The bigger brother to the popular Mazda5, the Mazda8 will be aimed primarily at the Chinese market and will be assembled with Mazda's local Chinese partner, First Automobile Works (FAW). Mazda already sells its Japanese-built Mazda8 in Hong Kong, Thailand and Japan.
Although specifications and pricing of the new Mazda8 are yet to be released, it is believed the model is a revised version of the current Mazda MPV (already sold as Mazda8 in some markets), which itself has been on sale since 2006.
Currently, Mazda8 models offer the choice of naturally aspirated and turbocharged 2.3-litre four-cylinder petrol engines. The engines are mated to five-speed and six-speed automatic transmissions respectively. The Mazda8 is available in both front- and all-wheel-drive variants.
The Mazda8 offers three rows of seating for up to seven passengers. The third-row can fold flat in to the floor to increase cargo capacity, much like those found in the Honda Odyssey. People movers are very popular throughout China, and with top-sellers including the Honda Odyssey and Buick GL8, the new Mazda8 could face some stiff competition.
Mazda will display a total of 16 models at the Beijing Motor Show including the Mazda Kiyora concept car. The Beijing Motor Show will run from April 27 to May 2.
It is unlikely the Mazda8 will be offered in Australia.