, Mazda 8 2.3 Review
Room to move

Story by Raymond Lai Photos by Yang
14 Jul 2010

It’s a latecomer to the MPV party but can the Mazda8 surpass the evergreen Toyota Previa in the large MPV class?

Square rooms

To maximize a car's cabin space, logic will tell you that it will have to be squarish and cube-shaped on the outside. Well, sounds like a van then? Obviously vans are designed the way they are so that they can accommodate as much load as possible in as small a road area it can occupy.

It's also no surprise that if you're looking at a vehicle that can ferry the most occupants while minimizing road space, you'll end up with a monobox MPV or a minivan as the Americans like to call them.

There are many large MPVs on sale out there but the Honda Odyssey and Toyota Previa stand out from the rest thanks to their un-van like looks and driving behaviour. Now there's a new Japanese model, the Mazda8 that is trying to join the abovementioned two in providing practical space while offering car like driving dynamics.

The new model has been around for a couple of years in Japan but Mazda has finally decided to offer this model here thanks to ever increasing demand for large, well-appointed MPVs.

In terms of styling, the 8 is an evolution of its unimaginatively named MPV predecessor's. Up front, the Mazda designers tried to spruce up its looks a tad grafting on the brand's familiar five-point lower grille and upswept headlamps. Despite the designers' efforts though, there's no hiding the 8's heavy, slightly van like proportions along the flanks while the upright rear is brightened up by a chrome strip across the tailgate and clear tail lamps designed to ape those on other Mazda models like the 6. All in all, the 8 isn't exactly pretty or stylish - it's more function above anything else.

The Previa's looks though, is a noticeable contrast to the Mazda8's more functional looks. The Previa has always looked distinctive since the first generation mid-engined ‘egg' shaped model. The current incarnation of the Previa first appeared as a concept at the 2005 Tokyo Motorshow. Its overall look and profile might be similar to its predecessor's but the current generation Previa still looks distinctive and handsome.

Key to the Previa's style is its steeply raked windscreen coupled with that handsome snout. From the side, the Previa looks curvaceous next to the slightly boxy Mazda. The small wheels on this officially imported model though, doesn't do the Previa's looks justice. Take a look at some of the JDM Estima variants running around with bigger wheels and aero kits and you'll know how purposeful and dare I say, sporty looking this MPV can be.


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Engine Capacity 2260cc
Engine Type Inline 4
Power 163bhp @ 6500rpm
Torque 203Nm @ 3500rpm
Power to Weight 91.6 bhp per ton


Acceleration 13.3s (0-100 km/h)
Top Speed 170 km/h
Fuel Consumption (combined) 10.3 km/L

Misc Technical Data

Transmission 5 -speed Auto Tiptronic
Drive Type FF


Body Type MPV
(L x W x H)
(4860 x 1885 x 1685) mm
Wheelbase 2950 mm
Kerb Weight 1780 kg