Mazda CX-9 ramps up the lux­ury

Pilbara News - - Motoring - Derek Og­den

To most peo­ple, af­ford­able lux­ury in a ve­hi­cle would seem as far out of reach as a win­ning lot­tery ticket.

But there are those who are for­tu­nate enough to know the feel­ing of it.

Enough, in­deed, for Mazda to cater for th­ese lucky folks with its lux­ury CX-9. Now, the im­porter has just landed a su­per-lux­ury ver­sion of the CX-9, the Azami LE, Down Un­der.

What’s more, the new seven-seat “palace” on wheels will set back its buyer a mere $1500 — petty cash — over the ex­ist­ing Azami range-top­per. Mazda Aus­tralia man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Vi­nesh Bhindi said the new Mazda CX-9 de­fined a new mean­ing for af­ford­able lux­ury.

Azami LE in­tro­duces a new and lux­u­ri­ous in­te­rior trim, fea­tur­ing wood high­lights, while Azami and Azami LE grades add the 360de­gree view mon­i­tor, heated steer­ing wheel and front seat ven­ti­la­tion.

Mazda also took the op­por­tu­nity to make im­prove­ments across the CX-9 range with An­droid Auto and Ap­ple CarPlay con­nec­tiv­ity for all grades, Ac­tivSense safety tech­nolo­gies now stan­dard across all mod­els and re­vised sus­pen­sion, steer­ing and NVH re­duc­tion.

I be­came a pam­pered per­son for a week with an Azami LE AWD, which sells for $66,490, plus on­road costs, and made the best of ev­ery minute.

Mazda CX-9 has a re­strained trape­zoidal ra­di­a­tor grille slot­ting in neatly be­tween the LED head­lamps, the only hint of ex­trav­a­gance be­ing a bold Mazda badge in the cen­tre.

At more than 5m long, the CX-9 is far from bulky in looks. The use of 20-inch wheels with a bold de­sign im­part a mod­ern no-non­sense look to the high-end wagon.

As be­fits any flag­ship the Azami LE in­te­rior is some­thing spe­cial and of­fers the most so­phis­ti­cated Mazda CX-9 cabin yet. For ex­am­ple, seats are clothed in a deep red, Chroma Brown nappa leather.

Tim­ber dec­o­ra­tive pan­els on the doors and cen­tre con­sole, which is framed by el­e­gant am­bi­ent LED light­ing, add a premium touch, while a more min­i­mal­ist over­head con­sole de­sign and hand-crafted box stitch­ing on the leather wrapped steer­ing wheel com­plete the high-end char­ac­ter of the ve­hi­cle.

Fi­nally, Azami and Azami LE grades boost com­fort with ven­ti­lated front seats, new heated steer­ing wheel and plusher cush­ion­ing on the cen­tre arm­rest.

The Mazda CX-9 is the first SUV in Mazda Aus­tralia’s line-up to add Ap­ple CarPlay and An­droid Auto.

Azami and Azami LE also adopt new equip­ment, in­clud­ing Mazda’s 360-de­gree View mon­i­tor, a 7-inch TFT LCD mon­i­tor in the cen­tre of the in­stru­ment panel, frame­less rear-vi­sion mir­ror and wind­screen de-icer.

At the heart of Mazda’s MZD Con­nect in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem is the big com­man­der con­trol knob on the cen­tre con­sole sur­rounded by a se­lec­tion of switches.

No skit­tish touch­pad here to test the driver’s pa­tience.

The CX-9 is fit­ted with a tur­bocharged petrol en­gine, pro­duc­ing 170kW at 5000rpm and 420Nm at 2000rpm. It re­lies on a com­pre­hen­sive suite of safety tech­nolo­gies as stan­dard across the range, in­clud­ing lane keep as­sist, traf­fic sign recog­ni­tion, lane de­par­ture warn­ing, blind spot mon­i­tor­ing, rear cross traf­fic alert, smart brake sup­port and smart city brake sup­port (for­ward/re­verse).

From the warm wel­come of key­less en­try, ease of ac­cess to all three rows of seats and push-but­ton start, the wagon con­tin­ued to ex­hibit com­fort and qual­ity.

At more than 5m long, slowspeed ma­noeu­vring and park­ing could have been a prob­lem but tech­ni­cal as­sis­tance from sound and vis­ual warn­ings took away the stress.

Sus­pen­sion and steer­ing changes have re­sulted in greater re­fine­ment and more lin­ear damp­ing re­sponses, even at low speeds and on all road sur­faces, of­fer­ing smooth, stable ve­hi­cle be­haviour.

Noise, vi­bra­tion and harsh­ness lev­els have been fur­ther im­proved.

Mazda rates the AWD Azami LE com­bined fuel con­sump­tion at 8.8 litres per 10km.

How­ever, the test ve­hi­cle used be­tween 7.1L and 13L/100km on a typ­i­cal mix of run­ning.

The Mazda CX-9 is bet­ter look­ing than the clumpy Kluger, more spa­cious than the Sorento and has more kit than the Aca­dia.

Say no more.

Sleek with the lat­est in tech­nol­ogy, the Azami LE takes the CX-9 to a new level of lux­ury.

The Azami LE in­te­rior is the most so­phis­ti­cated Mazda CX-9 cabin ever.

Noise, vi­bra­tion and harsh­ness lev­els have been im­proved.

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