Remember Mr McGreg from The Simpsons who copped the brunt of Dr Nick Riviera? "With a leg for an arm and an arm for a leg."

You might perceive the new Mazda CX-8 as a similar jumble of existing Mazda SUV building blocks, but you're wrong. Very wrong.

It may have the long wheelbase and seven-seat layout of a CX-9 but the narrower width of a CX-5, and the headlights from the latter and tail-lights from the former, but it's all for good reasons, and plonks the new model right between the two in Mazda's very appealing SUV line-up.

This is indeed a foot in both the mid-size and large SUV camps, but also gives Mazda an answer to the emerging range of seven-seat mid-sizers like the CR-V, Kodiaq, 5008, X-Trail, Outlander, and upcoming Tiguan Allspace.

Its journey to Australia has not been an easy one, being classified as a Japan-only model when it was revealed late last year and arriving with a relatively limited model line-up and no petrol drivetrain option.

With the coat-tails of CX-5's five-year run as Australia's favourite SUV to ride on, combined with the CX-9's credentials forming the other half of its gene pool, there's a very good chance a lot of Australians will be glad it made the trip.

We were among the first to drive the CX-8 at its Australian launch this week.