By Asian Journal Auto Editor

The new 2019 Mazda CX-9 builds even further on its success with a host of improvements for the new model year. Sleek, sporty and better looking than all its rivals- it looks way more upmarket and expensive than it should with its dramatic front end and sharp silhouette. Major changes for 2019 include: The updated Mazda Connect system in the 2019 CX-9now supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Google Apps are also supported with Show “Ok Google” used for Google Maps, Google Play Music, media, and messaging apps in the car. Making the Mazda Connect integration unique is the use of Mazda’s Commander Knob and buttons A 360° View Monitor utilizing four cameras to show the area around the car, on the center display is available on GT and Signature models. GT and Signature models feature an available seven-inch TFT LCD display that can show a variety of information has been incorporated into the center of the meter

The updated CX-9 features a seven-inch TFT LCD display located in the center of the meter cluster. By displaying a variety of information directly in the driver’s line of sight, it reduces the amount of eye movement required and improves readability. The information displayed in the center meter can change to suit the needs of the moment, and when using Mazda Radar Cruise Control (MRCC), the set speed limit can be displayed within the analog speedometer dial.

The Mazda CX-9 is incredibly well priced in the base form for a $36,700, front-wheel-drive GS. With plenty of as standard equipment. For $2,500 you can get all-wheel drive. As you move up the model line, even more content is added with GS-L, GT and top-of-the-line Signature , which firmly rivals Lexus and Infiniti models at $50,300, with luxury Nappa leather upholstery, premium leather stitching, open-pore rosewood trim on the centre console panel and door pull panel, LED interior lighting, and an illuminated front grille. Engine wise Mazda has dropped the 270 horsepower, 3.7 litre V6 in favour of a smaller displacement, 2.5L turbocharged four-cylinder engine, substituting greater torque for a boosted 227-250 hp with an impressive 310 lb.-ft. of torque available at a low 2,000 rpm. Towing capacity, a strong is a very good, near top of the class — 3,500 pounds.

There is a neat upscale feel to the interior, which features a high-quality fit and finish. Plastics and textiles are all well executed while ergonomics are driver focused. I like the neat, unfussy, dash, instrument layout and controls. The cabin layout provides good headroom and legroom in the first two rows of seats for adults, and the 60/40-split bench in the middle row folds forward to provide access to the two-person third row, which is really a kid affair.  As for cargo capacity, the CX-9 offers up 407 litres (14.4 cubic-feet) behind the third row, 1,082 litres (38.2 cu.-ft.) behind the second row and 2,041 litres (72 cu.-ft.) when both rows are folded flat.

On the road, the turbo 2.5L proved plenty smooth with plenty of torque.  With excellent engineering Mazda has overcome the traditional downsides of turbocharged engines — poor performance at low rpm, turbo lag and not so good fuel economy. Mazda’s Dynamic Pressure turbocharging system that through some typical ingenious Mazda engineering allows the engine to maintain the ideal air-fuel ratio over a wider output range providing usable low-end and mid-range power keep the CX-9 without hesitation or turbo lag. The CX-9, like all Mazda vehicles offers a satisfying sporty performance. Handling is good, cornering is well controlled thanks to at Mazda’s G-Vectoring Control that controls engine drive torque to generate a deceleration G-force, thereby shifting load to the front wheels to increase traction. Not much too complains about, room in the CX-9 is above average in the mid-size crossover class. Overall the CX-9 is a competitive CUV and has great interior luxury and offers excellent features, if you can stretch to the signature model that has the equipment and luxury of a $70,000 rival you will not be disappointed, while the other models in the CX-9 lineup still offer excellent value for the buck. If a sporty sleek SUV is on your list the enhanced safety, performance and refinement of the updated CX-9 could be just the ticket! Highly recommended.

2019 Mazda CX-9 priced from $36,700. More info at