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2020 Mazda CX-9 - 2 Mazda CX-9 gets updated for 2020: More tech, comfort, GVC Plus

Mazda Australia has announced some specification updates for their CX-9 SUV. Although the big family wagon was facelifted only a year ago, the 2020 year model brings greater functionality, safety, mild styling tweaks and new pricing (detailed at the end of this article).

The CX-9 range continues to span wide; there’s the Sport FWD model for $45,920 (driveaway pricing not yet available) that offers affordable family transport. But of course, there’s the range-topping Azami AWD with swisher materials and experience to rival more expensive competitors at $69,303 (driveaway pricing not yet available).

For 2020, Mazda’s large SUV will continue to pitch itself as more premium family transport than the likes of Kia’s Sorento, Toyota’s Kluger and Holden’s Acadia.

2020 Mazda CX-9 - 4

Several concessions have been made for third-row occupants with the 2020 update; USB ports are now found back there to provide maximum tablet life. Ingress has been improved with a switch that electronically tilts second-row seats forward, but make sure to keep an eye on kids who might like to squash their ‘friends’.

Upfront there is now a larger 9-inch colour digital screen, it’s not touch-operated though, it’s still controlled by Mazda’s rotary dial interface. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard across the range.

Although pitched more at inner-city families, the CX-9 still needs to offer some rugged capability. For 2020 the big SUV gets an off-road traction assist system, we presume with different settings to suit sandy, icy or rocky conditions, only available on all-wheel drive variants.

2020 Mazda CX-9 - 5

We doubt whether that’s enough to make the CX-9 a true off-roader but we’ll have to get one to test ourselves.

More driving tech arrives, the whole range gets Mazda’s much-lauded GVC Plus safety system which vectors torque – though not through a differential or brakes – to provide confident, safe handling in all conditions.

More safety feature updates for 2020 include an auto-hold function for the electronic handbrake to prevent roll-back on steep inclines and an AEB system updated with night-time pedestrian detection.

2020 Mazda CX-9 - 6

Comfort features are improved too, with a hands-free tailgate (yes, we know they often don’t work that well!) as standard. There’s a new key, too, it’s classier and borrowed from the Mazda 3.

To simplify the line-up Mazda Australia has dropped the range-topping Azami LE model $68,523 ($74,397 driveaway), although the regular Azami AWD variant $69,303 (driveaway pricing not yet available) gains soft Nappa Leather.

That Nappa leather can be optioned in two lovely colours – Walnut Brown or Pure White – both contrasted against dominant black.

2020 Mazda CX-9 - 3

To round off the small updates we see an updated CX-9 badge which matches the fresh-faced Mazda 3, as well as new 18-inch wheels for lower and 20-inch items for upper-range variants.

Pricing is similar to the 2019 model year but does fluctuate across the range – some variants are up, some down, check the list below for full details. The updated 2020 CX-9 is available now.

2020 Mazda CX-9 - 1

2020 Mazda CX-9 Pricing

All prices are before driveaway costs.

CX-9 Sport FWD $45,920 (down $500)
CX-9 Sport AWD $49,920 (down $500)

CX-9 Touring FWD $53,310 (up $350)
CX-9 Touring AWD $57,310 (up $350)

CX-9 GT FWD $61,720 (up $600)
CX-9 GT AWD $65,720 (up $600)

CX-9 Azami FWD $64,893 (up $2,133
CX-9 Azami AWD $69,303 (up $2,543)

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2018 Mazda 6 Touring diesel badge Mazda believes diesel engines “will make a comeback for sure”

Japanese automaker Mazda has issued another strong commitment to diesel engine technology. According to Mazda’s global head of powertrain development Eiji Nakai, the race away from diesel by some manufacturers is premature.

“Diesel engines will make a comeback, for sure,” Mr Nakai told Chasing Cars at a drive of the brand’s new Skyactiv-X petrol engine in Germany this month. The Skyactiv-X uses compression ignition – a hallmark of diesel engines – to lower fuel economy, and in many ways, is seen as an engine that combines classic petrol and diesel characteristics.

Mazda CX-30 front end
The new Mazda CX-30 has a diesel in Europe, but it isn’t coming to Australia.

“The benefit of a diesel is its specific heat ratio, and diesel engine technology already has this ability,” Mr Nakai said, referring to the significant work that Mazda invested into achieving particularly lean burn characteristics in the Skyactiv-X engine.

“Sometimes people have bad impressions of diesel engines,” Mr Nakai said. “However, we’ll continue to improve [diesels], and wipe away those bad impressions.”

Mazda managing executive for powertrain development Ichiro Hirose confirmed to Chasing Cars last year that Mazda had no plan to phase out diesel engines.

2019 Mazda CX-5 Akera Soul Red Crystal front 3/3 detail
Diesel power maintains solid demand in the CX-5 SUV.

Earlier this year the brand confirmed to media that not only would diesel not be phased out, but development of new-generation diesel engines was underway, including in six-cylinder form.

“We look forward to new diesels,” Mr Nakai said in Frankfurt this month.

The company’s newest diesel, a 1.8-litre turbocharged four-cylinder unit producing 85kW/270Nm, is available in Australia in the CX-3 small SUV, though takeup in that vehicle is low – around 2.5%. That was too low to justify bringing the new CX-30 diesel to Australia, Mazda sources say.

2018 Mazda CX-8 Asaki side
The CX-8 seven-seater is diesel only…

A larger 2.2-litre twin-turbocharged four-cylinder diesel is something of a staple in the Mazda lineup, available in the CX-5 and CX-8 SUVs. This engine, which produces 140kW/450Nm, makes up around 12% of CX-5 sales while the three-row CX-8 is diesel only.

Mazda is developing two inline six-cylinder engines at present – one gasoline and one diesel. The diesel unit will be turbocharged, and we predict it will produce around 190kW/550Nm in production form. 

2019 Mazda CX-9 Azami LE Machine Grey side driving
…mainly because of the lack of a diesel CX-9. A six-cylinder could solve that.

Though it is not currently known which vehicles will receive the six-cylinder diesel engine, the CX-9 SUV would be a prime candidate. Mazda have previously ruled out the 2.2-litre four-cylinder diesel for the CX-9 due to inadequate power.

Mazda’s head of product planning Hiroyuki Matsumoto told Chasing Cars that the six-cylinder engine family was currently under development and would be released “as soon as possible.”

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