mazda-cx-9-skyactiv-2-5-11

The new Mazda CX-9 had been expected to surface by the end of 2016, and as promised, Mazda distributor Bermaz has given the media a preview of its flagship SUV, the bigger sibling of the popular CX-5. However, the second-generation CX-9 will only be launched in June 2017. It will be a CBU import from Japan, but Bermaz is exploring the possibility of CKD local assembly and exports (Thailand gets its CX-5s from Malaysia).

Revealed at the LA Auto Show late last year, the new CX-9 is styled in the now familiar Kodo design language Mazda has pushed over the past few years. No surprises, but design highlights include the wide, square jaw and chrome bar linking the tail lamps.

The seven-seater SUV (50:50 third row, 60:40 second row) no longer shares underpinnings with Ford, and has a slightly smaller footprint than before – but at 5,075 mm long and 1,969 mm wide, it won’t be confused for a CX-5. The overhangs have been trimmed, and the 2,930 mm wheelbase is 55 mm longer than before.

mazda-cx-9-skyactiv-2-5-31

Similarly, the interior is all new, featuring a dashboard layout that’s typically modern Mazda, with three deep-set dials and a free-standing display in the centre of the dash. Age aside, the materials used in the original CX-9 was quite some way from the premium standard, and this is an area that has been significantly improved.

The design isn’t the only big shift for the CX-9 – gone is the big naturally-aspirated V6 engine and in comes a downsized turbo motor. Mazda’s SkyActiv-G 2.5T is a direct-injection turbocharged engine with both i-stop and i-ELOOP tech.

The four-cylinder unit makes 250 hp/420 Nm in the US, and 228 hp/420 Nm in Australia. It has what Mazda calls Dynamic Pressure Turbo – which varies exhaust pulsation depending on engine speed – to help reduce turbo lag. The 2.5T is mated to a six-speed Skyactiv torque converter auto gearbox. Malaysia will get both front-wheel drive and high-spec AWD variants.

mazda-cx-9-skyactiv-2-5-5

The big Mazda is strong in safety, and has been awarded a five-star rating by the Australasian NCAP. Six airbags aside, there’s Blind Spot Monitoring (BSM), Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA) and Smart City Braking Support (SCBS) and Mazda Radar Cruise Control (MRCC), now with a Stop & Go function to handle stop-start traffic. All are part of i-ActiveSense.

Kit wise, things that are available include an eight-inch touchscreen for the MZD Connect infotainment system, a 12-speaker Bose premium sound system and a revised Active Driving Display head-up display that is now full-colour and projects directly to the windscreen. Aside from speed and driver assist warnings, the HUD now includes a rev counter and navigation.

Also available are a sunroof, powered tailgate, three-zone air con and LED headlamps. Note that these are all the toys available for the model, and the Malaysian spec has not yet been finalised. The car shown here is from Australia and does not reflect what we will get, which will be off a higher spec, Bermaz boss Datuk Seri Ben Yeoh said. Stay tuned.




GALLERY: Mazda CX-9 in Japan