Power comes exclusively from an updated version of the familiar 2.2-litre twin-turbo diesel, which already does service in the smaller CX-5 SUV and Mazda 6 medium car, developing a meatier 140kW of power and 450Nm of torque in the new model - up from 129kW and 420Nm in current applications.
Drive is sent to either the front or all-four wheels, via a six-speed automatic transmission.
Top: Mazda CX-8, Bottom: Mazda CX-9
Stylistically, the CX-8 is a mashup of the smaller CX-5 and larger CX-9, sporting design elements from both cars at the front and the rear, though it's closer to the CX-9 in size.
Measuring 4900mm long, 1840mm wide and 1730mm tall, the CX-8 is 175mm shorter, 129mm slimmer and 17mm lower than a CX-9.
Top: Mazda CX-8, Bottom: Mazda CX-5
The interior follows a similar trend, combining elements from its 'CX' siblings.
Japanese buyers can opt for either six- or seven-seat layouts, with the former featuring three rows of captain's chairs.
With the third row in place, the CX-8 has 239 litres of boot space. Fold that rearmost bench down, and that expands to 572L - interestingly, that's 9L more than a CX-9 with the third row in use, however, it's 238L short of its bigger brother with the second row up.
Equipment highlights depending on variant include a 360-degree camera system, nappa leather upholstery, real wood trim and G-Vectoring Control.
Despite originally being reserved for the Japanese market, Mazda recently indicated that the CX-8 is under consideration for the Australian market, though it's still to be confirmed.
"It’s now our decision whether to sell it in Australia. We have to work out how to position it within our line-up, among other things," said Alastair Doak, marketing boss for Mazda Australia.
"It would give us a diesel seven-seat option – something that we don’t currently have."
Stay tuned for more updates in the coming months.