1 Jul 2016
THE second-gen CX-9 was a ground-up rethink when it launched in Australia in mid-2016.
Designed in Japan but developed and engineered over a 36-month period in the United States, the TC series is slightly shorter than its American Ford Edge-derived predecessor, the overhangs are stubbier, and the silhouette more cab-backward.
Conversely, there is a longer wheelbase and wider track/body, as part of its adoption of the brand’s much-heralded ‘SkyActiv’ body, chassis, and powertrain technology. Wheelbase is 55mm longer than before at 2930mm, width rises 33mm to 1969mm, and height jumps 19mm to 1747mm. All major interior space dimensions improve. Lowering the hip points help here considerably.
Weight, predictably, tumbles, between 94kg and 162kg depending on variant, with the lightest Sport FWD coming in at 1845kg and the heaviest Azami AWD at 1924kg.
A massive push to reduce NVH (noise/vibration/harshness) measures, and not just compared to the pre-SkyActiv era cars, means this is far quieter and more refined.
Designed from the inside out as part of Mazda’s human-machine interface philosophy, the Japanese and American engineers heavily researched previous-generation CX-9 user habits, prioritising rear-seat access and child-friendlier operation and ease.
The Euro-V emissions-rated powertrain represents a massive departure over the 2007 TB original, junking Ford’s 204kW/367Nm 3.7-litre V6 and six-speed auto combo for the first turbocharged iteration of Mazda’s 2488cc 2.5-litre four-cylinder twin-cam variable-valve direct-injection petrol engine, also with six forward gears. This move alone saves about 70kg. Outputs are 170kW at 5000rpm, with the 420Nm torque top coming in at 2000rpm.
The AWD system is the same i-Activ tech as in CX-5 and CX-3, and is essentially on-demand FWD system. As with the other SkyActiv Mazdas, the CX-9 uses an electric rack and pinion steering system. The front suspension employs MacPherson struts while the rear is of a multi-link set-up.
When it was new