Mazda CX-8.

Mazda has launched its new fleet fo­cused large SUV – the new CX-8 – si­mul­ta­ne­ously an­nounc­ing a not in­signif­i­cant re­fresh of the Mazda6 line, and the in­tro­duc­tion of some new en­gine tech for the long-serv­ing fleet ‘fave’, the CX-5.

New Zealand Company Vehicle - - CONTENTS -

The big ques­tion many might be ask­ing right now is: what is the think­ing be­hind the CX8? There’s al­ready a CX-5 and a CX-9… do we need the CX-8? And the an­swer to that is “yes” as far as Mazda New Zealand is con­cerned. Ac­cord­ing to Mazda New Zealand man­ag­ing direc­tor David Hodge, Mazda CX-8 will be a very pop­u­lar ad­di­tion to the com­pany’s SUV line-up. “We be­lieve it will ap­peal to pri­vate buy­ers, but we also en­vis­age fleets will find it an at­trac­tive propo­si­tion for those look­ing for an ef­fi­cient and ver­sa­tile ve­hi­cle that is equally at home around town or on the open road.” While the once Ja­panese-do­mes­tic-model-only CX-8 nom­i­nally fits in be­tween the slightly smaller CX-5 and the slightly larger CX-9, it presents a slightly dif­fer­ent busi­ness di­rec­tion for Mazda New Zealand, which is bring­ing in the next gen­er­a­tion SKY­AC­TIV-D diesel tech­nol­ogy into the brand’s pas­sen­ger line. This flies in the face of many other man­u­fac­tur­ers fo­cused on down­siz­ing petrol en­gines and us­ing forced in­duc­tion – turbo and su­per­charg­ers – to make up the con­sumer-per­ceived power short­fall of smaller dis­place­ment en­gines or who are opt­ing to go down the elec­tric/hy­brid ve­hi­cle su­per­high­way. De­spite ref­er­enc­ing the par­ent com­pany’s col­lab­o­ra­tion with Toy­ota and Denso in the field of EV de­vel­op­ment, Mazda NZ suggests the elec­tric ve­hi­cle is not yet the so­lu­tion it could be. That’s not to say it won’t be in the fu­ture, but for now, there is a ‘big pic­ture’ global is­sue which af­fects the mass up­take of EVS, ac­cord­ing to Mazda New Zealand. Most coun­tries don’t share New Zealand’s al­ter­na­tive power gen­er­a­tion abil­ity, of­ten re­ly­ing on coal to gen­er­ate power – which you’d need more of ob­vi­ously, if your na­tional fleet had a mean­ing­ful num­ber of EV’S. The en­vi­ron­men­tal costs far out­weigh the ben­e­fits. To use a pollutant en­ergy source to power eco-friendly ve­hi­cles does seem akin to or­der­ing a su­per-sized fam­ily-meal from a fast food fran­chise and spec­i­fy­ing a diet fizzy drink. Diesel, while it may be con­sid­ered a satanic fluid by many – es­pe­cially in Europe, which has taken a rather dra­co­nian ap­proach in some cities, ac­tu­ally ban­ning the stuff – comes about through the re­fin­ing of petrol any­way – which we still need to use – so why not ‘up­cy­cle it?’ If, as an au­tomaker, you are OK

de­vel­op­ing cleaner burn­ing en­gine tech­nol­ogy to min­imise diesel’s pol­lu­tive na­ture and max­imise its power po­ten­tial – as Mazda is clearly do­ing – what’s the prob­lem? And this brings us back to Mazda’s al­len­com­pass­ing SKY­AC­TIV ef­fi­ciency model. SKY­AC­TIV brings tech­nol­ogy to­gether from three spe­cific ar­eas of any given ve­hi­cle: the en­gine, the trans­mis­sion and the over­all chassis and body con­struc­tion. Re­fine­ment across all of th­ese ar­eas op­ti­mises the over­all per­for­mance of the ve­hi­cle in keep­ing with Mazda’s de­sign ethos of the ve­hi­cle be­com­ing one with the driver, the end re­sult be­ing an ef­fi­cient and holis­tic har­mon­i­sa­tion of ve­hi­cle tech­nol­ogy, which could be called greater than the sum of its parts. All of which sounds very po­etic but hap­pens to be man­i­festly ob­vi­ous to any­one who has ever driven a Mazda and thought there is some­thing a lit­tle dif­fer­ent about this car. For those of a more down-to-earth dis­po­si­tion, Mazda’s SKY­AC­TIV en­gine tech is pos­si­bly the most ob­vi­ous place to quan­tify the con­cept. SKY­AC­TIV-D then – a 2.2 litre diesel en­gine – has been de­vel­oped to make the most of diesel’s po­ten­tial as a fuel and is avail­able across the CX-8’S three-model range, in fact it is the only game in town for this ve­hi­cle. Very sim­plis­ti­cally, it uses new fuel in­jec­tors, im­proved com­bus­tion pro­cesses and vari­able ge­om­e­try tur­bocharg­ing to make it cleaner, more re­fined and well, more petrol-like, to drive. To help ce­ment the CX-8 into the ex­ist­ing Mazda fam­ily, a SKY­AC­TIV-D en­gine has found its way into the CX-5 line-up which also wel­comes the SKY­AC­TIV-G 2.5 litre petrol en­gine, in­tro­duced on the re­designed Mazda6. Con­fused? It's ac­tu­ally pretty sim­ple:

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