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Mazda updates CX-9 and adds a new flagship

Mazda launches new CX-9 Azami LE flagship with six seats instead of seven

17 Dec 2020

MAZDA Australia has bolstered its local CX-9 line-up with the addition of a new flagship and mid-range ‘sports’ model as well as the limited 100th Anniversary Special Edition as part of a subtle 2021 model-year update.


The flagship has been dubbed the Azami LE and unlike the rest of the range, it is available exclusively in all-wheel-drive guise and with only six seats as opposed to the usual seven thanks to its ‘captain’s seat’ second-row.


Checking in from $73,875 plus on-road costs, the LE sits $3250 clear of the regular Azami AWD and is positioned more towards occupant comfort than all-out carrying capacity.


The second-row seats are separated by a new fixed centre console – resulting in the individual ‘captain’s seat’ arrangement – containing the controls for the power adjustable seat as well as the heating and cooling functions.


Thanks to its power adjustment, access to the third row is granted by a new one-touch system that slides the second-row forwards and then returns it to its previous set position.


Quilted Nappa leather upholstery adorns the seats and other parts of the interior in both the Azami LE and the regular Azamis as part of the 2021 update while the aluminium interior trim inserts have also been given a redesign.


All Azamis ride on new 20-inch alloy wheels and brandish a brighter titanium grey metallic grille finish and bigger exhaust tips.


Just like the rest of the CX-9 range, the Azami LE is powered by a turbocharged 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine developing 170kW/420Nm, all which is channelled to the wheels via a six-speed automatic transmission with a claimed fuel economy 9.0 litres per 100km on the combined cycle.


Slotting into the range directly below the Azamis are the new GT SP twins (FWD/AWD) which for all intents and purposes are regular GTs that have been given some extra make-up to help them look sportier and more menacing on the road.


The cosmetic enhancements consist primarily of a dark gunmetal grille design, black mirror caps and unique black 20-inch alloy wheels while the interior is treated to an equally sporty makeover, scoring black ‘decoration panels’, red stitching and new burgundy leather seat upholstery.


With no mechanical or notable standard kit changes over the normal GTs save for the upholstery colour, the GT SPs carry a $500 premium over their donor vehicles, priced from $63,490 for the front-wheel-drive and $67,490 for the all-wheel-drive respectively.


The final new variant hitting showrooms next year is the limited-run 100th Anniversary Special Edition, of which just 110 units will be offered in Australia.


Built to commemorate the brand’s centenary, the CX-9 100th Anniversary Special Edition forms part of a 12-model portfolio with every vehicle adorned in a distinctive new white colourway paying homage to Mazda’s first passenger car, the R360 Coupe.


Complementing the ‘Snowflake White Pearl Mica’ exterior colour is an all-burgundy interior (including the carpets) and an exclusive 100th Anniversary Special Edition logo on the front wings, key fob, wheel caps, headrests and floor mats.


Its $72,575 pricetag makes it comfortably the most expensive variant of the 100th Anniversary Special Edition series and the second-priciest CX-9 behind the Azami LE.


As for the rest of the CX-9 range, all variants score the latest version of Mazda’s ‘Connect’ infotainment system – including a new 10.25-inch colour touchscreen – as well as Qi wireless smartphone charging.


Paddle shifters have been added to all variants besides the entry-level Sport twins while ‘Polymetal Grey’ has been added to the colour palette for all variants apart from the 100th Anniversary Special Edition.


Due to the upgraded standard kit, prices across the range have risen by between $70-1686 depending on the variant with the price increase getting bigger the further up the range you go.


According to Mazda Australia managing director Vinesh Bhindi, the CX-9 is rightfully considered to be the brand’s flagship vehicle with the new variants only cementing that fact, especially the Azami LE.


“Combined with several key connectivity and infotainment updates, as well as improved equipment levels and some fresh exterior and interior options, the updated CX-9 is a strong statement for the Mazda brand as we enter 2021,” he said.


Mazda has sold 6167 CX-9s so far this year ending November, accounting for a healthy 7.6 per cent of the booming sub-$70,000 large SUV segment.


2021 Mazda CX-9 pricing*

Sport (a) $45,990
Sport AWD (a) $49,990
Touring (a) $53,490
Touring AWD (a) $57,490
GT (a) $62,990
GT AWD (a) $66,990
GT SP (a) $63,490
GT SP AWD (a) $67,490
Azami (a) $66,190
Azami AWD (a) $70,625
100th Anniversary Special Edition (a) $72,575
Azami LE AWD (a) $73,875

*Excludes on-road costs

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