Given that Mazda has the five-seat CX-5 on offer, we’ll assume that the CX-9 buyer wants a lot of space and/or presence and is prepared to pay for it. In that context the CX-9 is still a massive amount of car for the money.
Base price: $65,490.
Powertrain and performance: 3.7-litre petrol V6, 204kW/367Nm, 6-speed automatic, four-wheel drive, Combined economy 11.3 litres per 100km.
Vital statistics: 5096mm long, 1728mm high, kerb weight 2063kg, luggage capacity 267-928 litres, fuel tank 76 litres, 20-inch wheels on 245/50 tyres.
We like: Refinement, quality, lots of equipment.
We don’t like: Feels out of date compared with latest Mazda models, thirsty when hurried.
How it rates: 6/10
WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW?
The facelift Mazda CX-9 looks like a member of the latest-generation SkyActiv family, wearing the same face as the CX-5 and Mazda6. Actually, it’s not – merely a clever restyle of a designed-for-America seven-seat crossover that dates back to 2007.
But the CX-9 has certainly moved upmarket. Arguing that anybody who wants a petrol-powered crossover of this size and weight isn’t necessarily going to be counting their dollars and cents, Mazda New Zealand is now offering just one fully loaded model. At $65,490 it’s a premium price but lacks little in the way of luxury and safety features.
WHAT’S IT LIKE TO DRIVE?
The CX-9 is a nicely proportioned machine: it’s only when you see it on the road next to other vehicles that you realise how large it is: longer than a Range Rover.
So it’s not a vehicle to throw around. But it is smooth and very refined, even if the 3.7-litre V6 needs to be worked quite hard for brisk acceleration. The CX-9 is a car set up for comfort rather than speed. Or Americans rather than Europeans.
Some of the active safety features take the angst out of the CX-9’s sheer size. The car now comes with forward collision alert (it beeps but doesn’t brake), blind-spot warning and lane departure warning.
IS IT EASY TO LIVE WITH?
The CX-9 is a genuine seven-seater, so you can have either lots of passenger space or a five-seat wagon with awesome cargo-carrying ability. If volume is what you want then the Mazda has few rivals – fewer still that offer the same sense of refinement and comfort. It’s nicely finished and well-built.
Upgrades to the cabin have brought the CX-9 more into line with the modern world of Mazda: it gets the same integrated touch-screen TomTom sat-nav and multimedia screen as the CX-5 and Mazda6, as well as some familiar trim elements such as the red-tinged dashboard garnish found on top-line Six variants.
SHOULD I BUY ONE?
Mazda has achieved excellence with its CX-5 and Mazda6 models, which is bad news for the CX-9. Despite the lookalike styling and cabin upgrades, you’d never mistake it for a new-generation Mazda product: the dynamics and design are just not up to scratch compared with the Japanese maker’s newer models.
However, it’s hard to fault for build quality and refinement. Given that Mazda has the five-seat CX-5 on offer, we’ll assume that the CX-9 buyer wants a lot of space and/or presence and is prepared to pay for it. In that context the CX-9 is still a massive amount of car for the money.
Air conditioning: Three-zone climate
Audio: CD, iPod compatible
Automatic lights/wipers: Yes/yes
Blind spot warning: Yes
Cruise control: Yes
Driver footrest: Yes
Gas discharge headlights: Xenon
Head-up display: No
Heated/ventilated seats: Yes/No
Keyless entry/start: Yes/Yes
Lane guidance: Yes
Leather upholstery: Yes
Parking radar: Yes with camera
Power boot or tailgate: Yes
Power seat adjustment/memory: Yes/Yes
Remote audio controls: Yes
Satellite navigation: Yes
Seat height adjustment: Yes
Self-parking technology: No
Split/folding rear seats: 60/40, third row folds flat
Steering reach adjustment: Yes
Stop-start: NoTrip computer: Yes