A smattering of small improvements—with a commensurate price hike—mark out the 2020MY changes for Mazda‘s big CX-9 crossover.
We’re fans of the three-row crossover—just read our 2019 Mazda CX-9 review. The Hiroshima-based manufacturer isn’t messing with success for the new model year, instead making a few detail upgrades on what remains a successful package in a ruthless segment.
Most of the changes focus on making previously optional equipment standard. Chief amongst these is Mazda’s i-Activsense suite of driver aids. The lineup includes adaptive cruise control, automated braking with pedestrian detection, collision warning, lane-keep assist, lane departure warning, and a blind spot system with cross-traffic support.
Also newly standard for 2020 are heated front seats, with power adjustability for the driver’s chair. Heated outside mirrors, automatic headlights and rain-sensing wipers join the list too.
All of these features were part of a $1,290 option package on the 2019 CX-9 Sport. That goes most of the way of negating the price increase: this year’s MSRP is $33790 versus last year’s $32,280. Both prices are without the $1,045 delivery fee.
Mazda is changing up the CX-9’s seating arrangement for 2020 too, at least on higher trims. Select the Grand Touring trim and the middle row becomes a pair of captain’s chairs. The six-seat configuration provides more room—something we found the CX-9 lacked versus its competition—as well as increased comfort. A redesigned center console provides the second row with cupholders and USB charging ports.
A hands-free liftgate is now standard on the Grand Touring and Signature trims.
Changes occur under the skin as well. The 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder gains an extra 10 lb-ft of torque, boosting the total to 320 lb-ft. Horsepower remains unchanged at 250 hp. Mazda has added the G-Vector Control Plus system from the smaller 2019 CX-5 to its flagship, which it claims improves steering response and provides a smoother ride for all passengers. Meanwhile the new off-road traction assist applies brake force on wheels without grip and redistributes power to the diagonal wheel to keep the car pointing the right way.
The new models will begin making their way into showrooms later this autumn. The CX-9 Sport FWD will kick off the lineup at $34,835, running to the AWD CX-9 Signature at $47,160.
EDITOR’S NOTE: A previous version of this article stated 2020 CX-9s would come with pre-paid maintenance. This was an error on an earlier version of the press release and is now removed.