Owner Review

2016 Mazda CX-9 Azami (FWD) review

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After reading Will's owner review of his parents' X5, and listening to him on the CarAdvice Podcast, I was tempted to write up a little owner review.

I'm 13 and have a strong interest in cars, but have been relatively quiet in the corner reading/watching the news, reviews and comments present on CarAdvice, YouTube and various magazines.

Often, I will annoy my parents by listing and discussing cars that I believe are the best, like when we were looking for a new car last year.

Stepping up from a troublesome (and recalling) 2012 Holden Captiva 7, I was looking at something like the downsized Skoda Superb 206 TSI Combi, VW Passat Highline Wagon/new Tiguan Highline or the Hyundai Tucson Highlander, but my parents were persistent on the upcoming Mazda CX-9, which I disliked at first.

But, after our dealership received its first batch of CX-9s and we took one for a test drive, I changed my mind, finding it was a great mix of luxury and quality no VAG (or any mainstream product) could offer at the price point.

After a few months of waiting we received our new CX-9 in to-spec Azami FWD form.

As I cannot drive the car, it is quite hard to review the engine and driving perspective, so I am obviously going from a back/passenger-seat opinion and for that reason the engine details won't really be relevant.

The MZD Connect system works excellent most of the time (had an issue where navigation got stuck on 'Loading Navigation' within hours of driving away from the dealership; luckily a restart fixed it and the dealer happily provided a software update for free, which seemed to kill the bug).

It does the important functions with ease, especially with the amazing rotary controller and while I would have loved CarPlay/Android Auto at launch, it was great news when Mazda announced all (hopefully) MZD Connect systems will receive these mirroring systems.

The navigation is fast and doesn't lag whilst driving, but yet again there were issues: Firstly, the maps are about three years behind where I live, but up-to-date five minutes up the road, WTF? Secondly, the British GPS woman would say 'Town Entry Point' five times at once every time you entered a township, which got quite annoying, however we shut her up by turning off Traffic Assistance.

All in all, it seems MZD Connect can be good when it's good, but bad when it's bad! Now to the comfort side of things.

The leather seats are comfy, and the front heated seats are a nice addition, however ventilated seats and rear heated seats from the Mazda 6 and next-gen CX-5 (for some reason not available in Australian spec) would have been extra nice! Speaking of the rear, the second row customisable climate zone is good, as well as the USB charge ports. Boot space and interior room is good, but that can be said for the size of the car.

Mazda has come a long way, and you can not fault one bit of the car, it is amazingly luxurious, although that can't be said for the door seals, which have moved into the side of the door, meaning there is a small gap, but that's what happens when you buy the first version of a new generation, so it's not really an issue.

Ride comfort is impeccable, and NVH is okay, but an amazing improvement over the Holden GM Korea Daewoo. Once again the CX-9 misses out on of some things included in even more recent Mazdas such as G-Vectoring Control, but is it just a marketing gimmick, who knows, it could've come in handy!

The amount of safety is just speechless, the list of features available as standard on the CX-9 is amazing, even on the 'base' Sport model you get AEB in forward and R]reverse, blind-spot alert and rear cross-traffic alert on top of the standard stuff. Our Azami tops that with much more such as lane departure warning with warning/correction and radar cruise control with stop and go, which will, on top of cruise control, keep the car a safe distance from the car in front.

Maybe it's the way my parents drive, but the AEB system can be a bit sensitive, telling you to BRAKE, BRAKE, BRAKE on the head-up display when the stopped car in front is at least 30 metres away (I guess it's getting you prepared for a possible accident) and the car will slam on the brakes as we approach our automatic garage door if driven up the driveway a bit too quick, so you have to be extra wary.

Just touching on the engine and driving, the fuel economy, far out, I know the claimed is never right but on highway driving it sits on average around 9.8 up from the claimed 8.2, and around town it is about 10.5, even on premium petrol. Speaking of fuel, the 2.2L SkyActiv diesel would have been nice addition to the CX-9, but does it matter, no, especially considering the Captiva got around 11.0 and it was a diesel, so the CX-9 is still an improvement! Also, the i-stop system is quick to start back up, but it stops pretty quickly meaning if you stopped at an intersection for one second, the engine would be off, but as I said, it starts back up quick, so that doesn't matter.

In conclusion, whilst my family were happy to see the Shark upon arrival to the dealer in late September, I was quite excited! In just over six months we have acclaimed 10,000kms and the car has had its first service (reminding us on the large, circular 4.5" TFT instrument screen when hitting 9000 kms, giving people who leave everything to the last minute time to book a service).

Our Mazda CX-9 is the best new car we have ever owned (in my opinion) and never will we look back!

Note: stock image used for illustration purposes