The Mazda CX-9 is the Japanese automaker’s flagship crossover. Despite its large dimension, the model is no exemption from having that ‘Jinba Ittai’ DNA, a Japanese four-character compound describing the unity of horse and rider. Plus, it also gets the KODO-inspired looks to impress.
Given the growing demand for 7-seaters, Mazda Philippines has brought in the CX-8 in 2019 which sits below the flagship crossover. It’s like a stretched-up CX-5 given the close resemblance between the two models. It even gets the looks, the premium interior touches, and the engaging driving dynamics, all of which can be yours at a more affordable price. That said, is the Mazda CX-8 a good alternative to a Mazda CX-9? Let’s find out together, shall we?
Both midsize crossovers are absolute stunners, as the CX-9 and CX-8 feature Mazda’s ‘KODO: Soul of Motion’ design language. The two models have a curvaceous look that’s well-accentuated by its character lines, there’s even a good amount of chrome accents that add a bit of sophistication to its exterior.
LED lighting is standard across both of its ranges, however, the entry-level CX-9 Sport Touring FWD only comes with bulb-type daytime running lights. As for alloy wheels, both CX-8 trims come with a set of 19-inch rims while the CX-9 could either come with smaller 17-inch wheels or a set of 20-inch rims that happens to be exclusive on its range-topping variant.
We honestly cannot decide which among the two looks better, as both midsize crossovers do look appealing and desirable in their very own way.
Interior and technology
Like the exterior, both models also come with premium-appointed cabins that are executed with high-quality materials. What makes the CX-9 a step further than the CX-8 is its two-tone interior with auburn contrasting details applied on the dash and Nappa leather seats. The lower variant, however, only comes with an all-black interior that still looks classy as ever. Whichever variant you get, the Mazda CX-8 comes with a black and brown interior that’s also pleasing to touch and easy on the eyes. Overall, the CX-9 does appear to be plusher than the CX-8 which does well justify its higher price tag.
The Mazda Connect infotainment system can also be found on both vehicles, and it comes ready with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. A Bose sound system is also standard on the CX-8, while on the CX-9, the upgraded speakers are only exclusive on the range-topping variant. Other convenience features include a push-start button with smart-keyless entry, steering wheel audio controls, automatic climate control, and many more.
Seating capacity and cargo
Aside from its bench-type seats found on the Signature trim, the Mazda CX-8 can also be had with second-row captain seats, giving your passengers that business class riding experience. If you want this feature, you’re going to have to step up onto the range-topping CX-8 AWD Exclusive.
The Mazda CX-9, however, can only be had with bench-type seats for the second row. Though it is worth noting that in other countries such as the United States, the midsize SUV is being offered with optional captain seats. We’re crossing our fingers and hoping that Mazda Philippines will also include this option once the refreshed CX-9 makes its way to our country.
As for the third row, the CX-9’s happen to be more suitable for adults. The ones on the CX-8 are fairly usable as well, it should be fine when going on short trips, however, it’s better suited for small passengers.
The Mazda CX-9 is obviously larger than the CX-8, that said, folding all its seats will give you 2,016-liters of space. The CX-8 might fall a bit short, but it still has a generous cargo area that goes by as much as 1,727-liters.
The two crossovers are powered by Mazda’s SkyActive-G gasoline engines, namely a 2.5-liter gasoline engine for the CX-8 and a 2.5-liter turbocharged gasoline engine for the CX-9. As mentioned, both the CX-8 and CX-5 share a number of commonalities including its 2.5-liter non-turbo gasoline mill that puts out the same 187 hp and 252 Nm of torque. You can either go for a front-wheel-drive (FWD) variant or an all-wheel-drive (AWD) powertrain, both are paired to a 6-speed automatic transmission.
The Mazda CX-9, on the other hand, has a peppier 2.5-liter turbocharged gasoline engine that churns out 228 hp and 420 Nm of torque. Like the CX-8, the CX-9 can also be had in either FWD or AWD configurations and is also mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission.
Both crossovers are a breeze to drive all thanks to its G-Vectoring Control (GVC) which improves the vehicle's cornering response and stability in order to give you that ‘Jinba Ittai’ experience.
Both midsize crossovers come with 6 airbags, ABS, EBD, stability control, child-lock protection, and front and rear parking sensors. Notably, the Mazda CX-8 comes standard with a 360-degree camera system. For the CX-9, you’re going to have to step up to the Signature grade in order to get this feature.
The CX-9 Signature only comes with a lane-departure warning with a lane-keeping assist and a blindspot-monitoring system. The CX-8 can be had with a full suite of i-ACTIVSENSE driver-assist features, adding rear-cross traffic alert, radar cruise control, smart city brake support, and driver-attention alert.
The Mazda CX-8 serves as the more affordable option between the two, with its Signature trim retailing at P2,290,000 and the range-topping AWD Exclusive currently priced at P2,450,000. The Mazda CX-9 range, on the other hand, starts at P2,380,000, which is actually more affordable than the range-topping CX-8 Exclusive. Lastly, the CX-9 Signature AWD is priced at P2,950,000.
It’s really a hard task to choose between these two, as both midsize crossovers possess all the strong values of Mazda as a car brand. Whichever you choose, the Mazda CX-8 and Mazda CX-9 will certainly give you that ‘Jinba Ittai’ experience.
Now, going back to the question, is the Mazda CX-8 a good alternative to a CX-9? The answer is yes, especially if your budget falls below the more expensive flagship crossover. Although, if you’re considering the top-trim CX-8 Exclusive, then you might want to check out the CX-9 Sport FWD as it happens to be more affordable than the latter. At the end of the day, your choice and budget is the one that matters. Trust us as we say that you really can’t go wrong with either of these two.
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