The Mazda CX-8 is now available in Australia, and becomes the second three-row SUV sold in the country after the CX-9. First revealed in Japan back in September last year, the CX-8 will reportedly be introduced in Malaysia citing interest from Bermaz Auto during a roll-out ceremony for the CX-5.

For the Australian market, three variants will be offered, with prices starting at AUD42,490 (RM126,548) for the base Sport FWD, followed by the Sport AWD at AUD46,490 (RM138,461) and the range-topping Asaki AWD at AUD61,490 (RM183,135).

As a comparison, the CX-9 range, which features eight variants, is priced from AUD43,890 (RM130,684) to AUD64,790 (RM192,964), making the CX-8 a slightly cheaper proposition, with one important point to take note of.

All CX-8 variants are powered by a SkyActiv-D 2.2 litre four-cylinder turbodiesel engine mated to a six-speed SkyActiv-Drive automatic transmission with or without all-wheel drive. The powertrain offering is similar to what is available in Japan, with total system output rated at 188 hp at 4,500 rpm and 450 Nm of torque at 2,000 rpm. The CX-9’s 2.5 litre SkyActiv-G turbocharged petrol engine makes more horsepower (228 hp) but less torque (420 Nm).

In terms of size, the CX-8 measures 4,900 mm long, which is 175 mm shorter than the CX-9. It is also 129 mm narrower at 1,840 mm, shorter by 27 mm at 1,720 mm, but shares the same wheelbase with the CX-9 at 2,930 mm.

For equipment, the Sport variants come with 17-inch alloy wheels (with 225/65 profile tyres), LED headlamps with halogen DRLs, three-zone climate control, MZD Connect infotainment system with seven-inch touchscreen and six speakers, fabric seats, Active Driving Display and a reverse camera.

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The Sport also comes with safety and driver assist systems from the Mazda i-Activsense suite, including Blind Spot Monitoring (BSM), High Beam Control (HBC), Intelligent Speed Assistance (ISA), Lane-keep Assist System (LAS), Mazda Radar Cruise Control (MRCC) with Stop & Go function, Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA, front and reverse Smart City Brake Support (SCBS F/R), Smart Brake Support (SBS), Traffic Sign Recognition (TSR).

The more expensive Asaki variant comes with more goodies, with the addition of 19-inch wheels (with 225/55 profile tyres), LED DRLs, LED front fog lamps and a power tailgate. Inside, you’ll find Nappa leather power-adjustable seats (10-way driver with memory function, six-way front passenger), second-row sunshades, 273-watt Bose 10-speaker sound system, 360-degree view monitor, Adaptive LED Headlamps (ALH) and real wood trim inserts.

For the Malaysian market, would you welcome a diesel-powered CX-8 as an alternative to the petrol-only CX-9 currently on sale here?

GALLERY: Mazda CX-8 at the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show