MINOR UPDATE, A PEACHY TURBO, BEST TO WAIT FOR THE 2021 MODEL: 2020 MAZDA CX-9
In a challenging segment with urbanized wagons, the mid-sized, three-row family crossover from Mazda is, without a doubt, aging gracefully. As the CX-9 starts to end its fourth year in production, some minor updates occur for its 2020 model year… try and spot them.
If things from the outside look the same, then yes, you are correct. The CX-9 keeps to its genuine Mazda signature styling for the moment as most of the changes occur under the hood and behind closed doors. Significantly, the biggest change comes from its 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine as its boost its torque figure to 320lb-ft from the previous 310. It’s not enough that it’ll be noticed but it’s enough to keep up with the hustle and bustle of daily living. The CX-9 however is one of the few vehicles on the road that drink different kinds of fuel depending on how deep your pockets want to extend and how much performance you’d expect from your family vehicle. Should one fuel up using premium fuel, it’ll produce 250-horsepower and scoot to 60-mph in about 7-seconds. Choose to use regular fuel and the figure drops to 227-horsepower and back to 310lb-ft of torque.
Behind the scenes the CX-9 is poise and subtle. Its six-speed automatic sustains smoothness when sliding into the next gear. The turbo is an early spooler as manages to hit right off the line – keep the foot to the floor and we start to notice some of its eagerness teeter off around 5,000-rpms. Geared for fuel efficiency, it manages to match the EPA combined fuel consumption rating by getting 23-miles to the gallon combined during our duration. Having the mojo of a big comfy crossover, its suspension doesn’t quite follow the refinement of the chassis. With the chassis feeling more in line for handling support that suits the electrically boosted steering wheel, the suspension on the hand tends to follow the motion of the ocean.
Inside, follow suit of the exterior as most of the CX-9 goes heavily unchanged. The interior remains attractive with plenty of premium offerings and finishes. Featuring a slightly larger 8-inch touch screen system, the Mazda Connect infotainment system remains cumbersome to use through the rotary knob on the center console. Besides, the 2021 CX-9 will be upgraded with an even larger 10.25-inch widescreen display. Another significant change that catches the wondering eye effect the second row with premium lounge like approach as it features captain’s chairs. Coming standard on the top spec’d Signature, the captain’s chairs are a no additional cost option on the Touring and Grand Touring models.
Despite aging gracefully, these sustainably minor changes may play a big disadvantage in the rapidly evolving crossover segment. With the Kia Telluride, Hyundai Palisade, Ford Explorer and Toyota Highlander all being fairly new for 2019 and 2020, Mazda might have to do just a bit more to get buyers through their doors.
VEHICLE: 2020 MAZDA CX-9 SIGNATURE
BASE PRICE: $33,890
AS-TESTED PRICE: $46,115
ENGINE: 2.5-LITER TURBOCHARGED FOUR-CYLINDER
HP | TORQUE: 250-HP | 320LB-FT OF TORQUE
TRANSMISSION: 6-SPEED AUTOMATIC
DRIVETRAIN: ALL-WHEEL DRIVE
MPG: 20 | 26 | 23 (CITY | HIGHWAY | COMBINED)
AS TESTED MPG: 20.9-MPG COMBINED
FUEL RANGE: 360-MILES
0-60 MPH: ±7.0 SECONDS