Mazda CX9 provides SUV roominess and comfort for six on the inside, with a sleek appearance that has high emotional appeal. This effect is created by a silhouette with a flat windscreen angle, thin tapered windows, large fenders and a rising belt line. At the front, the new CX9 emphasises power and build quality with a big front bumper, sleek headlamps with silver-look edges that wrap into the fenders, and a sculptured bonnet. The rear design features a five-point rear window and a large rear bumper for stability and strength. To this it adds sporty touches like a roof spoiler, dual trapezoidal exhaust pipes and 10-spoke, 20-inch aluminium alloy wheels (depending on market). Insightful details like the silver-look mouldings for the lamps, the chrome used for the grille bar and front intake areas and available turning signals in the side mirrors, all add a sense of prestige to owning a new Mazda CX9.
Interior Design - Roominess and Quality
Despite looking more like a sports car than an SUV on the outside, on the inside Mazda CX9 uses its full size - with a length of 5,089 mm, a width of 1,936 mm and height of 1,728 mm - to deliver SUV roominess, high quality craftsmanship and materials. Occupants are greeted by decorative, wood-like embellishments on each side of the centre console and at both ends of the dashboard. The cockpit has a driver cluster with black-out meters, indirect illumination and silver rings. Its leather seats (depending on market and grade) have a sporty look, are firm and durable, with high-quality stitching and are matched to trim materials with superior quality feel and silver accents throughout. Two interior colour packages are available, in either black or sand.
The new Mazda CX9 offers a long list of standard features. This includes an all-new 3.7-litre V6 engine coupled to a 6-speed automatic transmission with manual shift mode and Active Torque-Split all-wheel drive. Also available (depending on market) are a burglar alarm, privacy windows, power windows front and back, power adjustable and heated front seats and driver's seat memory function (for up to five settings). Other available features include three-zone heating and air conditioning, a premium BOSE®, 10 speaker 277 W audio system with Centerpoint® surround system and AudioPilot® noise compensation, rain sensor and auto light systems, and an Advanced keyless entry and start system for unlocking all four doors automatically from outside the car. The card key also operates the power rear liftgate. Combined with the high level of craftsmanship and build quality of Mazda's flagship SUV, and you have an overall package that stands out in the non-premium SUV segment.
Superior NVH for a Quiet Cabin
All these features can be enjoyed to the fullest, because CX9's cabin is designed to be quiet and relaxing, even at cruising speed on the motorway. Its new V6 engine and automatic transmission are smooth and quiet (see Powertrain below). And it supplements this with noise-suppressing foam applied at 22 locations in the body shell - the most of any Mazda vehicle ever - and various structural technologies which effectively dampen road and wind noise from reaching the cabin.
Roominess, Comfort and Seat Variability
The dynamic exterior of the Mazda CX9 is not achieved by sacrificing SUV comfort and seat flexibility. With one of the segment's longest wheelbases (2,875 mm), the Mazda CX9 offers space for a maximum of six people. The cockpit is designed to support this by being easy to use and practical. The steering wheel is both tilt and telescopically adjustable. The leather driver's seat is power adjustable for slide and height, has electric lumbar support adjustment and a seat position memory system that can store up to three different driving positions and two additional positions using the two card keys - and the front passenger seat is power adjustable as well. The shift lever of the six-speed automatic transmission is positioned high at the front of the floor console where it can be easily operated in either automatic or manual modes, and the steering wheel has audio controls and cruise control (depending on market). This is combined with large and comfortable back seats that can be folded individually to create a large load space. There is even a handy strap at the back of both third row seats that lets you fold them into the floor and lets you pull it back up again. And of course practical storage compartments can be found everywhere in the cabin. There is a large front floor console that comes with an auxiliary jack (AUX) for hooking up and playing an MP3 player using the car's premium audio system; and a 12-volt power outlet that can be used to recharge the batteries of your notebook, mobile phone and other electrical equipment.
Powertrain - Smooth and Powerful
The powertrain for the Mazda CX9 was chosen specifically to support the vehicle's high quality look and feel with an exhilarating yet sophisticated driving experience. Under the bonnet is a new MZI 3.7-litre V6 petrol engine that produces 204 kW/273 HP (SAE-NET) of maximum power at 6,250 rpm, and a robust 366 Nm of torque at 4,250 rpm - making it the most powerful engine in the Mazda line-up.
