“It’s a great combination of luxury and functionality without going nuts on a Euro SUV”.
Mazda CX-8 Asaki LE
Bowen's Report Card
2021 Mazda Asaki LE Diesel AWD Review – The Six Seat SUV
- Fuel economy
- Should have a 7-year warranty
- Purpose of 6 seats?
There is one thing about Mazda that is irrefutable; its vehicles are universally stylish both inside and out. The Mazda CX-8 Asaki LE is a perfect example, the diesel exclusive model is not as big as a CX-9 but certainly sits above the CX-5. Uniquely it also has six seats, in a 2:2:2 configuration. I recently spent time in the chart-topping CX-8.
Mazda have a knack for producing handling traits not too dissimilar to BMW. The CX-8 is lower, narrower, and shorter than a CX-9 Azami LE. However, the wheelbase is the same (2,930mm).
With the on-demand AWD system the CX-8 does an admirable job of staying planted. It’s no lightweight, being just shy of two-tonne, before humans and luggage are added. The 19-inch alloy rims are wrapped in medium profile tyres, so you won’t suffer too much from silly, bone jarring skinny rubber.
A good diesel is a concealed one in terms of clatter; that’s the case with the CX-8, although it does need some warming up. The other bonus is good torque, meaning you can scoot up to speed from a set of lights rather briskly. The turbo does lag a little initially, until 2500rpm is dialled up on the instrument cluster.
The six-speed transmission is rather rare these days, with seven to ten cogs available in the market.
Overall, it’s an easily manoeuvrable SUV that feels sleek rather than bloated.
There’s one engine and transmission to choose from. A four-cylinder, 2.2-litre, turbocharged diesel. It’s hitched to a six-speed automatic and all-wheel drive (AWD). Power reaches 140kW at 4,500rpm and a big dose of torque at 450Nm arrives at 2,500rpm.
The Asaki LE is only available with AWD. Just behind it sits the standard Asaki that can have drive sent to the front-wheels (FWD)
Other than that, there’s mechanically very little difference between the top two models.
The big difference is the so-called “Captain’s seats” configuration for the second row. This means there are just two seats in the second row. I’m not entirely sold on the concept, although it does provide a significant buffer to prevent the kids or even some adults from attacking each other. In fact, it’s almost at social distancing levels.
In between is a console containing a storage area, a couple of cup holders, and independent controls to heat or cool the seats. There’s also access above the rear-vents to set the air-conditioning levels. A couple of USB charging points come in handy, while in the back are two more seats. I reckon they will be like your grandparents’ finest chinaware, never used.
I should note that the quilted Nappa leather seat upholstery is very lush. The colour is called “Chroma Brown”, I like it.
Value For Money
The as tested Asaki LE Diesel AWD is priced from $69,920, before on-roads. The range starts at $33,990 for the Sport Petrol FWD model. The standard Asaki Diesel AWD begins at $66,790, while the FWD model is $62,790.
The claimed fuel economy is 6.0L/100km, the Bowen’s Garage figure was 6.8L/100km. With a 74L tank, trips between the bowser should be quite lengthy.
The CX-8 range is backed by a five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty and five years roadside assistance.
What I Love
It’s a great combination of luxury and functionality without going nuts on a Euro SUV.
Bowen’s Report Card
The Mazda CX-8 Asaki LE looks great, with a new take on the so-called “Kodo” design philosophy. The only thing I will say is that it’s starting to date inside a little. If you’re after flash digital instrument clusters and space aged centre consoles look away. However, it fits the bill for a premium, efficient luxury SUV. It’s an 82 out of 100 from me!