By on September 14, 2017

2018 Mazda CX-8 rear - Image: MazdaWe’ve told you before. Now, with the Mazda CX-8 making its proper debut, we’ll tell you one more time after yet more confirmation from Mazda.

The Mazda CX-8 is not coming to America.

Mazda has its reasons.

Consider the fact that Mazda already offers a three-row utility vehicle in America that already lacked decent third-row ingress/egress. Mazda worked to fix the CX-9’s entry port for the 2018 model year, as we reported yesterday. Now consider the fact that the Mazda CX-8 is six inches shorter, bumper to bumper, than the Mazda CX-9 and five inches narrower.

Do American SUV/crossover buyers really want a smaller CX-9? No.2018 Mazda CX8 front - Image: MazdaBut Mazda does have a problem. The brand is increasingly reliant on its three crossovers for volume, but as Mazda expands its global crossover portfolio, the company is not expanding its crossover footprint in America. Moreover, Mazda’s increasing reliance on crossovers comes largely on the back of one model: the popular CX-5.

It appears as though growth of the second-generation CX-9 has stalled short of Mazda’s targets in the United States. The CX-3, meanwhile, is suffering from decreased demand and owns less than 3 percent of America’s subcompact crossover category.2018 Mazda CX8 seven seater - Image: MazdaIf not the CX-8, Mazda could use something like the China-only CX-4 to bolster its crossover lineup in crossover-hungry America. But it is not to be.

Mazda begins taking Japanese orders for the CX-8 today, September 14th, though sales deliveries don’t commence until December 14, 2017. Mazda says taxes-in pricing begins at ¥3,196,800 ($26,914). Mazda intends to sell 1,200 CX-8s per month in its home market, where the brand is increasingly linked to diesel engines.

In fact, the CX-8 is powered exclusively by a 2.2-liter diesel generating 188 horsepower and 332 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed automatic is standard; all-wheel drive is optional. Suspension parts carry over from the CX-9, but Mazda says “damping and other parameters have been tuned especially for the CX-8.”2018 Mazda CX-8 cabin - Image: MazdaA six-passenger layout, rather than the seven-passenger format, is available. Mazda says there is 8.4 cubic feet of cargo space behind the third row or 20.2 with the third row folded. That’s down 42 percent and 47 percent, respectively, from the 14.4 cubic feet and 38.2 cubic feet offered in the CX-9, which isn’t sold in Japan. On the WLTC cycle, the 2018 Mazda CX-8 AWD is rated at 36 miles per gallon combined.

[Images: Mazda]

Timothy Cain is a contributing analyst at The Truth About Cars and and the founder and former editor of Follow on Twitter @timcaincars and Instagram.

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