This 60° short-stroke V6 has a die-cast aluminium block with cast-in iron cylinder lines and aluminium cylinder heads - for minimal weight and high durability - and it adds advanced engine technologies to optimally combine performance with acceptable fuel consumption. These include sequential valve timing (S-VT) for optimised engine torque at all speeds. It also has a high compression ratio of 10.3:1 and electronic throttle control, which helps provides instant response to pedal input for lots of driving fun. Two catalytic converters make sure the Mazda CX9 meets Euro Stage IV emission standards.
Yet despite its fun-to-drive nature, the MZI 3.7-litre V6 has low NVH levels for a crossover SUV. To achieve this, a highly rigid cylinder block is used to reduce engine vibration, the side frame engine mounts are reinforced to reduce transmission vibration, and the forged-steel crankshaft has a dual-mass damper for smooth operation. Camshaft vibration is kept to a minimum by the use of sprockets with rubber cushion rings, and the intake manifold is designed to reduce intake air undulation and resistance.
Six-Speed Automatic Transmission with Manual Shift Mode
These engine technologies are combined with a six- speed automatic transmission with manual shift mode as standard equipment. This transmission provides an optimal balance between acceleration, ride comfort and quietness. Broad gear ratios ensure lively acceleration and smooth, powerful cruising speed, while the top two gears are laid out as overdrive, which helps save fuel when driving on the motorway. In automatic mode, it delivers a sporty shift feel and quick response to pedal input, and near manual-like shift characteristics in manual shift modes, for the best of both worlds.
Chassis & Safety - Responsive and Safe
Mazda CX9's stiff body shell and chassis systems - combined with the smooth, cultivated power of its V6 engine - make for an exciting driving experience not usually found on an SUV this size. And these superior dynamic attributes play a major role in making the CX9 something special in its class.
The Mazda CX9 body shell has a highly rigid structure in the lower body with multiple cross members under the floor, a reinforced upper body area at the C-pillar, a high-tensile steel B-pillar and special roof reinforcements. This structure is made even more robust by the incorporation of crossing seat frames between the cross member of the floor and by the use of more laser spot welds and weld bonds than most of its competitors. All this results in high torsional and flexural rigidity, which delivers superior stability and Zoom-Zoom handling - without making Mazda's flagship SUV unduly heavy.
Its McPherson strut front suspension uses a 6-point rubber mount perimeter frame. This gives strong support and a sharp, linear feel to its hydraulic power assist rack-and-pinion steering system. The multi-link rear suspension employs one trailing arm and two lateral locating members on each side, and a rear frame with two rubber mounts on each side. The connecting points of the trailing arms are placed higher than usual, which further improves their stability during braking. The link layout is optimised to provide consistent wheel alignment when external forces are acting on the rear suspension, for predictable handling.
Superior Traction - Mazda's Active Torque-Split All-Wheel Drive
A main contributor to the predictable handling of the Mazda CX9 is its Active Torque-Split All-Wheel Drive system that provides traction in all road situations. Based on the system used by the Mazda CX-7; it monitors road conditions, ABS/DSC operating conditions, wheel speed and engine operation to optimise torque between the front and rear wheels (between 100:0 and 50:50). Depending on these factors, the system automatically selects snow mode or normal mode, and torque is distributed to the front and rear wheels by the coupling unit for optimised traction.
High Levels of Safety
Mazda CX9 is also one of the safest SUVs. Active safety features include a high seating position for great all around visibility, large front and rear ventilated disc brakes (320 mm and 325 mm respectively) combined with roll stability control (RSC), ABS, emergency brake assist (EBA), electronic brake-force distribution (EBD) and DSC (depending on market and grade). The foundation for Mazda CX9's passive safety system is its body shell. Using high-tensile steel and large-section body members, it disperses impact energy away from the passengers and keeps body deformation to a minimum during a collision. Also onboard is a special front sub-frame extension designed to help prevent the front of the Mazda CX9 from climbing up the front of an on-coming vehicle in a head-on collision. Passengers are further protected by front, side and three- row curtain airbags (depending on market and grade), three-point seat belts with pretensioners and load-limiters for the front seats, a collapsible brake pedal and specially designed front head restraints that help reduce possible neck injuries during a rear impact. No wonder the Mazda CX9 received the highest possible ranking of five stars on frontal and side impact crash testing from the U.S. government's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and a four-star rollover resistance rating.