Mazda CX-9 2.5L Turbo 2WD Ignite Edition test drive review

Mazda CX-9 2.5L Turbo 2WD Ignite Edition test drive review

European vehicles have always been ahead of the Japanese when it comes to building quality and refinement, but all of that has changed drastically in recent times.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • How much is the Mazda CX-9?

    The Mazda CX-9 is available in two variants that are priced at RM319k and RM336k respectively
  • Japanese and Korean manufacturers are not only making vehicles that are just as refined as the Europeans nowadays, but better too. A good example would be the new Mazda CX-9 Ignite Edition here.

    Mazda CX-9

    Overview

    Launched last September, the Ignite Edition variant of the CX-9 was introduced when the model was updated in 2021.

    Unlike the new Mazda3 where you have to pay an additional RM9,000 for the Ignite Edition, the variant’s enhanced accessories package comes as standard for the CX-9, which is available in two versions with prices as mentioned below:

    • Mazda CX-9 2.5L Turbo 2WD Ignite Edition – RM319,847
    • Mazda CX-9 2.5L Turbo AWD Ignite Edition – RM336,215

    The unit which we got our hands on is the 2WD version which is the cheaper between the two variants. The only difference between the two is the availability of the all-wheel-drive system. Besides that, everything is identical between the two models.

    Mazda CX-9

    What’s special?

    In case you’re wondering what exactly the Ignite Edition is and what is special, this variant comes with a few cosmetic enhancements that make it look noticeably sportier, fiercer, and more youthful.

    On the exterior, the front grille, side mirrors, and the 20-inch alloy wheels are all painted in gloss black.

    Mazda CX-9

    There are six body colours to choose from, namely Deep Crystal Blue, Jet Black, Machine Grey, Snowflake White Pearl, Sonic Silver, and Soul Red Crystal which we’re looking at here.

    In our opinion, the CX-9 Ignite Edition looks best in Red as it does a fantastic job in bringing out the blacked-out bits as well, compared to the other colours where the black bits just sink in.

    Mazda CX-9

    Besides that, it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that this particular shade of red is unlike any other in the market, looking deeper and more passionate than the brighter shades of red we’re used to seeing.

    Competing with models like the Volvo XC90 and the Hyundai Palisade which are all majestic looking SUVs, the CX-9 still looks good despite being around for a few years.

    Mazda CX-9

    While the XC90 and the Palisade look grander and more luxurious, the “Ignite Edition” treatment on the CX-9 gives it a much darker and sportier appearance than the other models in this segment.

    Considering how high the demand is for sporty-looking luxury SUVs these days, the CX-9 Ignite Edition would definitely appeal to those looking for a seven-seater that looks downright fierce.

    The cabin

    Mazda CX-9

    The “passionate” colour theme of the exterior is extended into the cabin of the CX-9 as well with a generous dose of sexy Burgundy leather upholstery which is complemented by the black dashboard and door trims.

    Instead of the usual black, cream, brown, or red, Mazda’s decision to use Burgundy has certainly done wonders in making the ageing cabin of the CX-9 look sexy and appealing once again.

    Mazda CX-9

    In typical Mazda fashion, the build quality, noise insulation, level of refinement, and the materials used in the CX-9 are all top-notch.

    In fact, this is also why Mazda vehicles are not cheap anymore as the quality of these products is much better than European models that ask for the same amount of money.

    Mazda CX-9

    Standard features include a nine-inch touchscreen infotainment system that supports wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a Bose premium sound system, a wireless charger, paddle shifters, power-adjustable front seats, triple-zone air conditioning, and 12 speakers.

    Driving it

    Despite its size, the CX-9 doesn’t feel big once you sit in it as the level of visibility is good. Manoeuvring the SUV could be done easily too, thanks to all the sensors and cameras around it.

    Mazda CX-9

    The 2.5-litre turbo engine under the hood produces 220 hp and 420 Nm of torque which felt adequate. Power delivery is smooth, bringing the CX-9 to speeds well over the limit seamlessly and quickly.

    Where the CX-9 really stands out is in terms of handling. The chassis is so well-built that it feels like a Mazda3 on steroids when you throw it around corners. Body roll and weight-shifting were little to non-existent, to be frank.

    Mazda CX-9

    Though its rivals like the Volvo XC90 and Hyundai Palisade pack more punch under the hood with their big engines, electric motors and whatnot, the Mazda beats them with its ride composure and sharp handling. So, if you’re all about the joy of driving, look no further.

    On the downside, it is clearly noticeable that the CX-9 is aging compared to its rivals.

    Mazda CX-9

    While the size of the screens in vehicles are getting bigger by the day, the nine-inch central display and 4.6-inch display in the traditional instrument panel seems rather inadequate for a vehicle in its price range in this day and age.

    Besides that, the Mazda CX-9 is a superb vehicle to look at, to drive, and also to be in. It may have aged a bit, but the new "Ignite" cosmetic enhancements have made it somewhat relevant again. 

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