Mazda CX-9 ramps up the luxury
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.