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by Tim Beissmann

The 2011 Mazda CX-9 will become considerably more affordable from the end of next month when Mazda Australia introduces a front-wheel drive variant of the seven-seater family SUV.

The new entry-level model in the range will be the Classic FWD, which will replace the current Mazda CX-9 Classic AWD. Priced from $44,425, the new front-wheel drive model will be $5590 cheaper than the outgoing Classic all-wheel drive.

There will be no equipment changes to any of the FWD models, meaning the Classic FWD will come standard with 18-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, rain sensing wipers, cruise control, three-zone climate control, LCD display screen and reversing camera.

The CX-9 Luxury FWD will be $4500 cheaper than the AWD model, while the Luxury FWD with satellite navigation is $4908 cheaper (with Luxury Car Tax factored in).

The Luxury models are equipped with 20-inch alloy wheels, tilt and slide sunroof, electric leather seats with memory, 10-speaker premium Bose audio system, among other features.

The sat-nav package includes seven-inch touchscreen display and Bluetooth with audio streaming.

The front-wheel drive models will be marginally more fuel efficient than the all-wheel drives. Combined cycle fuel consumption from the 204kW/366Nm 3.7-litre V6 petrol engine is 11.0 litres/100km for the CX-9 FWD and 11.2 litres/100km for the CX-9 AWD (a 0.1 litre/100km improvement for the AWD models).

The 2011 Mazda CX-9 FWD will arrive in Australian showrooms by the end of July.

Mazda Australia expects the revised CX-9 line-up will give its seven-seat SUV a boost at the showroom.

Mazda Australia’s Steve Maciver said the brand expects sales to increase to around 500 per month (from an average of 266 per month so far this year), with a break-up of front-wheel drive to all-wheel drive models to be about 50:50.

So far this year, CX-9 sales are down 28.4 percent compared with the same time last year (1331 vs 1859). Its share of the medium SUV segment has fallen from 5.3 percent to 4.4 percent.

2011 Mazda CX-9 manufacturer’s list prices (includes Luxury Car Tax where applicable, excludes other government and dealer charges):

  • Classic FWD – $44,425
  • Luxury FWD – $51,725
  • Luxury AWD – $56,225
  • Luxury FWD with Sat Nav – $54,325
  • Luxury AWD with Sat Nav – $59,233
  • Grand Touring AWD – $62,106



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