Working what seems like incessantly to keep their models up to date and fresh, Mazda is making some improvements to the CX-9 crossover once again. This time they’re splitting up the back seats, adding more torque, and giving it some more off-road capability.
All-new for 2016, the CX-9 got G-Vectoring control, added active safety tech, and a revised second row of seats for 2018. In 2019, it was new cameras, a digital instrument cluster, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and ventilated front seats on the top spec. For 2020, Mazda is starting with an upgraded engine. The 2.5L turbo-four now makes 10 lb-ft more than last year with 320. That’s on 93-octane gas, though, as the 310 rating was last year. Torque on the cheap swill is the same as last year’s 93-figure. Horsepower remains the same with 250 ponies on the good stuff and 227 on 87. It’s an unusual choice to quote power figures on the two types of fuel, but with 93 expensive or outright unavailable in much of the country, it’s appreciated. That engine continues with a six-speed auto and all-wheel drive standard across the board.
Mazda is adding a new off-road traction control system to the CX-9, the first time the automaker has offered it. Instead of a mode-button, though, it monitors wheelspin. When wheels diagonally opposed (say left front and right rear) lose grip, the off-road traction assist won’t reduce engine torque like traction control would do normally. Instead, it brakes the spinning wheels slightly harder, which sends power to the wheels with grip. Mazda is also adding the new G-Vectoring Control Plus that adds anti-roll compensation to the lift-throttle system that helps to make turn-in sharper, but now flatter.
GS-L, GT, and top Signature trims now get captain’s chairs for the second row of seats. That’s standard on Signature, a $300 option on the other two. The seats are heated, and give middle row occupants new armrests and a more personal space in which to sit.
Starting pricing actually falls by $100, though that’s GS AWD vs GS AWD. The now-gone front-drive GS was a bit cheaper, thanks to the fewer driven wheels. Pricing closer to the top of the line is the same as last year’s. The 2020 Mazda CX-9 goes on sale this fall.
CX-9 GS $39,900
CX-9 GS-L $43,300
CX-9 GT $48,500
CX-9 Signature $51,500