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Mazda CX-80 3.3d Takumi Plus 5dr Auto AWD Convenience/Pano

  • Automatic
  • Diesel
  • 5 door suv

Ten Second Review

Mazda's CX-80 is essentially a lengthened version of the brand's existing CX-60 model with an extra row seats. But that's enough to make it quite a desirable large family SUV, with a premium feel but a mainstream price.

Background

It's been close to a decade since Mazda last offered a seven-seat model in Europe. So this CX-80, the largest car the brand has ever sold on our continent and the second to use the company's 'Large Product Group' platform, is very significant. The first model to use this architecture was the car this three-seating-row model shares almost everything with except its size, the Mazda CX-60 launched back in 2022. The CX-80 is a bigger version of that already quite sizeable SUV, positioned in price and dimensions just above cars like the Skoda Kodiaq and Nissan's X-Trail; and just below larger seven-seat SUVs like the Volvo XC90 and the Audi Q7. It's a space in the market that the Koreans have lately moved into, with latest versions of the Hyundai Santa Fe and the Kia Sorrento, but the CX-80 aims to provide a bit more premium polish than that pairing. So is this a fitting flagship for the Mazda line-up? Let's take a closer look.

Driving Experience

It seems curious that Mazda should launch a car in this class without a full-EV variant and featuring a diesel power option - but the brand has always delighted in being different. The Hiroshima company says it's waiting for EV tech to become more mature before offering it in this segment, but the truth is that it doesn't yet have an EV drivetrain with the kind of range a car of this kind needs. You can though, get a version of this CX-80 able to be plugged in; the petrol PHEV powertrain that so many customers choose in the smaller CX-60 (which donates all its engines to this larger model). We'd hoped that Mazda might have updated this Plug-in Hybrid set-up for this new installation: principally to give it the larger battery that would facilitate the 50+ mile EV driving range that luxury PHEVs in this segment are now regularly offering. But it's still the same set-up, combining a 2.5-litre four cylinder unit with an electric motor energised by a 17.8kWh battery offering an EV drive range of 37 miles. Total output is 323bhp, with 62mph dispatched in 6.8s. In theory, that's 1.6s quicker than the alternative 250bhp 3.3-litre diesel, but that straight six unit's greater pulling power will give it a more flexible feel. Both engines send power via an 8-speed auto gearbox to both axles with a bias towards the rear. And there's Mazda's Kinematic Posture Control system, which brakes the inside rear wheel in quick turns to reduce body roll. Extra bracing allows the CX-80 to improve the CX-60's towing capacity figure; here, it's up to 2,500kg (better than a Volvo XC90 and the same as Kia and Hyundai rivals). Plus a useful 'Trailer Hitch View' feature's been added, which directs a camera at the tow bar to make it easier to hitch up a trailer. If you are tugging things along, you'll want to select the car's provided 'Towing' mode: other drive settings include an 'Off-road' mode that optimises traction on rough terrain.

Design and Build

At first glance, you might easily mistake this CX-80 for its smaller CX-60 showroom counterpart; from the front, the two cars look almost identical, sharing the same so-called 'Kodo' design philosophy, apparently embellished in this case around the concept of 'graceful toughness'. Move to the side and the CX-80 looks more distinct, with 250mm of extra body length over its showroom sibling that enables it to accommodate a third seating row. The side windows have been stretched to lighten the cabin. And, as with the CX-60, there's a long bonnet to denote the rear-biased drive layout and the longitudinal engines. Size-wise (it's 4995mm long, 1,890mm wide and 1,710mm tall), it's about the same size as a large segment SUV like Volvo's XC90. Inside at the wheel, it's just as in CX-60, which means a relaxing, inviting cabin with a stitched fabric dashboard and a sporty-looking three-spoke wheel. The tall, wide centre console makes the driver's seat feel commanding and you view a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster. The central infotainment screen is the same size and, as usual with Mazda monitors, ignores touchscreen tech in favour of a lower rotary wheel. In the second row, there's a choice of either the usual bench or two luxurious 'captain's chairs', depending on your selection between seven or six-seater models. Huge doors allow easy access to the third row, which isn't as cramped as it usually is with seven-seat SUVs of this kind. There's 258-litres of luggage room with all three rows in place, growing to 687-litres with the second row folded and 1,221-litres with everything flat - or 1,971-litres if you load to the ceiling.

Market and Model

CX-80 prices from launch started from around £49,000 (around £3,600 above the five-seat CX-60) and as with that smaller car, customers are offered various highly specified trim grades, starting with 'Exclusive-Line', then 'Homura', 'Takumi', 'Homura Plus' and 'Takumi Plus' (prices range up to around £56,000). All variants come with features like a 12.3-inch central infotainment screen, wireless smartphone mirroring, Amazon Alexa voice control and tri-zone air conditioning. In addition, there's a memory function that uses facial recognition to restore drive settings to your personal preference. And heat for the front chairs, along with an 8-way adjustable driver seat and a head-up display. For this CX-80, Mazda has also added some extra camera safety features, including head-on collision mitigation, which functions as part of an upgraded 'Smart Brake Support' system. There's also 'Cruising & Traffic Support' that can intervene if the driver becomes unresponsive. Other standard safety features include blind spot monitoring, lane keep assist, cruise control, traffic sign recognition and driver attention alert. Many customers will want the 360-degree camera, which features a 'Trailer Hitch View' and a 'See-Through View' to help with manoeuvring in tight spaces.

Cost of Ownership

Mazda expects most CX-80 customers from launch to opt for the Plug-in Hybrid version, primarily because thanks to its EV range of up to 37 miles, it's rated at 36g/km of CO2, putting it in the 12% Benefit-in-Kind tax bracket. The official combined cycle fuel figure for the PHEV variant is 176.5mpg. Fully charging the Plug-in Hybrid battery using a typical 7kW garage wallbox will take around two and a half hours. Mazda hasn't provided any DC public rapid charging capability (like you'd get in PHEV versions of the Skoda Kodiaq for example). There's an EV drive mode, which restricts the car to battery power: and a 'Charge' mode that allows it to retain battery charge until later in your journey. If you'd prefer the non-plug-in 'E-Skyactiv D' diesel version, you'll benefit from clever technology Mazda calls 'DCPCI' (which stands for 'Distribution Controlled Partially Premixed Compression Ignition'). Here, an unusual egg-shaped combustion chamber delivers cleaner fuel combustion. Also incorporated into this diesel engine is a 48V mild hybrid system. The resulting combined cycle fuel return is up to 49.5mpg. With a CO2 reading of up to 148g/km. We should additionally mention the warranty, the usual unremarkable Mazda three year / 60,000 mile package. You can manage maintenance with a useful 'My Mazda App', which can give you reminders about servicing and through which you can book your car in at your local dealership and access a digitally-stored record of your model's service history.

Summary

When it comes right down to it, the CX-80 is merely a stretched CX-60. But Mazda's taken its time and done the job carefully, creating a resulting package that feels much more complete than its smaller stablemate. You can't help thinking though, that the 'Large Group Platform' this car sits on should have been engineered to allow for a full-EV variant. But Mazda doesn't have to worry about the oncoming EV zeitgeist quite as much as some of its larger volume rivals. And what the Hiroshima company's produced here is a very complete large family SUV that feels notably more premium than most of its mainstream competitors. A rare choice perhaps, but a potentially very satisfying one.