- 2021 Mazda CX-9 updated for the new year
- Azami LE flagship returns with 'captain's chairs' second row, unique styling
- GT SP and 100th Anniversary variants join the range
- Larger 10.25-inch infotainment screen, new colours for rest of the range
- Priced from $45,990 plus on-road costs to $73,875 plus on-road costs
The 2021 Mazda CX-9 has seen a mild update for the new year, adding new variants and updating the seven-seat family SUV's roster of interior features and infotainment technology.
Headlining the CX-9's 2021 updates is the introduction of three new variants: Azami LE, GT SP and the limited-run 100th Anniversary Special Edition.
The Azami LE (pictured throughout) returns for MY21 as the flagship of the Mazda CX-9 range after a year-long hiatus, priced from $73,875 before on-road costs with standard-fit all-wheel drive.
Leading the list of additional features to help justify the LE's $3250 premium over the all-wheel-drive 'regular' Azami are electrically-adjustable, heated and ventilated 'captain's chairs' for the second row separated by a centre console, which feature 'one-touch' electric access to the third row (a carry-over from standard three-abreast second-row-equipped CX-9 models).
Other additions include unique quilted nappa leather trim for the first and second rows (available in Walnut Brown or Pure White), 'redesigned' aluminium interior trim, a new 20-inch alloy wheel design, new Titanium Grey metallic front grille and larger dual exhaust tips.
Slotting in between the GT and the Azami twins is the new-for-2021, sport-look CX-9 GT SP, priced from $63,490 and $67,490 in front- and all-wheel-drive forms respectively.
For just $500 more than the equivalent GT variants on which they are based, the GT SP adds a dark gunmetal front grille, black mirror caps, black 20-inch alloy wheels, black interior 'decoration panels', burgundy leather trim and red contrast stitching for the steering wheel, door cards, centre console and armrests.
Rounding out the roster of new variants is the CX-9 100th Anniversary Special Edition, built to celebrate Mazda's 100th anniversary, priced from $72,575 before on-road costs.
Limited to just 110 units for Australia, the 100th Anniversary Special Edition can be differentiated from standard models via its Snowflake White Pearl Mica exterior and burgundy nappa leather interior, inspired by the white and burgundy colour scheme of Mazda's first passenger car, the 1960 R360.
Other unique features include 'deep red' carpet and floor mats, and 100th Anniversary Special Edition badging on the front fenders, key fob, wheel centre centre caps, seat headrests and floor mats.
Alongside the addition of the three new variants, the wider 2021 Mazda CX-9 range has seen upgrades to its technology suite.
Leading the updates is the addition of a new 10.25-inch infotainment display, which runs the Japanese brand's latest 'Mazda Connect' operating system (shared with the Mazda 3 and CX-30), featuring Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring.
Mazda claims the new system boots up more quickly than its predecessor, while a shift from analog to digital signalling improves screen resolution and sound quality.
However, the larger screen is fitted only to GT models and above, with lower-spec Sport and Touring models retaining their 7.0-inch and 9.0-inch displays respectively, running the old MZD Connect infotainment system.
Touring and above grades gain paddle shifters for the six-speed automatic transmission, while GT variants and above gain a wireless smartphone charging pad for the first time.
Polymetal Grey joins the CX-9's range of available exterior colours, which currently comprises Snowflake White Pearl Mica, Sonic Silver Metallic, Soul Red Crystal Metallic, Machine Grey Metallic, Titanium Flash Mica (brown), Deep Crystal Blue Mica and Jet Black Mica.
Inside, black cloth trim is standard on entry-level Sport models, with Touring and GT models upgrading to black leather upholstery – the latter variant also offering Natural Stone (cream) or new-for-2021 Beige tones.
Rich Burgundy adorns the aforementioned GT SP's interior, while flagship Azami and Azami LE grades offer a choice of Pure White and Walnut Brown nappa leather.
A full suite of active safety technologies continues to be standard across the entire CX-9 range, including forward and reverse autonomous emergency braking (with night-time pedestrian detection), adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go, lane-keep assist, lane departure warning, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and driver attention monitoring.
All models traffic-sign recognition, high-beam assist and six airbags: dual front, front side and curtain.
As a refresher, carry-over standard features from the base CX-9 Sport up include 18-inch alloy wheels, automatic LED headlights, tri-zone climate control, push-button start, rear parking sensors, satellite navigation, rain-sensing wipers, DAB+ digital radio, six-speaker sound system, tyre pressure monitoring, an electric parking brake and the aforementioned infotainment and safety suite.
Touring variants add the aforementioned black leather trim, power-adjustable, eight-way heated driver and six-way non-heated passenger seats, front parking sensors, keyless entry, LED fog lamps, rear centre armrest and the aforementioned paddle shifters.
GT models gain 20-inch alloy wheels, a hands-free power-operated tailgate, power sliding sunroof, 10-way power-adjustable driver's seat, front seat memory functionality, heated outboard rear seats, a 12-speaker Bose premium sound system, chrome glovebox trim and USB ports for the third row.
Slotting below the newly-introduced Azami LE is the 'regular' Azami model, which compared to GT models adds adaptive LED headlights, ventilated front seats, heated steering wheel, frameless rear-view mirror, 7.0-inch TFT instrument cluster display, 360-degree camera, ambient LED cabin lighting, a box-stitched steering wheel and wood 'decoration panels'.
No changes have been made to the CX-9's powertrain for 2021, with the 170kW/420Nm 2.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine carrying over into the new year.
A six-speed torque-converter automatic transmission is standard-fit, mated to front- or all-wheel-drive configurations, which claim combined fuel consumption figures of 8.4L/100km and 9.0L/100km respectively.
The 2021 Mazda CX-9 will go on sale in Australia in early 2021.
2021 Mazda CX-9 Australian pricing
- CX-9 Sport FWD – $45,990
- CX-9 Sport AWD – $49,990
- CX-9 Touring FWD – $53,490
- CX-9 Touring AWD – $57,490
- CX-9 GT FWD – $62,990
- CX-9 GT AWD – $66,990
- CX-9 GT SP FWD – $63,490
- CX-9 GT SP AWD – $67,490
- CX-9 Azami FWD – $66,190
- CX-9 Azami AWD – $70,625
- CX-9 Azami LE AWD – $73,875
- CX-9 100th Anniversary Special Edition AWD – $72,575