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2023 Mazda CX-80: Engines, timing, platform and everything else we know about the new Toyota Kluger and Hyundai Palisade rival

The new Mazda CX-80 will be a more upmarket, seven-seat SUV. (Image credit: Thanos Pappas)

Mazda is on the verge of an SUV revolution, with not one but four all-new models coming in the near-future.

While not all will make it to Australia - Mazda has already said the CX-50 is for the US market only - the CX-80 looks likely to head our way to give the brand a new rival to the Toyota Kluger, Hyundai Palisade and possibly even the Land Rover Discovery.

And although Mazda is yet to fully reveal the new CX-80, we already know it will share its underpinnings, and possibly engines, with the CX-60. So here is everything we know about the 2023 Mazda CX-80.

Premium push

Why the diverse group of potential rivals? That’s because the CX-80 is part of Mazda’s global push upmarket, with an all-new rear-wheel-drive biased platform that will underpin not just the CX-80 but a range of new models.

The so-called ‘Large Product Group’ will all share the same basic platform and powertrains as part of a shift from Mazda to follow the ‘semi-premium’ sales model that has been successful in Australia. The CX-50, CX-60, CX-70, CX-80 and CX-90, as well as an all-new Mazda6, are all set to be part of this ‘Large Product Group’.

The CX-60 has been confirmed for Australia but the CX-70, CX-80 and CX-90 are all still officially ‘under consideration’ for local sale. However, given the popularity of both Mazdas and SUVs in this market, the CX-80 seems a strong chance.

It’s important to note that while the CX-80 will be a three-row large SUV, it will not be a direct replacement for either the CX-8 or CX-9. In fact, it’s very possible all three will be sold alongside each other for the foreseeable future.

The CX-80 and CX-90 will, however, continue to be differentiated in the same way as the CX-8 and CX-9, with the ‘80’ targeted at European and Japanese markets, while the ‘90’ will be US-focused and will have a wider body.

While similar in size, the main point of difference will be the positioning and design of the new ‘Large Product Group’ SUVs. These will be targeted at a more premium buyer which could help Mazda steal sales from the likes of Land Rover, BMW and Lexus.

Hybrid boost

To power this new premium fleet of SUVs Mazda has developed a new range of inline six-cylinder engines. While downsizing has been the priority in the car industry for much of the past decade, Mazda clearly believes that a bigger engine can ultimately be more efficient.

The key appears to be the brand’s revolutionary Skyactiv-X technology, a petrol sparkless ignition engine that the company has been working on for years, plus the use of a 48-volt mild-hybrid system.

Based on the engine choices in the CX-60, it’s reasonable to expect the CX-80 will be powered by a 3.0-litre Skyactiv-X petrol inline-six or the 3.3-litre Skyactiv-D inline-six turbo-diesel.

The latter has been revealed to produce as much as 187kW/550Nm when paired with a 48-volt mild-hybrid system, otherwise outputs are still a sizeable 170kW/500Nm.

In another department from modern trends, both engines will be mounted longitudinally (running front-to-back in the car, rather than side-to-side) and paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission.

Interestingly, the CX-60 is expected to be available with a rear-wheel drive option, but it’s unclear if the larger CX-80 will get the same choice.

Worth the wait

Timing of the CX-80’s arrival is unclear at this stage, with Mazda focused on launching the CX-50 in the US and the CX-60 in the rest of the world. That means the CX-80 may not be unveiled until later this year, or more likely sometime in early 2023.

The good news is it typically doesn’t take long from an international reveal for Mazda Australia to get its hands on the latest model. So, while it may not be public yet it’s possible the CX-80 could be in local showrooms before the end of 2023.

Given the CX-50 is the only model Mazda Australia has definitively ruled out, Mazda could soon have a 10-strong line-up of SUVs - MX-30, CX-3, CX-30, CX-5, CX-60, CX-70, CX-8, CX-80, CX-9 and CX-90.