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Last chance for an affordable seven-seat family SUV? Discontinued 2024 Mazda CX-8 will sell out soon as models like Hyundai Santa Fe, Toyota Kluger Hybrid, Kia Sorento move upmarket

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Mazda CX-8.
Mazda CX-8.

One of the most affordable and popular seven-seat family SUVs available in Australia is about to be pulled from the market.

The Mazda CX-8 is in runout after being discontinued and according to Mazda Australia, it will likely sell out completely by October this year.

Given Mazda has taken a step up into premium territory with its next-generation SUV models, this could be your last chance to get into an affordable Mazda seven-seat SUV.

The CX-8 is offered in petrol and diesel guise across four model grades and pricing ranges from $42,810 before on-road costs for the FWD Sport petrol and tops out at $72,160 for the AWD diesel Asaki LE.

That leaves only a handful of affordable seven-seat large SUVs - that are not based on utes - available to buyers.

The Kia Sorento and Hyundai Santa Fe have both increased in price recently, and the Toyota Kluger is now hybrid-only, which has increased the cost of entry.

The only mainstream seven-seat offerings to compete with CX-8 on price in the car-based large SUV segment are the Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace from $48,990 drive-away, or the Chinese-built Chery Tiggo 8 Pro Max from $41,990 drive-away.

Mazda CX-8
Mazda CX-8

Seven-seat versions of slightly smaller medium SUVs like the Nissan X-Trail (from $40,290 before on-road costs), Mitsubishi Outlander (from $39,540 BOC) and Honda CR-V (from $46,800 drive-away).

Mazda announced late last year that it would drop the CX-8 - and the unloved MX-30 crossover - from sale to make way for its new large SUV models.

Mazda will soon have four SUV models riding on the same ‘Large Product Group’ platform. The CX-70 and CX-80 will join the CX-60 and CX-90 before the end of the year.

Mazda had already discontinued the CX-9 seven-seat SUV and judging by its current sales numbers - Mazda sold 18 CX-9s last month - stock is very close to running out.

Mazda CX-9
Mazda CX-9

The Japanese carmaker launched the CX-8 in 2018, filling a gap between Mazda’s top-selling model, the CX-5 medium SUV, and the CX-9.

The CX-8 is the same width as the CX-5 but closer to the CX-9 when it comes to length and height.

When it launched, the CX-8 was a diesel-only proposition, which was contrasted with the CX-9 that was only available in petrol guise.

Then in 2020, Mazda added petrol power to the CX-8 range, further enhancing its appeal. But while the CX-9 used Mazda’s excellent 170kW/420Nm 2.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine, the petrol unit in the CX-8 was the same naturally aspirated 2.5-litre 140kW/252Nm petrol unit found in the Mazda3 and 6.

In the end, the petrol versus diesel split wasn’t even close - petrol grades made up 88 per cent of CX-8 sales.

At close to 5.0m long the three-row CX-80 is appreciably longer than its two-row CX-60 sibling.
At close to 5.0m long the three-row CX-80 is appreciably longer than its two-row CX-60 sibling.

In terms of the model grades, the entry-level and mid-grade Sport and Touring made up around 36 per cent of CX-8 sales apiece, while the GT SP (17%) and flagship Akari (11%) made up the rest of the volume.

To the end of May this year, Mazda has sold approximately 27,000 examples of the CX-8 since its 2018 launch. Its best sales year was 2021 when Mazda sold 6119 units.

So far this year it has found 2067 homes, which is a slight 0.3 per cent increase on the same period last year.

In contrast, Mazda’s newer, more premium models haven’t sold in the same volumes as the trusted CX-8 and CX-9.

Mazda CX-8
Mazda CX-8

To the end of May, the CX-60 has shifted 1278 units and the larger and pricier CX-90 has sold 361.

With the CX-70 and 80 landing in the coming months, it’s not yet clear if they will help make up the volume lost by the CX-8 and 9, or if Mazda Australia is willing to take a hit on sales as a result of moving upmarket.

Despite the expanding range of fancier large SUV models, Mazda has committed to replacing the ageing CX-5 with an affordable medium-sized SUV to continue to compete with the Toyota RAV4, Subaru Forester and Kia Sportage.

There is a chance the name could change to CX-50 to replicate the newer model names, but that’s yet to be confirmed.

Tim Nicholson
Managing Editor
Calling out the make and model of every single car he saw as a toddler might have challenged his parents’ patience, but it was clearly a starting point for Tim Nicholson’s journey into automotive journalism. Tim launched the program, Fender Bender, on community radio station JOY 94.9 during completion of his Master of Arts (Media and Communications). This led to an entry role at industry publication GoAuto, before eventually taking the role of Managing Editor. A stint as RACV’s Motoring Editor – including being an Australia’s Best Cars judge – provided a different perspective to automotive media, before leading him to CarsGuide where he started as a Contributing Journalist in September 2021, and transitioned to Senior Editor in April 2022, before becoming Managing Editor in December 2022.
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