If you’re shopping for a luxurious seven-seater crossover, then the Mazda CX-9 is probably on your short list. If you haven’t heard, the model was recently refreshed for 2022, coming now in three variants instead of the previous two.
Thankfully, Mazda Philippines was kind enough to invite us to a preview of two of the latest CX-9 variants: the Black Edition and the AWD Exclusive. So, if you are having a hard time choosing between these model grades, take this article as your chance to see what features you really need.
First, some housekeeping:
The CX-9 is powered by a 2.5-liter turbocharged Skyactiv-G engine with 227hp and 420Nm. It is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission, and there’s G-Vectoring Control Plus to keep the large crossover nimble in the corners.
For 2022, it now has a new grille design, auto brake-hold function, the addition of i-Stop (Mazda’s engine start/stop system that aids in fuel savings), paddle shifters, and (finally) wireless Apple CarPlay support for the larger nine-inch infotainment screen.
The Black Edition is the middle child of the range. Like many middle children, it does something different to stand out from its siblings—forgoing luxury in the pursuit of a sportier look.
Its grille is gloss-black, and so is its 20-inch wheels and side mirrors. We felt like Mazda could have gone all the way and blacked out all the chrome elements, but it does strike a nice balance, especially on a vehicle of this stature. This edition also gets a powered tailgate and adaptive LED headlamps.
This racing theme extends to the interior, where there is a mix of black and bright burgundy-red leather upholstery with (unfortunately) tons of piano-black plastic trim. The power-adjustable front seats are ventilated, and there are a 12-speaker Bose sound system, a seven-inch digital instrument cluster, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, rear sunshades, and a heads-up display.
Safety-wise, there are a 360° camera and two i-Activsense features: lane departure warning with lane keep assist, and blind-spot monitoring with rear-cross traffic alert.
The AWD Exclusive, on the other hand, is all about business and luxury, building upon the feature set of the Black Edition. It gets a metallic gray front grille, silver 20-inch wheels, a sunroof, and larger exhaust tips.
The interior is upholstered with Oriental brown Nappa leather with diamond quilting (except for the third row). Thankfully, it trades the piano-black bits for real Rosewood and aluminum dash trim (which is great at repelling fingerprints). It also has a frameless auto-dimming rearview mirror.
This trim receives the full suite of i-Activsense features, so there are radar cruise control, smart city brake support, and driver attention alert.
The CX-9 Black Edition will cost you P2,790,000 and offer a lot of bang for the buck for the P300,000 premium it commands over the regular CX-9 Touring (which costs P2,490,000). But the blacked-out accents and bright red interior may not be everyone’s cup of tea.
But if you simply desire the best of the best, the CX-9 AWD Exclusive starts at P2,990,000. It is the ultimate no-compromises crossover in the Mazda lineup (well, save for captain’s seats, which the CX-8 AWD Exclusive offers).
All of Mazda’s vehicles come with a five-year service plan and a three-year (or 100,000km) warranty, so you are looking at a fine option regardless of the model grade you choose.