The 2020 Mazda CX-9 is the result of a mid-flight update to simplify the range and throw a few more goodies at the Japanese company’s big seven-seater SUV.
I don’t mind telling you that the Mazda CX-9 is one of my favourite large SUVs. Strikingly pretty without sacrificing interior space and comfort, it’s also quite nice to drive when fitted with decent tyres.
It’s no techno tour-de-force, but the usual Mazda methodology of honing details means a large SUV with a poised chassis, quiet interior and plenty of goodies for the price.
2020 Mazda CX-9 Pricing
The first thing you’ll notice about the 2020 Mazda CX-9 pricing – well, if you’re keen – is the disappearance of the top-spec Azami LE. So the second thing you’ll notice is hefty jump in the Azami prices to cover the LE’s absence.
The entry-level Sports are both a handy $500 cheaper, while the rest of the range cop single-digit percentage price rises.
|Grade||Manufacturer’s List price (before on-roads)||Price difference|
|Mazda CX-9 Sport FWD||$45,920||-$500|
|Mazda CX-9 Sport AWD||$49,920||-$500|
|Mazda CX-9 Touring FWD||$53,310||+$620|
|Mazda CX-9 Touring AWD||$57,310||+$350|
|Mazda CX-9 GT FWD||$61,720||+$600|
|Mazda CX-9 GT AWD||$65,720||+600|
|Mazda CX-9 Azami FWD||$64,893||+$2133|
|Mazda CX-9 Azami AWD||$69,303||+$2543|
What’s new for 2020?
Ha, no, obviously. First up, the engine stays the same, the excellent 2.5-litre turbo SkyActiv four-cylinder driving through a six-speed automatic. Power is a very useful 170kW and 420Nm.
You can choose between front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive across all models, which is mighty generous. Up until now, I have recommended skipping the front-wheel drive, but there’s some new tech which might change that.
Mazda’s new G-Vectoring Control Plus adds brake-based torque vectoring. Basically, if you’re understeering, it will grab the inside brakes to bring the nose back into line. It’s a common trick used by several makers, including Audi.
If you’re heading off-road in your AWD CX-9, Off-Road Traction Assist will provide a bit more security with a bit less tyre slip.
All models now have an auto-hold function on the electric parking brake which stops the car creeping at lights if you release the brake.
The press release isn’t clear if all models get the gesture function to the hands-free tailgate. You can wave or kick your foot at the rear of the car and the boot opens, which is handy but you do look like a lunatic. For 2019 models, the power tailgate doesn’t arrive until you reach the GT model.
Inside you now get a 9.0-inch screen but not the lovely one from the Mazda3. Still pretty good, though, and it comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which is as it should be.
Third-row passengers can now trigger the middle-row seat mechanism so they can get out without drama. One imagines customers reporting siblings trapping precious Bonathan or Grandma in the third-row. Both Bonathan and Grandma score a USB port each in the third row.
With the demise of the Azami LE, the Nappa leather in the Azami has been upgraded and you can choose Walnut Brown or Pure White. The latter sounds terrible but looks great if you can keep it clean.
And the funny little key job is gone, replaced by the larger one from the 3. Keyless start is standard across the range and you get keyless entry as you go up the range.
Not much new to look at here. There are new 20-inch darks wheels and bright 18-inchers as well. I will never not recommend one of the premium colours, the Soul Red in the CX-9 is magnificent.
Top-spec models get Adaptive LED headlights.
Oh, font folks will notice the change in the badging.
Safety – 5 stars (ANCAP, July 2016)
You get a ton of safety gear in just about every Mazda. Along with the usual airbags, ABS and traction and stability controls, you get forward and reverse AEB, reverse cross-traffic alert and blind-spot monitoring.
The forward AEB now has pedestrian detection in low lighting conditions.
And of course, you get three top-tether anchor points in the middle row and two in the third row. There two ISOFIX points in each of the second and third rows.
I reckon the Touring AWD is the pick of the bunch at $57,310. Yep, that’s a lot of cash, but you get all-wheel drive grip (the FWD I last drove didn’t mind spinning up the fronts under mild provocation), lots of safety gear and a good spec. The GT is close, but most of the extra cash goes to niceties rather than must-haves.
As soon as we get our hands on one, we’ll let you know how it drives.
Peter Anderson is the Editor and founder of the theredline.com.au. He’s been writing about cars for years and finds it difficult to talk about anything else.