GoAutoLogo
MENU

Car reviews - Mazda - CX-9 - range

Our Opinion

We like
Steering, handling, design, cabin, packaging, economy, refinement, ride, value, affordability
Room for improvement
No diesel option, no third-row airvents

Gallery

Click to see larger images

Mazda logo7 Jul 2016

By BYRON MATHIOUDAKIS

WHO would have believed that a big and heavy SUV developed primarily for the US and Canadian markets would be arguably the most impressive of the post-Ford new-generation Mazda passenger cars?Engineered from the super-successful and competent CX-5 launched in 2012, the TC-series CX-9 benefits from nearly half a decade of extra gestation, and so it is a better vehicle as a result.

If that is hard to believe, consider that the 2018 next-gen CX-5 will leverage many of the learnings garnered from Hiroshima’s answer to the Toyota Kluger.

Though visually very similar to the preceding TB launched in late 2007, the newcomer is actually slightly shorter, and benefits aesthetically from a cab-forward silhouette with shorter overhangs and a wider track. This is one good-looking seven-seat SUV.

Pleasingly, there is no downside to the downsizing, since a lower floor and some packaging smarts ensure that there is ample space for an average-sized Australian male in the two-person third row. Mazda says it has worked diligently to improve entry and egress back there, and that, too, has come to pass.

More impressive is how roomy and inviting the second and first rows are, thanks to a very-MX-5 like dashboard, sidestepping the unnecessary bulk and complication inflicting many similar types of vehicles.

Sporty analogue instruments (with optional head-up display that at last reflects off the windscreen rather than a bitsy little piece of flappy Perspex), a great driving position, excellent ventilation, plenty of storage, and supportive front seats further boost our respect for the family-orientated Mazda. Only a rather crude glovebox fitment mars an otherwise lovely cabin ambience. Again, one of the brand’s best on offer.

However, all pale into the background when you consider how much quieter the CX-9 is on coarse bitumen. Finally, that constant, boomy drone that has been the companion of every modern Mazda has been banished, or at the very least, slashed, thanks to a thicker floorpan, three times as much sound deadening, and a general tightening up of gaps, seals, and structures. The company hints that this will be applied to every future model too, and for that we can all be grateful.

A welcome upshot is that the company’s long-desired premium aspirations can at last be realised, backed up by one of the most enjoyable and involving driving experiences in something resembling a seven-seater family bus.

For starters, the 2.5-litre four-pot turbo petrol is a peach, stepping off the line smartly, pulling forward eagerly, and leaving plenty in reserve for safe overtaking. In real-world, around-town commuting situations, the performance is as sparkling as it is refined. Mazda also promises the CX-9 is the most economical non-diesel or hybrid vehicle of its type in its class, placing a very delicious cherry on top of a sporty powertrain experience.

Just as heartening is the sharp steering, offering precision and feedback without feeling nervous or unsure. We drove both the front-drive and all-wheel drive variants in teeming rain, and felt that the chassis’ roadholding grip and composure were first class.

No longer does the Ford Territory monopolise the driving enthusiast in this segment.

Finally, something about the ride quality. Even on the 20-inch wheel and tyre combo, the short, sharp harshness that defines, say, the biggest-wheeled Mazda6 has been banished yes, the suspension is firm, but it is never punishing or uncomfortable, soaking up the bumps and irregularities like a well-engineered set-up should. That said, the standard 18-inch tyre spec is even better, gaining a suppleness that virtually every other seven-seater SUV (except, perhaps, the Territory) could never match without optional air suspension or trick electronic dampers. Our Japanese contender has neither and doesn’t suffer for it.

Our only real disappointment is that no manual is available – nobody would buy one of course, but this excellent crossover cries out for one. Oh, and Mazda’s beaut little 2.2-litre turbo-diesel would have made it complete. Oh well, we can’t have it all…So there you go – the latest CX-9 meets brand expectations for quality, value, economy, and practicality, and then smashes them to pieces with exceptional driver enjoyment, refinement, comfort, and design.

Of course, we now crave to spend more time in what we believe is the best modern Mazda passenger vehicle on sale, but until then, we implore you not to buy a Toyota Kluger, Nissan Pathfinder, Kia Sorrento, Hyundai Santa Fe, or Holden Captiva before sampling the latest CX-9 first. It is Hiroshima at its fiercest as well as finest.

Share with your friends

Enquire on or Test Drive a New CX-9

Customer Terms and Conditions – New Car Lead enquires

Agreement

This is an agreement between GoAutoMedia Pty Limited ACN 094 732 457 of PO Box 18, Beach Road, Sandringham, VIC, 3191 (“we/us”), the owner and operator of the GoAuto.com.au website (“the website”) and the person wanting GoAuto.com.au to provide them with a lead for the purchase of a new car (“you”).

By completing a New Car Lead Enquiry, you agree to the terms and conditions and disclaimers and acknowledge the policies set out below.

Terms and Conditions

  • In order for us to effect a lead you must you must complete a New Car Lead Enquiry (“Enquiry”).
  • We will call you as soon as possible after you complete the Enquiry and certainly no later than the next business day. When we call, we will discuss with you your new car requirements.
  • You consent to our passing on the Enquiry and your requirements to an appropriate authorised motor car dealer as a lead.
  • We will contact you again in approximately eight days following your initial enquiry to check on the progress of the Enquiry.
  • While we will provide the dealer with the Enquiry and details of your new car requirements, we take no responsibility for what happens after passing on that material as a lead.
  • You acknowledge that we are a new car information service providing new car editorial information, pictures and prices to our customers as a guide only. Any new car prices published on the website are the manufacturers’ recommended retail prices and do not include delivery charges and on-road costs. Any authorized motor car dealer to which we pass on your Enquiry as a lead will provide you with full details of the price at which the vehicle will be sold to you.
  • You acknowledge that we do not sell motor vehicles. Any sale of a new car to you by a dealer after we have passed on your Enquiry to that dealer as a lead, is a sale by that dealer not by us.

Privacy Policy– New Car Lead Enquires

  • We take privacy very seriously. We understand that you will only complete an Enquiry if you can trust us to protect your personal information and use it appropriately. Our policy is to ensure that the personal information collected when you make an Enquiry is only used for the purposes of connecting you with an authorised motor car dealer.
  • We do not on-sell information collected from you or any other customer.
  • From time to time, we may email you with information or promotions that may be relevant for car buyers. You will continue to receive communications from us unless you tell us that you do not want to receive any advertising or promotional information in the future by unsubscribing from these communications.
close
* Denotes required field
** Australian inquiries only
*** Prices exclude on road costs and dealer delivery fees

CX-9 pricing

Motor industry news

GoAutoNews is Australia’s number one automotive industry journal covering the latest news, future and new model releases, market trends, industry personnel movements, and international events.