Everything about the new Mazda CX-9 sports utility vehicle is big – from its seven-seat capacity to the large numbers sold since it launch in July 2016. It’s a significant improvement of the original model in style, technology and particularly in engine efficiency.
New Mazda CX-9 is offered in eight models, in four grades – Sport, Touring, GT and Azami – incorporating front or all-wheel drive.
Prices have been trimmed from those of the old model, the CX-9 Sport starts at $42,490, plus on-road costs, a reduction of $1280 over the previous generation entry-level model. The CX-9 Azami AWD tops out the range at $63,390.
Driver assistance equipment includes adaptive LED headlamps, driver attention alert, lane keep assist, smart brake support and smart city brake support (forward / reverse).
This Mazda makes no pretence at being a rough ‘n tough SUV, rather it’s a competent people mover. It’s no surprise that the CX-9 has Mazda’s successful ‘Kodo – Soul of Motion’ design philosophy. It has a restrained trapezoidal radiator grille slotting in neatly between the LED headlamps, the only hint of extravagance being a bold Mazda badge in the centre.
At more than five metres long, the CX-9 profile is far from bulky, while 20-inch wheels with a strong design give it semi sporty look. LED tail lights impart a sleek (-ish) view to the rear.
Increased width and longer wheelbase allow for easy access with wider door apertures than on the superseded model. The rear two rows of seats are easy to access, levers and handles are light and soon become second nature for the kids to operate.
The luggage space is versatile in a variety of configurations. When both rows of seats are folded they create a flat, almost horizontal load floor. The rear lift-gate is available with adjustable push-button power operation.
The CX-9 is the first Mazda to have the new design of heads-up on the windscreen. It’s viewed at an apparent distance of 2.5 metres and is superior to the somewhat basic HUD used on other Mazda models.
The latest version of the MZD Connect system that links to smartphones gives internet and social media connection while on the move. The centre display on the dash is now a larger 8.0 inches and works as a touchscreen when the car is stationary, and is controlled by the commander control knob on the centre console when on the move.
Mazda has gone to a lot of trouble to make the system easy to see and use. But inattention is still one of the biggest killers on our roads – drivers, please do the right thing.
There’s a total of four USB ports, thus minimising internal disputes on who charges what on long trips.
ENGINES / TRANSMISSIONS
The Skyactiv-G 2.5T is a newly-developed four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine delivering 420 Nm at 2000 rpm yet achieving fuel consumption almost 25 per cent lower than the superseded model. Which comes as no surprise because the old V6 wasn’t exactly famed for economy.
Linked to the six-speed automatic transmission, an expanded lock-up range leads to these gains in efficiency and performance. There’s the option of standard sports or manual shift modes.
The Mazda all-wheel-drive system employs 27 sensors, detecting and reacting to tiny amounts of traction loss, probably ahead of the driver being able to feel them.
New CX-9 featuring the latest in Mazda’s i-Activsense technology. For example, lane-keep assist now works with lane departure warning telling the driver with sound, or by vibrating the steering wheel, and a visual display if the vehicle starts to stray from its lane. LAS can be set to provide help, either to keep the vehicle centred in its lane or to prevent it from straying into the adjoining one.
The radar cruise control now has traffic jam assist to reduce the burden on the driver in heavy traffic.
During development, Mazda says it visited existing customers in their natural environment – including Australia – at home, in their vehicles, and driving around town to understand their lifestyle, values, aspirations and day-to-day challenges.
From time spent with the CX-9 it certainly appears to have been worthwhile. Keyless entry, ease of access to all three rows of seats and push-button start, the wagon continued to exhibit comfort and quality it could easily become used to.
At more than five metres long, slow-speed manoeuvring and parking could have been a problem but technical assistance from sound and visual warnings made it simple.
Performance, at times verging on lively, was a pleasant surprise. The advantage of modern turbocharging stumping up 420 Nm of pulling power at 2000 rpm was undeniable.
Fuel consumption of our test vehicle was six to seven litres per 100 kilometres on the highway and nine to ten litres per hundred carting varying loads in the suburbs. Pretty good for a large seven-seat people mover.
Mazda management set out with the aim of catering for, quote, ‘busy professionals, good friends, fun-loving hobbyists and caring husbands and wives’. They have certainly achieved a lot with this new CX-9. Those wanting an out-and-out bush basher need not apply.
AT A GLANCE
Mazda CX-9 Sport FWD $42,490
Mazda CX-9 Sport AWD $46,490
Mazda CX-9 Touring FWD $48,890
Mazda CX-9 Touring AWD $52,890
Mazda CX-9 GT FWD $57,390
Mazda CX-9 AWD $61,390
Mazda CX-9 Azami FWD $59,390
Mazda CX-9 Azami AWD $63,390
Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your local Mazda dealer for drive-away prices.
20-inch alloy wheels with 255/50 tyres
Advanced keyless entry
Remote operated power tailgate (open/close)
Power sliding and tilt glass sunroof
Active Driving Display
Front seats with 2-position memory function (driver)
Seat trim: Black or natural stone leather
Audio system with Digital radio (DAB+), Premium Bose 294 watt amplifier and 12 speakers (including subwoofer)
Parking sensors (front and rear)
Bluetooth hands-free phone and audio capability
Internet radio integration (Pandora, Stitcher and Aha)
Multi-function commander control
Advanced Blind Spot Monitoring
Advanced keyless push button engine start
Rear Cross Traffic Alert
Smart City Brake Support (Forward / Reverse)
SPECIFICATIONS (Mazda CX-9 2.5-litre turbo-petrol i-Activ AWD wagon)
Capacity: 2.488 litres
Configuration: In-line 4-cylinder 16-valve DOHC S-VT petrol 2.5T engine with i-stop and i-ELOOP
Maximum Power: 170 kW @ 5000 rpm
Maximum Torque: 420 Nm @ 2000 rpm
Fuel Type: Petrol 91 RON or higher, E10
Combined Fuel Cycle (ADR 81/02): 8.8 L/100km
CO2 Emissions: Euro 5
DRIVELINE: Six-speed i-Activ automatic AWD
DIMENSIONS, WEIGHT AND CAPACITIES:
Length: 5075 mm
Wheelbase: 2630 mm
Width: 1969 mm
Height: 1747 mm
Turning Circle: 11.8 metres
Kerb Mass: 1924 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 74 litres
Front: Ventilated disc
Rear: Solid disc
Three years / unlimited kilometres