The Mazda CX-8 went on sale earlier this month in Australia, and it has now been awarded a five-star rating by the Australasian New Car Assessment Programme (ANCAP). For the Australian market, the three-row SUV is available in three variants, with prices starting from AUD42,490 (RM127,186).

The CX-8 is among the first (the other being the Volvo XC40) to be tested according to ANCAP’s latest and most stringent 2018 assessment protocols, which largely mimics those of its European counterparts like active safety systems and wider test scope (whiplash test for rear passengers, full-width front test, oblique side test and updated pedestrian and side impact tests).

Referring to the ANCAP report, the Mazda SUV scored 96% in the Adult Occupant Protection category with the passenger compartment remaining stable in the frontal offset test. In other tests, the CX-8 managed ‘Adequate’ and ‘Good’ ratings when it comes to protecting passengers. In the Child Occupant Protection category, the CX-8 achieved a score of 87% with most child restraints being accommodated for.

For the Australasian markets, the CX-8 comes as standard with a range of safety systems including autonomous emergency braking (AEB), blind spot monitor, lane departure warning, lane keep assist and seat belt reminders on all seat rows. ANCAP notes that the system performs well at highway speed scenarios and in urban environments, but notes the lack of a cyclist detection function.

“The hurdles have been raised significantly for vehicles tested from 2018,” said ANCAP chief executive, James Goodwin. “It’s encouraging to see Mazda and Volvo set the standard, with their CX-8 and XC40 models being the first to step up and achieve five stars against our increased test standards,” he added.

Reports indicate that the CX-8 will be introduced in Malaysia as well, but exactly when that will take place and if it will be a diesel-only variant (like in Australia) remains to be seen. The model should be priced less than the CX-9, which is larger by comparison despite sharing the same wheelbase.