Make: Mazda

Model: CX9

Variant: Azami

Engine / Transmission: 2.5 litre in-line 4 cylinder 16-valve petrol turbo engine 

Manufacturer Claimed Fuel Economy: 8.4l/100km combined

Price: From $66,485

First Impressions:

I’m not usually a fan of SUVs, but this one looks great, sitting low on big rims. It’s a Mazda, so you just know it’s going to be beautifully built. After living with the CX9 for a week, I can thoroughly recommend that it makes your family car shopping shortlist. 

Tech Inside: 

Being the Azami, it has all the fruit and this thing is loaded. Adaptive LED headlights, front and read aircon, USB chargers everywhere, head up display, radar cruise, heated steering wheel, heated seats front and rear (cooled too, in the front), Apple Carplay, Bose premium sound, 360 degree camera, lane keep assist, traffic sign recognition… Like I said, this is the Works Burger. 

Most Impressive:

It’s hard not to be impressed by the level of fit and finish on a Mazda. They really know how to make an owner feel a little bit special, but for me, the standout feature of this car is the Skyactive six speed transmission. Mazda says, “Skyactive Drive is a six-speed automatic transmission that combines the best aspects of the Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT), dual-clutch automated manual transmission, and traditional automatic transmission”. All I know is that it is snappier than a traditional automatic transmission, doesn’t drone as much as a CVT transmission and is easier to live with than a full DSG transmission. I like it. 

Not So Impressive :

My main gripes with the CX9 might seem trivial, but after living with the Azami for a week, I think they are worth noting. The black piano trim around the gear shift looks fantastic, but I am petrified that one of the kids will scratch it. My own fingerprints mark it bad enough. 

Secondly, the tailgate, while automatic with a hands free option, doesn’t open high enough. I’m a six footer and I continually wacked my head on it.