Mazda has released the first official exterior photo showing the side profile of its upcoming three-row SUV, the CX-8. The people-carrying crossover, expected to be sold only in Japan, is set to make its market debut in the Land of the Rising Sun before the end of the year.

Looking at the sole image, it’s clear that the new car will be heavily derived from the smaller CX-5, with the entire front end being identical to the five-seater model. However, the CX-8 appears to be taller, and looks to have a similar rear end design to the CX-9; the alloy wheels also have a similar (but not identical) design to the ones on the larger sibling.

The company has already released a sole teaser photo of the interior, showing a fairly sumptuous cabin (as is the case with the company’s SUVs these days) and all three rows of seats. Unlike the CX-9, the CX-8 will be offered in a six-seater configuration, with a dedicated centre console in the middle of the second row housing an armrest and cupholders. A seven-seater option will also be made available.

Measuring 4,900 mm long, 1,840 mm wide and 1,730 mm tall, the CX-8 is actually closer in size to the CX-9 than the CX-5. Compared to the larger model, it’s only 175 mm shorter, 125 mm narrower and 17 mm lower; it also shares the CX-9’s 2,930 mm wheelbase. By comparison, the CX-5 is a whopping 350 mm shorter and 40 mm lower, and has a 230 mm shorter wheelbase.

Power will come from a 2.2 litre SkyActiv-D turbodiesel engine matched to a six-speed SkyActiv-Drive automatic transmission. Output figures have yet to have been released, but expect them to match the 172 PS and 420 Nm that the same engine in the CX-5 produces.