Standard driver assistance smarts lobbed on, too.
As far as Mazda SUVs go, the CX-9 makes a pretty compelling argument for itself. We praised it highly in our review of it some time ago, but Mazda’s decided to do more than just give it a once-over for the new model-year update, as they’ve made more comprehensive changes to the big SUV to make it that much more attractive to family buyers. There’s also a new flagship grade, the CX-9 Azami LE, which adds more posh to one of the best large SUVs on the market.
Standard kit across the range has gone up considerably, and the entry price of the CX-9 Sport FWD has risen by $1100 to a total of $44,990. But for the extra cost, Mazda does justify it at length: For starters, all new CX-9s now benefit from the full Mazda i-Activesense driver-assistance technology suite, including everything from adaptive cruise control with traffic jam functionality to lane-keep assist, automatic high-beam, and traffic sign recognition.
Further, all cars now get Apple CarPlay & Android Auto in the MZD Connect infotainment system, as well as tyre-pressure monitoring and and a heads-up display. All of these features get thrown into the CX-9 Sport, again for the relatively-small increase in price.
The Touring & GT grades also receive small price bumps (Touring from $51,390 and GT from $59,390), and benefit from the inclusion of i-Activesense ADAS system, updated infotainment system and so on.
But the next big update comes to the Azami grade, which now starts at $60,990 but no longer marks the top of the CX-9 range. The Azami now gets things like a 360º camera system, a 7.0-inch screen in the instrument cluster, a heated steering wheel & windscreen, as well as a frameless rear-view mirror. But further up the range now is the Azami LE, which Mazda claims “offers the most sophisticated CX-9 cabin yet.” You’ll find Chroma Brown nappa leather upholstery throughout, set off further by real wood panels on the dash & doors, as well as subtle LED ambient lighting. Additionally, you’ll find a “more minimalist” overhead console design & a “hand-crafted” box-stitched leather-wrapped steering wheel as the icing on this “luxe” cake.
There are no mechanical changes to report however, so the 2.5-litre SkyActiv-G engine continues to put out 170kW and 420Nm, with power going to all-four wheels via a six-speed automatic gearbox. However, there have been revisions to the suspension & steering to provide a “more linear driving feel” that doesn’t compromise on comfort, while NVH (noise, vibration, harshness) levels have been brought down by reducing powertrain mounts, updating the design of the second-row seat rails, improving the steering column’s rigidity, and utilising the steering-wheel mounted airbag as a tuned-mass damper.
|CX-9 Azami LE||AWD||$66,490|