The more refined and efficient new CX-9 seven-seater, which premieres Mazda’s new SkyActiv turbocharged petrol engine, is shaping up as a much more aggressive rival to the Toyota Kluger and Hyundai Santa Fe than the outgoing car.
Though the second-generation CX-9’s local launch is still six weeks away, Mazda Australia has taken 55,000 “potential purchase leads”, about 25 per cent of whom have requested to be contacted by a Mazda sales representative.
For context, never has there been so much pre-launch interest in a Mazda model, with CX-9 numbers surpassing the record 34,000 leads and 9700 priority call requests recorded for new Mazda MX-5 prior to its showroom debut in August last year.
The interest bodes well for Mazda. Though the much bigger-selling CX-3 and CX-5 SUV models usually top their segments, the CX-9 has been a more modest hit, never really coming close to its main crossover rival, the Kluger, in the booming large SUV market.
The news comes as the first shipment of brand new Mazda CX-9s arrived in Australia ahead of the July launch. The 60 Japan-made vehicles docked in Melbourne are scheduled for use at the national media launch, followed by a Mazda Dealer event.
When the 2016 Mazda CX-9 goes on sale it will be available in four grades for the first time, including the entry-level Sport, mid-grade Touring, high-spec GT and flagship grade Azami.
The new CX-9 is powered exclusively by the 2.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine producing 170kW of power (at 5000rpm) and 420Nm of torque (at 2000rpm). It has Mazda‘s i-stop engine stop-start system, as well as i-ELOOP, the capacitor-based brake regeneration system that stores energy to help the car save fuel.
There’s no diesel option available, which could rule the CX-9 out for some family buyers. But the petrol version offers class-leading petrol consumption of 8.4 litres per 100 kilometres for the front-drive model and 8.8L/100km for the AWD model – that’s a drop of about 25 per cent over the existing model, which was sold solely with a 3.7-litre petrol V6.
The brand says the new CX-9 will be offered with a range of safety technology that fall under its i-Activsense banner, likely including blind-spot monitoring, land departure warning, rear cross-traffic alert and autonomous emergency braking. A reverse-view camera and parking sensors are expected to be standard across the range, and the CX-9 has airbag coverage for all three rows of seats.
Full Australian pricing and specifications will come in early July at the local launch.
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