Car Review – Mazda CX-9 Sport

Mazda does “good” great and have done so yet again with the latest refresh of the CX-9.

Change is good, they say…and I agree. And small changes that you can sense, embrace but not be overawed by are, in my mind, are even better.

Maybe it’s my fading memory of what made me such a big fan of Mazda’s CX range when they rolled onto the SUV/Crossover segment, or maybe it’s Mazda’s magic to be able to ever so slightly improve bit-by-bit the offerings in the range that had me appreciate all that is the CX-9 Sport I jumped behind the wheel of recently without exploding with excitement.

Don’t get me wrong. The CX-9 Sport is a very good vehicle… it’s just that I have come to expect very good vehicles from Mazda and I had absolute confidence I would find CX-9 to be just that.

It would take a fair stretch back in time for me to compare my latest CX-9 drive to the last before that and, to be honest, my first impressions (insert memory flexings) were simply that it still looks great, feels great to drive and performs superbly.

If it’s not broken, no need to fix it! That’s not a line from Mazda’s playbook. In fact they have moved not to fix the CX-9 but to at least expand the range with two new models join the range, the CX-9 GT SP sport styling in black pack the seven-seat SUV  and the range-topping Azami LE which swaps the traditional seven-seat layout for a six-seat capacity, with a pair of Limo-style luxury feel captain’s chairs in the second row.

Alas, I didn’t get to see the GT SP or the LE, which I’m sure are equally as awesome for their inspiring changes, additions and advancements as was the Sport model, which continued the Mazda trend of subtle change for maximum impact.

The Sport FWD starts from $45,990, while the range topping Azami LE AWD has a $73,875 price tag.

And here’s the rundown on what underpins the good about the CX-9 range, without being eye-popping, dazzling, changes made for … well the sake of change.

All grades are powered by a 2.5-litre turbo-petrol four-cylinder engine, which produces 170kW of power and 420Nm of torque. 

With a six-speed torque-converter automatic transmission as standard, Mazda claims the CX-9 consumes 91 RON petrol at 8.4L/100km (FWD) or 9.0L/100km (AWD) during a combination of urban and highway driving.

Standard equipment includes dusk-sensing LED headlights, rain-sensing wipers, 18-inch alloy wheels, push-button start.

The Sport features a 7.0-inch central display, satellite navigation, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support, digital radio, a six-speaker sound system, a head-up display, three-zone climate control and black cloth upholstery.

It’s claimed the display features sharper graphics than the old (I couldn’t tell the difference but that’s possibly more about my eyesight than the tech) and it loses the touchscreen functionality which I’m actually happy about as I detest finger smudges on such systems.

ANCAP awarded the CX-9 its maximum five-star safety rating in 2016 and its advanced driver-assist systems in the Sport extend to front and rear autonomous emergency braking, lane-keep assist, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, adaptive cruise control with stop and go functionality, traffic sign recognition, high-beam assist, driver attention alert, a reversing camera and rear parking sensors.

Mazda does “good” great and have done so yet again with the latest refresh of the CX-9.

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