Mazda recently announced their CX-9 sport utility vehicle will be back for its sophomore model year, with an unchanged MSRP of $31,520 when it reaches showrooms later this month. Sounds like a good deal already, but, of course, Mazda being Mazda, has done some tweaking and improving here and there.
The entry version of Mazda’s CX-9 is dubbed the Sport trim level. The Sport version comes standard with LED headlights and taillights as well as fabric seating surfaces.
The parking brake is, sadly, electronic, so no hand-brake turns in snowy parking lots for you mister. Also standard are 18-inch wheels, a rear backup camera, trailer stability assist, MAZDA CONNECT infotainment with Commander control, and a 7-inch color display. I have no idea what “Commander control” might be, but it sounds a tad over the top and compensating.
All the other stuff is pretty self explanatory. Trailer stability assist sounds like a wonderful idea for anyone who’s messed around with trailers, especially in cross winds, slippery roads, and stuff like that. The MAZDA CONNECT infotainment is one of those centralized data platforms within the car. Everything from your tunes, phone, navigation, and the like run through the system.
The rear backup camera also seems to be a very good thing to have, and lots of car companies are touting them at the moment. If you go for the Sport trim level, you can also opt for the Sport Package (that doesn’t sound too confusing), which adds a power driver’s seat, heated front seats, and heated door mirrors. Nice for those of you in winter climes and/or ski-bum types.
Further up the food chain lives the CX-9 Touring where you get an auto-dimming rearview mirror, Blind Spot Monitoring with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert, and SCBS (that’s Smart City Brake Support, which is one of those contraptions that hits the brakes for you when you’re not paying attention, you dolt).
You also get a selection of black-or sand-colored leather seating surfaces.
HomeLink garage door openers, Mazda Advanced Keyless Entry System, a power liftgate, power front seats, and an 8-inch MAZDA CONNECT touchscreen display round out the options, all of which seem fairly attractive.
If you tick the box for the Touring Premium Package (again Mazda, confusing naming conventions here), you get automatic headlights, LED fog lights, navigation, and a premium 12-speaker Bose audio system that will get you Felix Pappalardi levels of hearing damage I bet. Rain-sensing wipers, rear backup sensors, second-row retractable sunshades, SiriusXM satellite radio, and a sunroof are also included.
Next up comes the Grand Touring were you get all the icing from the Sport and Touring trim levels. Here you get an Adaptive Front-Lighting System, 20-inch wheels, aluminum interior trim (nice!), and Mazda’s first Active Driving Display that projects instrument and navigation information onto the windshield (essentially a HUD). There is a high-beam control (I assume that’s automatic), lane-departure warning (because you can’t pay attention, can you?), lane-keep assist (you really can’t pay attention, can you?), and Mazda Radar Cruise Control with Smart Brake Support.
Finally, a set of roof rails and memory settings on the driver’s seat finish off the Grand Touring.
And at the very apex sits the CX-9 Signature that comes with standard predictive i-ACTIV all-wheel drive. That would be 27 sensors, busily working away, measuring conditions more than 200 times per second, to govern how to allocate power to each wheel so you never feel them slip.
On the inside, the CX-9 Signature is adorned with Auburn-colored Nappa leather, rosewood supplied by Japanese guitar-maker Fujigen, LED signature accent grille lighting, and LED accent lighting around the automatic shifter.
Regardless of which model you choose, all power comes from Mazda’s turbocharged SKYACTIV-G 2.5T engine. That plant produces 250 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque on 93-octane gasoline (227 horsepower on 87-octane if you’re a cheapskate). Fuel economy? A class-leading EPA rating of 22/28 city/highway and 24 combined for front-wheel-drive configurations. The engine is teamed up with a standard SKYACTIV-DRIVE six-speed automatic.
Starting price of $31,520 USD and finishing off just under $38,000 USD if you go full-boat and get every option available. Not bad at all.
Tony Borroz has spent his entire life racing antique and sports cars. He means well, even if he has a bias towards lighter, agile cars rather than big engine muscle cars or family sedans.