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In the BabyDrive household this week, we are getting about in the 2023 Mazda CX-8. In all our previous years' testing, we have found the CX-8 to be a great seven-seat SUV for families, and one that should definitely be high on your list. This 2023 model has had a few updates that will make family use even more enjoyable, so let's take a look as we put it through our BabyDrive testing…

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This 2023 model has been updated to have a larger media screen and wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto in all models.

A car with an iphone on the dashboard.

The Mazda CX-8 remains one of the best seven-seat SUVs for families large and small when it comes to child seats, the Mazda CX-8 has five top tether anchorages and fits five full-size Infasecure child seats in all five rear seats.

The back seat of a 2023 Mazda CX-8 with several car seats.

In the second row, there are ISOFix points in the two outer seats…

The back seat of 2023 Mazda CX-8 with a seat belt.

…and top tether anchorages on the back of all three. They are quite far down the backrests so you often need an extension strap for rear-facing child seats especially.

2013 toyota camry rear seats.

Three Infasecure child seats fit really comfortably across the second row of seats; I fitted a rear-facing Infasecure Attain More and Infasecure Adapt More Infant Capsule in the outer seats and the Infasecure Momentum More forward-facing in the central seat.

Car seats in the back seat of 2023 Mazda CX-8.

In the third-row seats, there are no ISOFix points but top tether anchorages on the back of both seats.

The back seat of a 2023 Mazda CX-8 with two seats.

Two full-size Infasecure child seats fit really nicely forward-facing in the third row using seatbelts and top tether anchorages. I installed the Infasecure Achieve More and the Aspire More in the third row of the 2023 Mazda CX-8. Yes that's five Infasecure child seats all in the one car!

The back seat of a 2023 Mazda CX-8 with two child seats.

The second-row seats of the Mazda CX-8 are split 60:40, and unlike many cars, the 40% section is on the kerb side of the car, which means passengers can access the third row more safely than in many seven-seaters. The 60:40 split also applies to the sliding mechanism which allows you can distribute legroom as you need to.

The back seats of a 2023 Mazda CX-8 with black leather seats.

The Mazda CX-8 has a good third-row access mechanism. You can bring the second-row seats forward slightly with three child seats installed in the back of the CX-8 as long as the child seat on that side is installed using ISOFix rather than the seatbelt in the second-row chair you are moving forward. The gap for passengers to climb through to the third row is not big enough for an adult to get through however kids could easily do it.

The back seat of a red car with two car seats.

I found it works best when you have a booster seat in the middle seat to allow the mechanism to come forward easily or if you only need four child seats then leave one of the second-row seats empty.

The back seats of a 2023 Mazda CX-8 with black leather seats.

The driver's seat will also come forward quite far, which gives second-row central seat passengers a way to step through if you have rear-facing child seats in the two outer two seats.

Legroom is great in the Mazda CX-8 and a 182cm driver can sit in front of a rear-facing Infasecure Attain More in the second-row and a forward-facing Infasecure Achieve More in the third-row.

Mazda CX-8 family review.

The rear doors of the Mazda CX-8 open really nice and wide making it easier to get passengers and child seats in and out of the back.

The door of a red suv with a baby seat in it.

The rear doors of the CX-8 model I tested have built-in window blinds, which are great for keeping passengers shielded from the sun while driving and means no more towels or blankets trapped in the window!

A baby seat in the back seat of a 2023 Mazda CX-8.

Visibility is good from both rear rows of seats, as the windows are nice and large and you sit quite high so you can see out well, which helps with kids who get travel sickness.

The red 2023 Mazda CX-8 parked in a parking lot.

The upgraded and updated media system in the 2023 Mazda CX-8 is not a touch screen and it can only be operated using the rotary dial down in the central console.

A 2023 Mazda CX-8 with a button on the dashboard.

This updated 2023 CX-8 has wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard in all models. This makes it easy to access your phone for communication,  navigation and listening to apps while driving.

A 2023 Mazda CX-8 with Apple CarPlay on the dashboard.

The 2023 Mazda CX-8 has great reversing camera images that are clear and bright.

A 2023 Mazda CX-8 with a camera on the dashboard.

You can easily mute the parking sensors with a button by the driver's right knee.

The control panel of a red car.

The 2023 Mazda CX-8 has a wireless phone charging pad, in front of the gear lever.

The steering wheel of a car with a gear shifter.

There are charging sockets in all three rows of seats in the 2023 Mazda CX-8. A USB socket on each side in the third row…

A cup in the back seat of a car.

…as well as two USB sockets in the phone tray in the fold-down armrest in the second-row central seat.

A cup holder in the back seat of a car.

In the front, there are USB-C sockets in the central console box and a 12V socket in the front passenger footwell.

The dashboard and steering wheel of a car.

In the boot, there is another 12V socket on the right-hand side.

The rear cargo area of a red suv.

For families needing to use all three rows of seats, storage in the boot of the Mazda CX-8 is a little tight. When you are using all seven seats, we found the Jiffle Wagon 6-in-1 pram with a seat will fit in the boot when in full fold.

The trunk of a red car with a chair in it.

The Jiffle Wagon 6-in-1 pram with the Infasecure Adapt More Infant Capsule installed into the CX-8 will fit in the boot when in full fold with room for a couple of bags of shopping.

The trunk of a red car with a folding chair and a blue bag.

The Jiffle Wagon 6-in-1 pram cart will fit in the boot when in full fold with three bags of shopping.

The trunk of a suv with two blue bags in it.

