2023 Mazda CX-8 facelift revealed ahead of Australian launch


  • 2023 Mazda CX-8 revealed
  • Updated large SUV receives a new look and tech improvements
  • Confirmed for March launch in Australia

The facelifted 2023 Mazda CX-8 has debuted ahead of its Australian launch in March.

Revealed in Japan overnight, the updated large SUV receives a new look taken from its smaller CX-5 twin, with a revised front fascia and headlights.

While the shape is identical to the CX-5 – which shares its front half with the stretched CX-8 – Mazda has emulated the CX-60’s ‘block mesh’ pattern grille, while the front bumper has a cleaner look with the removal of the fog lamps.

Top-spec models with adaptive LED headlights now have 20 lighting elements, up from 12.

At the rear, the L-shaped tail-lights are similar to the latest CX-5, while the rear bumper also has a cleaner look. The chrome bar running across the tailgate remains, but it no longer flows into the lights.

Two new variants will be offered in Japan: Grand Journey and Sports Appearance. The former model has silver bash plates and black mirror caps to emphasise its off-road potential, while the latter features a gloss black grille, mirrors, wheels and body cladding.

The range-topping Exclusive Mode – representative of our Asaki variant – receives body-coloured wheel arches and lower body cladding.

Mazda has improved the CX-8’s noise, vibration and harshness for greater comfort inside the cabin, while the suspension has been tweaked to improve body control on rough roads.

While interior changes are less substantial, Mazda Australia has confirmed the 10.25-inch widescreen infotainment system will become standard across the range. It is currently limited to top-spec GT, Asaki and Asaki LE variants, with the Sport, Touring and Touring SP featuring the brand’s ageing 8-inch setup.

As with the 2023 CX-5 also set to launch early next year, the updated CX-8 gains wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, two USB-C ports in the centre console, and the rhodium white body colour which replaces the no-cost snowflake white for $795.

Other additions include Mazda’s new drive mode selector – Mi Drive – with normal, sport and off-road modes for all-wheel drive variants, a standard 7-inch semi-digital instrument cluster, and a feature allowing drivers to open the windows from the key fob – but not close it remotely.

In addition, traffic jam assist – known as Cruising and Traffic Support in Mazda speak – has been added to the range. It will likely feature on GT, Asaki and Asaki LE variants in Australia.

In Australia, the three-row CX-8 is available with a 140kW/252Nm naturally-aspirated 2.5-litre petrol sending power to the front wheels, or a 140kW/450Nm 2.2-litre turbo-diesel with all-wheel drive.

While the 2.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine from the CX-5 and CX-9 remains off-limits for Australia, it has received tweaked accelerator pedal mapping and revised transmission shift timing in Japan.

“With this latest update, Mazda CX-8 has taken the game to another level, with both styling and technology that will ensure it’s a hit with Aussie buyers for years to come,” said Mazda Australia managing director, Vinesh Bhindi.

First launched in 2017, the CX-8 was initially a Japanese-market exclusive, as a stretched CX-5 on the same 2930-millimetre wheelbase as the larger CX-9 sold in Australia and North America.

However, demand for a Kia Sorento and Hyundai Santa Fe competitor led to its local launch in 2018 as a diesel-only model. The naturally-aspirated petrol joined the range in early 2020, while a six-seat model with second-row captain’s chairs was added last year.

The 2023 Mazda CX-8 will arrive in Australian showrooms in March, with full details – including pricing – expected in the coming months.

Below: the pre-facelift 2022 Mazda CX-8 (in Touring SP guise)


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