New Mazda CX-9 variant trades all-wheel drive for lower price

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Mazda CX-9 1
From the outside, readily identifying the front-wheel drive CX-9 are its 18-inch wheels -- the all-wheel drive variant wears 20-inch wheels. Both CX-9s have LED head lamps, although those on the top variant are adaptive.

IT STILL seats seven in luxury, is propped up by a monocoque, and is propelled by the same engine. But the new Mazda CX-9 introduced locally on July 2 costs nearly P500,000 less than the variant it joins in the brand’s Philippine lineup.

This is because of the new CX-9 Sport Touring’s front-wheel drive layout, an inherently cheaper alternative to an all-wheel drive system — which the CX-9 Grand Touring, introduced by Mazda Philippines earlier, packs. But in all other respects, particularly when it comes to convenience features, the CX-9 Sport Touring is a match to its all-wheel drive sibling. Mazda Philippines bills the front-wheel drive variant as “luxury within reach.”

The company sells the new CX-9 Sport Touring at a starting price of P2.350 million. In contrast, prices for the Grand Touring start at P2.830 million. Both models are imported from Japan.

“The CX-9 Sport Touring represents Mazda Philippines’ desire to provide customers a prestigious product at a more attractive price point,” said Steven Tan, Mazda Philippines president and CEO, who pointed out the new CX-9 variant is the “only premium seven-seat crossover” sold locally that costs less than P2.5 million, and which is “certainly a superior alternative to pickup based SUVs out in the market today.”

The executive added the CX-9 Sport Touring has the “same plush interior, superior car-like ride, comfort and handling, as well as outstanding performance and fuel economy, as [the] CX-9 Grand Touring.”

Mazda CX-9 2
Front-wheel drive CX-9 retains the cabin space, seven-seat layout of the all-wheel drive version.

Marking out the CX-9 Sport Touring from the CX-9 Grand Touring are the former’s dark silver 18-inch wheels.

Most of the cabin features are shared between the two variants, namely leather-covered furniture, driver and front passenger power seats, six air bags, and the Mazda Connect Information and Entertainment system that has a six-speaker audio unit.

What the CX-9 Sport Touring does not get are the higher variant’s adaptive LED head lamps, electric glass sunroof, power lift gate, 12-speaker Bose sound system, active driving display, auto dimming rear-view mirror, rear sunshade and chrome door trim.

Both CX-9 variants are fitted with the 2.5-liter, four-cylinder SkyActiv-G gasoline engine which, through a dynamic-pressure turbocharger, makes 228 hp and 420 Nm. Mazda Philippines said these figures are identical to those made by “older generation six-cylinder engines… but without penalizing fuel economy.”

And, like with all Mazda models sold locally, the CX-9 Sport Touring comes with Yojin 3 Total Care, Mazda’s comprehensive preventive maintenance service package which is free for the first three years of ownership, or for 60,000 kilometers. — BMA