Launched in July 2016 the second generation Mazda CX-9 has been a big hit in the people mover market in Australia. Not content to rest on its laurels, Mazda Oz recently introduced improvements to driving, safety and comfort for its flagship Azami, our test machine for the last week.

With its neat and tidy look the big Mazda people carrier has a look of restrained confidence. From every angle things are in proportion and there are no fancy bits to spoil the minimalist look.

The interior features quality materials chosen for their look, feel – and even smell according to Mazda.

Heated seats are not only offered for the lucky folks in the front, they have been added for the two outer seats in the middle row in GT and Azami models. Talk about being spoiled.

With all three rows of seat backs upright, there are only 230 litres of luggage space behind the third row – enough to take two standard golf bags or a baby stroller.

The third row seats fold individually with the release of a single latch on each seat, giving access to 810 litres of space, up to 1282 mm long. The loading height of the floor is a comfortable 805mm.


Above the centre of the dash is an 8.0-inch LCD touchscreen in the usual very clear Mazda design that minimises inattention. It is operated by a multi-function Commander control on the centre console to the rear of the gear selector.

The new Mazda CX-9 is the first Mazda to adopt a full-colour head-up display projected onto the windscreen.

A Premium Bose 294-Watt amplifier powers 12 speakers, including a subwoofer. Sound quality is pretty impressive. Internet radio integration tunes in to Pandora, Stitcher and Aha.

The big Mazda has Bluetooth handsfree phone and audio connection.

The Mazda CX-9 as tested was powered by a 2.5-litre unit producing up to 170 kW and 420 Nm. It is mated with a six-speed automatic transmission and an all-wheel drive system. AWD isn’t aimed at off-road running, but provides slip-prediction that’s handy on wet roads or when you head for the ski fields.


Mazda’s i-Activsense safety features, include blind-spot monitoring, driver attention alert, rear parking sensors and cross traffic alert, reversing camera and forward and reverse smart city brake support.

Smart city brake support with the speed range has been extended from 30 to 80 km/h. GT and Azami variants also feature traffic sign recognition.

Rear parking sensors, rear cross-traffic alert and reverse camera certainly assist when parking what is a large, bulky vehicle.

All Mazda CX-9s now allow child or booster seats to be mounted on the three middle-row seats and both third-row seats. There are IsoFix mounting points on both outer seats in the middle row.

The seven-seat Mazda has been the subject of improved noise, vibration and harshness measures, including reducing the gap between the rear end of the roof moulding and the tailgate, and increasing the thickness of noise-absorbing material on the underside of the headliner.

Added noise-insulation on the back of the boot side trim reduces sound from the tyres and rear of the vehicle, while inside the cabin, higher density fibre in floor mats better absorbs noise while the insulation layer added to the ceiling liner reduces reverberation.

Overall length is more than five metres, which is 31 mm shorter than before. However, it sits on a wheelbase that’s 55 mm longer. This has been done to increase cabin length and volume.

The second row seats have been modified it make it easier for those sitting in the second and third rows to get in and out.

Directly in front of the driver is an easy to read three-dial instrument layout with a central speedo, a tacho is on the left and a reconfigurable display on the right.

A turning circle of almost 12 metres limits manoeuvring in tight spots, try for yourself if your daily use means time in awkward places.

Mazda CX-9 all-wheel has official fuel consumption of 8.8 litres per 100 kilometres. On test it was often in the 11 to 13 litres range in built-up areas. This dropped to a more acceptable seven to eight litres on the motorways.

Mazda CX-9 is a big comfortable people mover that’s built to a high quality. Definitely one for families to pile into and take for a test drive.

Sport FWD: $43,890 (automatic)
Touring FWD: $50,290 (automatic)
GT: $58,790 (automatic)
Azami” $60,790 (automatic)
Sport AWD: $47,890 (automatic)
Touring AWD: $54,290 (automatic)
GT AWD: $62,790 (automatic)
Azami AWD: $64,790 (automatic)
Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your local Mazda dealer for drive-away prices.

SPECIFICATIONS (Mazda CX-9 2.5-litre turbo-petrol five-door wagon)

Capacity: 2.488 litres
Configuration: Four cylinders in line
Maximum Power: 170 kW @ 5000 rpm
Maximum Torque: 420 Nm @ 2000 rpm
Fuel Type: Standard unleaded
Combined Fuel Cycle (ADR 81/02): 8.4 L/100km
CO2 Emissions: 197 g/km

Six-speed automatic

Length: 5075 mm
Wheelbase: 2930 mm
Width: 1969 mm
Height: 1747 mm
Turning Circle: 11.8 metres
Kerb Mass: 1858 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 72 litres

Front: Ventilated Disc
Rear: Solid Disc

Three years / unlimited km

About Alistair Kennedy

Alistair Kennedy is Automotive News Service and Marque Publishing's business manager and the company's jack-of-all-trades. An accountant by profession, he designs the Marque range of motoring book titles, operates the company's motoring bookshop on the NSW Central Coast and the associated web site, as well as its huge digital and hard copy database. Whenever we can escape from the office he does so to cover new vehicle releases and contributes news stories. Alistair's other interests include cricket and family history on which he has written three books.
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