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Car reviews - Mazda - CX-9 - range

Launch Story

Mazda logo11 Dec 2012

By HAITHAM RAZAGUI

MAZDA has officially launched the facelifted CX-9 seven-seat SUV onto the Australian market following its world debut at the Sydney motor show in October.

All variants now get standard Bluetooth streaming and USB connectivity, satellite navigation is included on all but the entry-level Classic variant, and flagship Grand Touring variants gain a raft of new safety and driver assistance technology, though at a price.

Entry to the range has increased by $100 to $44,525 plus on-road costs for the front-drive Classic, but further up the range a hike of $1255 has been applied to mid-spec Luxury variants in front-drive ($52,980) and all-wheel-drive ($57,480) guises while the top-flight AWD Grand Touring is $2223 more expensive at $63,828.

However, Mazda argues that the Luxury model, now equipped with standard sat-nav, is $1345 less expensive compared with the outgoing model with the navigation option box was ticked.

Bringing the CX-9 into line with the smaller CX-5 SUV and just-launched Mazda6 mid-sizer is revised exterior styling that reflects Mazda’s Kodo design language, comprising redesigned grille, bumpers, headlights and tail-lights.

Interior changes are more subtle, with a more upmarket feel achieved by Bordeaux-coloured trim strips on the centre console complemented by coloured stitching on new suede door trims, an upgraded finish on the instruments, a redesigned gear selector and smoother leather for the steering wheel.

An upgraded infotainment system, claimed to be more user-friendly, features voice control and the Bluetooth streaming system enables the driver to control a connected audio device via buttons on the steering wheel.

The CX-9’s hands-free telephony feature has been enhanced with better noise suppression and a 1000-entry contacts database with simpler voice-controlled call initiation and speed-dial function.

A new Tom Tom satellite-navigation system, previously optional but now standard on mid-range Luxury models, can accurately calculate journey times based on historical data, display road and traffic conditions, and receive map and software updates via an SD memory card.

Technology takes a leap forward on the Grand Touring flagship variant, which in addition to the new LED daytime running lights and keyless entry/start, gains automatic high beam, blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning, forward collision warning and rear parking sensors.

As before, FWD-only Classic variants come with a reversing camera, three-zone climate control, automatic headlights and wipers, 18-inch wheels, six airbags and a full complement of electronic traction, stability and braking aids plus roll stability control.

On top of the aforementioned sat-nav, Luxury spec includes 20-inch alloy wheels, leather upholstery, a 277-Watt 10-speaker Bose premium audio system, powered and heated front seats, driver’s seat memory, chrome door handles and heated exterior mirrors with automatic tilt during reversing.

Mazda expects about 60 per cent of the 300 or so CX-9s sold locally each month will be the mid-spec Luxury variants.

Upgrading to Grand Touring spec adds bi-Xenon headlights, an automatic tailgate, self-dimming interior mirror and the aforementioned driver assistance and safety systems.

Engine and drivetrain specifications remain unchanged, with a 204kW/367Nm 3.7-litre V6 petrol engine linked to a six-speed automatic transmission.

Mazda claims engine calibration and improved aerodynamics have enabled fuel consumption to remain the same at 11.0 litres of 91 RON standard unleaded per 100 kilometres for FWD variants and 11.2L/100km for AWD variants.

CX-9 sales in Australia have averaged 343 a month since its launch in late 2007, peaking at 603 in March 2008.

With the CX-7 having been replaced by the smaller CX-5, sales of the CX-9 are up 20 per cent this year at 4108 units to the end of November – contributing to overall Mazda growth of 16.5 per cent – but the CX-9 holds a relatively modest 4.7 per cent share of the Australian large SUV market.

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