Mazda's impressive all-new second generation CX-9 has hit the tarmac and buyers will now have greater choice with four grades available, in either front or
The range starts at $42,490 for the entry level Sport ‘front driver’. Our test GT version, with drive via ‘all paws’, sits above the Touring model and just below the range flagship, the Azami.
At a sneeze under $61,500, the GT isn’t particularly cheap, but it offers plenty of standard equipment plus premium finish and refinement to rival more expensive prestige badges.
The headline news with the newcomer is the previous model’s thirsty 3.7-litre V6 petrol engine has been dumped for a substantially more fuel efficient 2.5-litre turbo-petrol engine with Mazda’s Skyactiv-G technology. The official combined fuel consumption has reduced by around 22 percent and now sits at 8.8 litres/100km (91 RON) for the AWD model. Strangely, Mazda doesn’t offer a turbo-diesel version, and as might be expected in this market segment, the CX-9 is auto only.
While the new engine is down 34kW on the previous V6, maximum torque is up 54Nm to a healthy 420Nm. On the road, it has a strong, responsive feel, with eagerness in its step at all times. It pulls off the line well, feels committed in the low- and mid-rev range, and keeps giving when asked to pass slower traffic on the highway.
A firm but still comfortable ride, even on the GT’s standard 20-inch wheels, has been nicely balanced with reassuringly confident and dynamic roadholding. A range of driver assistance features, including rear cross-traffic alert, blind-spot monitoring, smart city brake support, plus front and rear park sensors, reversing camera, a head-up display unit, power open/close tailgate and a well laid out interior, make it an easy vehicle to interact with.
The CX-9 has seating for seven and four child restraint points – three in row two and one for the row three seats, which fold away into the floor. Row two slides fore and aft and offers decent leg and head room, though width for three adults is a bit tight. Row three is adult capable, but would be less than ideal for longer trips.
A spacesaver spare lacks practicality and, if you need to use it, the displaced standard road wheel has to be strapped vertically into the wheel-well, interfering with load space.