2021 Mazda CX-8 Sport (car review)

TEAM sports are generally comprised of players in specialised positions to help make the squad well rounded and complete. Car manufacturers are no different, but the 2021 Mazda CX-8 blurs the lines a little.

It’s able to occupy a few team spots, but fullback isn’t one of them. Tested here in its front-wheel drive Sport trim, it’s a fine example of what you get when a manufacturer really wants to target every possible demographic they can.

Essentially, you’re buying a CX-8 because either, the CX-5 is too small for you, or the CX-9 is too big for you. Quite why there’s no CX-6 or why the CX-7 nameplate hasn’t been revived is a question for the Japanese car maker, and not one we’re answering here.

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It will come as no surprise then that in almost every measurable way, you will find the CX-8 placed somewhere in the middle of the equivalent spec CX-5 and CX-9. This generally expands to the features list as well.

That said, the CX-8 receives extra fruit over the CX-5, but not quite as much as the CX-9. To make this happen takes quite a lot of foresight and planning and Mazda have nailed it in that respect.

The CX-8 Sport comes standard with a naturally aspirated 2.5-litre petrol engine producing 140kW and 252Nm, which is the same 2.5-litre engine found in the ever-popular CX-5.

Returning a combined fuel consumption of 8.1-litres/100km, your trips to the pump won’t be as frequent thanks to a 72-litre fuel tank. Having a CX-5 with this engine in our own garage, also demonstrated just how much you notice the extra weight of the bigger model.

That’s probably the reason Mazda decided to opt for the 2.5-litre turbocharged unit for the heavier again, CX-9. Driving the CX-5 and the CX-8 back-to-back is quite interesting and very familiar.

The latter just feels like a slightly taller and heavier CX-5, because it is. Blindfold someone and sit them in the CX-8 and they will have a hard time distinguishing the two apart. Even with their eyes open, the cabins are remarkably similar, which is not a bad thing.

Classy and modern without being needlessly so, the interior of the CX-8 is welcoming, intuitive to navigate and not offensive in any way.

Featuring three-zone climate control to accommodate it’s up to seven occupants, huge 775-litre storage capacity with the rear seats folded down and hard-wearing cloth seats, your passengers will feel relaxed and comfortable no matter how long the journey.

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard and well-presented thanks to an 8.0-inch colour touchscreen housing Bluetooth audio, satellite navigation and DAB+ digital radio. The sound quality of the 6-speaker stereo system is perfectly adequate too.

Also of note is the colour active driving display projected onto the windscreen and advanced keyless push-button engine start, which also incorporates keyless entry.

Add in an extensive list of acronyms belonging to an equally long tally of safety systems, and the 2021 Mazda CX-8 Sport quickly establishes itself as being very proficient in protecting you and your family.

When you consider the Mazda CX-8 Sport FWD is priced from $44,254 drive away, you quickly realise how much value you are getting at this price, especially for what is an entry point model in the range.

Refined and finished in areas that belie its price tag, and others which laugh in its face, it competes with the Hyundai Santa Fe, Kia Sorento and Toyota Kluger. And what stands the Mazda out from those rivals is its lack of obvious flaws.

The 2021 Mazda CX-8 Sport is such a comfortable and composed drive no matter the conditions too. Supremely capable for whatever you and your family can throw at it, you’ll be hard pressed to be disappointed with it in your driveway.

Factor in that Mazda also offers a 5-year unlimited kilometre warranty and 5years roadside assistance as well as a structured, fixed price servicing schedule, and you really can’t go wrong with this car.

You can build and price your own 2021 Mazda CX-8 Sport on the Mazda Australia website.

Our test vehicle was provided by Mazda Australia. To find out more about the 2021 Mazda CX-8 Sport, contact your local Mazda dealer.


Driving experience
Exterior styling
Interior look and feel
Technology and connectivity
Family friendliness
Value for money


Pros - supreme value for money; refinement; style.
Cons - hard to differentiate visually; may not have enough theatrics for some.
Josh Muggleton
Josh Muggleton
Josh Muggleton has a love of cars that began at a young age and has been a part of his life ever since. So much so that his passion for all things automotive turned into a life as a racing car driver and driving instructor.


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<strong>Pros -</strong> supreme value for money; refinement; style.<br> <strong>Cons -</strong> hard to differentiate visually; may not have enough theatrics for some.2021 Mazda CX-8 Sport (car review)