The largest Mazda you can buy gets subtle styling tweaks, a more luxurious interior, and added toys.
Mazda this week announced another round of detail changes to its range-topping CX-9 SUV. With the segment heating up with more competitors every year, this latest batch of upgrades looks to keep the CX-9 fresh with more standard tech and subtle style changes.
Keen-eyed readers will be able to make out the one obvious exterior tell on the 2021 CX-9: the new grille inserts. Mazda has swapped out the straight-line elements from the current model for slotted examples. New wheel designs and slightly enlarged exhaust tips round out the visual changes on the outside—but hey, if it ain’t broke, right?
SEE ALSO: 2019 Mazda CX-9 Review
The updates inside the CX-9 are easier to spot. Sitting atop the dashboard is a larger 10.25-inch infotainment screen, with the latest version of Mazda Connect. The top-level Signature trim also adds redesigned seats for the front two rows, featuring quilted leather and new piping. A new-for-2021 Carbon Edition sits midway up the trim pecking order, replacing much of the shiny exterior trim with gloss black bits, and coming only in Polymetal Gray. Red leather is the only option inside the Carbon Edition.
Canadians will get access to the range-topping 100th Anniversary edition, which celebrates Mazda’s first production car with a white-and-red color scheme.
Mazda’s i-Activsense suite of safety features is standard across the CX-9 lineup. All models feature lane-keep assist, adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go, automated emergency braking, and blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert. Higher trims add on automated reverse braking, a driver attention alert system, and surround-view camera.
The 2021 CX-9 is mechanically identical to its predecessor. It sticks to the 2.5-liter turbo four cylinder, producing either 227 hp and 310 lb-ft on 87-octane gas, or 250 hp and 320 lb-ft on 93. Front-wheel drive is standard on all trims bar the Signature; there all-wheel drive is standard, while it’s optional on the rest of the line.
Prices creep up marginally for the new model year, but we’d call it a wash given the additional kit. The entry-level Sport starts at $34,990 with destination, a bump of just $70 over 2020. The mid-level Touring moves up $40 to $36,850, while the Carbon Edition debuts at 42,180. Both the Grand Touring and Signature trims cost $390 more than 2020, bringing them to $43,040 and $47,705, respectively. Adding all-wheel drive to the lower trims requires an additional $1,900.
The refreshed CX-9 will arrive in dealerships before the end of August.