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The Mazda CX-8 receives a new (but familiar) face for 2023

It looks just like the recently face-lifted CX-5 with additional tech

Now the CX-8 looks identical to its recently updated smaller sibling. PHOTO FROM MAZDA

Mazda is in the process of slowly revamping its entire lineup with midlife facelifts for existing models that sport the refined, squared-off Kodo design first seen on the recently refreshed CX-5. The next of its vehicles to receive a refresh, unsurprisingly, is the stretched-out three-row CX-8.

This just comes out two months after the Philippines received an updated model that was shown off at the 2022 Philippine International Motor Show. Regardless, buyers shouldn’t feel much remorse, because like the CX-5, this is more of a heavy visual facelift with bits of new tech to keep things fresh.

Do you prefer the softer, flowing front and rear fascias to the blockier design of the facelift? PHOTO FROM MAZDA

The CX-8 always looked like a longer version of its sibling, and that holds true with this facelift. The front and the rear receive the same redesign with squared-off headlights and taillights, a slightly different “block mesh” pattern grille, painted plastic cladding (on higher trims), and redesigned wheels. Also, you can now get the vehicle in the Rhodium White finish first seen on the CX-60.

It's a relatively minor update in the cabin, but the addition of new tech should keep tech-savy owners happy. PHOTO FROM MAZDA

The CX-8’s three-row cabin also remains mostly the same. You can spec it either as a six- or seven-seater with various upholstery options.

You will find a seven-inch digital instrument cluster and a new 10.25-inch widescreen infotainment running the newest iteration of the Mazda Connect interface. It supports wireless Apple CarPlay (but wired Android Auto), and there is now a USB-C port in the center console to complement the wireless charging pad and existing USB-A ports in the cabin.

It also receives improved adaptive LED headlights with more LED arrays (20 compared to 12), and Cruising and Traffic support that allows the car to steer itself under the right conditions, and the adaptive cruise control to work from a standstill.

Are you looking forward to this facelift? PHOTO FROM MAZDA

No new engines here, just the same 2.5-liter naturally aspirated Skyactiv-G, the turbocharged 2.5-liter Skyactiv-G, and the 2.2-liter Skyactiv-D turbodiesel, still also mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. The car is offered either in two- or all-wheel drivetrain.

Though ride and handling are refined with the improved springs and dampers, and the Mi-Drive (or drive mode selector) now has an off-road mode to improve drivability if you do decide to bring the family wagon off the beaten path.

If you’re lucky enough to live in Japan, there are three special appearance packages: Grand Journey, Sport, and Exclusive.

The Grand Journey package resembles your traditional SUV with silver accents and black body cladding, and “greige” (gray and beige) faux leather and fabric upholstery. Meanwhile, the Sport trim receives gloss-black trim accents and body cladding, and black or red leather upholstery for a sportier appearance. Finally, the Exclusive is the “premium” appearance package with body-colored cladding, larger muffler tips, roof rails, and white or black quilted Nappa leather seats.

Of course, Japan will be the first one to receive this new model in late December, with prices ranging from ¥2,994,200 (P1.2 million) to ¥5,058,900 (P2 million).

Sam Surla

Sam is the youngest member of our editorial team. And he is our managing editor (believe it or not). He specializes in photography and videography, but he also happens to like writing about cars a lot.