Mazda has launched the much-anticipated new-generation Mazda CX-9 seven-seat SUV in Australia with sales starting from today.
I got along to the Australian launch of the new model and the thought coming out of it for me was that Mazda has got a game-changer on its hands with this new model.
Why? Well simply because it can boast something two of its biggest rivals can’t and that’s decent fuel economy.
Mazda has thrown out the thirsty 3.7 litre V6 engine that propelled the old model, in its place is a newly-developed 2.5 litre four-cylinder turbo unit.
Promising combined fuel consumption of as little as 8.4L/100km for the front-wheel drive model and 8.8L/100km in the all-wheel drive version, these numbers are significantly below the V6-powered Toyota Kluger, a model that has long dominated this sector of the market.
It is also well below that offered by other equivalent seven-seat V6-petrol offerings, including the Nissan Pathfinder, Hyundai Santa Fe and Kia Sorento (though the Hyundai and Kia do offer a four-cylinder diesel alternative).
Prices for the new Mazda CX-9 kick off at a very competitive $42,490 and across the four model grades a price premium of $4,000 is charged for the all-wheel drive powertrain.
A six-speed automatic transmission is offered standard across the CX-9 range.
Mazda told us on the launch that the new engine isn’t just more efficient than the old V6, it also provides more torque at lower speeds.
That means the full 420Nm is available down as low as just 2,000rpm and this makes the CX-9 quite a punchy vehicle for the stop-start type driving that most CX-9 drivers are anticipated to do.
On the road I thought the initial acceleration provided by the engine was more than adequate, it also cruised along nicely at highway speeds and tackled hills without effort (albeit we had only two aboard).
I thought the ride was also quite a good trade-off between comfortable and confident and the turning circle and brakes get a pass-mark too.
The smaller engine also saves weight, Mazda boasting the new model is up to 165kg lighter than the model it replaces.
The weight-loss not only helping with fuel economy, it also gave engineers the option of adding a thicker floor, more sound absorption material and acoustic windscreen and front side glass.
The end result is a vehicle that is exceptionally quiet inside the cabin.
Speaking of the cabin, the all-important question for a family is space and here Mazda has managed to find some additional room for occupants.
A thinner middle-row seat and a lower third-row make for some extra room in seats six and seven.
As with pretty much all seven-seaters in this category, that third-row is adequate for adults on short trips, ideally though it’s children that will be occupying the third row more regularly.
One area where there was a surprising amount of space was behind that third row.
While often these seats chew up pretty much all the cargo space, Mazda here has managed to leave more than a decent amount of space.
When the third-row isn’t being used the seats fold easily into the floor and there is a really large amount of cargo space.
Something that you will also notice in the new Mazda CX-9 cabin is quite a tall centre console. This works really well and provides easy reach to the important controls.
The cabin, overall, really is a nicely executed exercise by Mazda. There has definitely been a focus on a premium feel and even in the base-model Sports-grade it was quiet, comfortable and well-appointed.
How well appointed? Well, the entry-level CX-9 Sport boasts:
- Three-zone climate control
- 7” touchscreen
- Siz-speaker stereo
- Blind-spot monitor
- Push-button ignition
- Tilt and reach steering adjustment
- Rear parking sensors
- Reverse camera
- Rear cross traffic alert
It also comes standard with attractive 18” alloy wheels and Yokohama tyres.
As we reported on Monday, the Mazda CX-9 launches with a full five-star ANCAP safety rating.
Summing it up; I spent my day with the new 2017 Mazda CX-9 trying to find something that I didn’t like about it, I didn’t.
As far as family cars are concerned, especially those families who like a more premium look and feel, well I just don’t think it can be beaten.
I have the new Mazda CX-9 booked for a full week road test and review in a couple of weeks and I look forward to utilizing it as a family vehicle, maybe this will show up a shortcoming or two? Maybe, but on what I’ve seen so far, maybe not.
So look out Kluger, Mazda has a potential top-seller on its hands here.
NUTS and BOLTS – 2016 Mazda CX-9
Engine: 2.5 litre turbo-petrol producing 170kW/420Nm
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
Safety: Five stars
Warranty: Three years
Price: from $42,490