A compact stroller fits well in the boot of the Mazda CX-8 too if you are using all three rows of seats.

The trunk of a suv with blue bags in it.

When you are using all seven seats, the boot of the Mazda CX-8 will hold six shopping bags, which is two more than the Kia Sorento which holds five, one fewer bag than the Hyundai Palisade and Nissan Pathfinder which will both hold eight and three less than the Kia Carnival, the will hold ten shopping bags. The Mazda CX-9 is a bit larger with the third row up, holding seven bags in the boot.

2023 Mazda CX-8 Seven Seat SUV with blue bags in the trunk.

When you are only using five seats the boot of the Mazda CX-8 is huge and will hold 17 shopping bags. All sizes of single, tandem or double prams and strollers fit. From empty it has enough room for seventeen shopping bags, which is comparable to the Kia Sorento which also holds seventeen, the Nissan Pathfinder which holds twenty, the Hyundai Palisade which holds twenty-one and the Kia Carnival that holds twenty-six shopping bags. The Mazda CX-9 also holds 17 bags in the boot.

The trunk of a 2023 Mazda CX-8 is filled with blue bags.

The Jiffle Wagon versatile 6-in-1 pram with its seat fits nicely in the boot of the Mazda CX-8 when using the first two rows of seats, with lots of room for eight bags of shopping. The Jiffle wagon holds up to 60kg of cargo inside the wagon too so you have heaps of extra storage and you don't have to unload it to put it into the boot.

The trunk of a 2023 Mazda CX-8 is filled with blue bags.

The Jiffle Wagon 6-in-1 pram with its bassinet fits nicely in the boot of the Mazda CX-8 when using the first two rows of seats, with lots of room for five bags of shopping.

The trunk of a 2023 Mazda CX-8 with blue bags in it.

The Jiffle Wagon 6-in-1 pram with its cart fits nicely in the boot of the Mazda CX-8 when using the first two rows of seats, with lots of room for eleven bags of shopping.

Blue bags in the trunk of a 2023 Mazda CX-8.

The Jiffle Wagon 6-in-1 pram with its Infasecure Adapt More Infant capsule installed into the CX-8..

A red 2023 Mazda CX-8 with a baby seat in the back seat.

…fits nicely in the boot of the Mazda CX-8 when using the first two rows of seats, with lots of room for eleven bags of shopping.

Blue bags in the trunk of a 2023 Mazda CX-8.

If your family has a fur baby, then you will comfortably transport a large dog in the boot of the Mazda CX-8 when using the first two rows of seats.

Stuffed animals in the trunk of a 2023 Mazda CX-8.

Storage for passengers in the 2023 Mazda CX-8 is good throughout all three rows of seats. In the third row, passengers get double cup holders on both sides that will fit a refillable water bottle or reusable or disposable coffee cup or a mobile phone fits too.

A cup in the back seat of a 2023 Mazda CX-8.

In the second row, there are two cup holders that will hold a coffee cup and a storage tray and charging sockets for rear passenger phones in a fold-down armrest in the central seat back.

A cup holder in the back seat of a 2023 Mazda CX-8.

The rear door bins are a good size and will hold a refillable water bottle and an iPad fit in them too.

A cup holder in a 2023 Mazda CX-8 with a bottle in it.

There are map pockets on the back of both front seats that will hold and conceal an iPad.

The interior of a car with two seats and a console.

Front passengers in the Mazda CX-8 have good storage too, there is a lined sunglasses case in the ceiling, which is fabulous as most modern cars are doing away with this, leaving drivers nowhere for their glasses to go.

The rear view mirror of a car is shown with a pair of sunglasses.

There are two cup holders in the central console that will hold a reusable or disposable coffee cup.

The interior of a car with a steering wheel and gear shifter.

The central console box in the CX-8 is a good size as is the glove box that will hold an iPad and wallet with the manual.

The center console of a car with a tablet in it.

The front door bins will hold a refillable water bottle and an iPad fits too.

A car with a pink bottle in the back seat.

There are air vents in the back of the central console box for the second-row passengers but none in the third row for the third-row passengers.

The back seats of a car with black leather seats.

There are climate controls in the front central console panel where parents can also control the second-row climate which is helpful.

The dashboard of a car with a digital display.

The Mazda CX-8 I tested has press-button open and lock front doors, which made going to and from the car much easier when carrying my child and all their things too!

The red 2023 Mazda CX-8 parked in a parking lot.

I really enjoy driving the Mazda CX-8, it drives beautifully and with a smaller footprint than a people mover, it makes it easy as an everyday car for school drop offs etc.

The back seat of a 2023 Mazda CX-8 with several car seats.

With five child seats in the back visibility is a little bit tricky from the second-row windows back so I definitely relied on the rearview camera when parking and manoeuvring.

A car with a camera on the dashboard.

For a seven-seater SUV, the Mazda CX-8 is a great choice for families big and small. It will really comfortably hold five Infasecure child seats without them feeling squashed or crammed in, few cars match its practicality and it is a fantastic BabyDrive!

A red car with a baby seat in the back seat.

The Mazda CX-8 scored a five-star ANCAP safety rating in 2018 and has six airbags as standard. The Mazda CX-8 has a great seatbelt removal visual so you know if anyone in the back has removed their belt!

The dashboard of a car with a digital display.

 

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Tace Clifford
About Tace Clifford
Tace Clifford founded BabyDrive in 2017 after discovering a huge information gap in mainstream car reviews that left new parents and expanding families in the dark when it came to one of the biggest purchasing decisions of their lives.

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