rivals: Honda CRV, Geely Azkarra, Kia Sportage