Mazda’s 3-row CX-9 adds worthy updates for 2020 when it hits dealerships this fall. Considering the brand’s biggest SUV is still in its second-generation since 2016, consumers expect more features and updates, especially if it’s been almost five years without a redesign. An enhanced cabin and improved performance is a good start for the updated CX-9.
Here are the significant changes to the Mazda’s biggest SUV for 2020:
1. New heated captain’s chairs in the middle row
Fortunately, Mazda came through with the biggest addition adding new, optional 2nd-row captain’s chairs. They call it a “first-class cabin feel.” We call “will-put-smile-on-mom-and-dads’-faces” for growing families with young kids, allowing the little ones entry through one door to access the 3rd-row inside the cabin. Probably the closest you’ll get to a minivan without buying a minivan with that sliding door.
If you are considering a minivan, check out our best minivans feature here.
The CX-9 Signature finds captain’s chairs as standard; In Canada, the CX-9 GS-L Captain’s Chair Package includes a second-row captain’s chairs with heated second row seats.
2. Hands-free power rear lifegate but only on top trims
Also new for 2020 is a hands-free, power liftgate — but only on the top-trims including the CX-9 Grand Touring and Signature trim levels. This is a great feature making it’s way into many of the new sport utilities hitting the market, but this convenient feature should be offered across all trim levels. We don’t feel this is premium feature considering other models like the smaller Ford Escape already offer this.
Here’s our review of the 2019 CX-9 Signature model, if you’re interested.
3. Enhanced performance for 2020 with increase torque
All CX-9’s get the same turbocharged Skyactiv-G 2.5T engine, now receiving a nice 10 lb-ft of torque increase to 320 lb-ft when using the higher 93 octane gasoline (ideal for turbo engines). But if you’re still reaching for the 87 octane at the pump, expect 310 lb-ft of torque.
Horsepower is rated at 250-hp and 227-hp with the 93 and 87 octane fuel, respectively; paired to a six-speed Skyactiv-Drive automatic transmission.
4. New off-road traction assist on all-wheel drive models
Replacing the traction control button, the updated 2020 CX-9 is the first Mazda vehicle offered with the all-new off-road traction assist feature offering improved handling when going off the smooth pavement.
FWD vs AWD platforms in US and Canada
Important to note that US customers get front-wheel drive on entry-level models with all-wheel drive as optional across all CX-9 trims; the range-topping Signature comes with all-wheel drive as standard.
In Canada, all models are equipped with all-wheel drive (no front-wheel drive options) — so this off-road traction feature is available on all trims.
4. G-Vectoring Control Plus a standard for 2020
Mazda made this a standard now, essentially improving the steering response to help the driver and all occupants have a smooth, premium driving experience.
5. More refined CX-9 interior with extra features thrown in
Overall, the goal for the 2020 CX-9 is “elevating the premium Mazda ownership experience” according the the brand. Best place to start? The interior where more well-appointed features were added.
In the US, the Sport gets new standard features like heated front cloth seats, power driver’s seat with lumbar support; the CX-9 Touring adds Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, leather-trimmed seats, power adjustable passenger seats, power liftgate with adjustable height and a second-row center armrest with storage, cup holders and two USB charging ports.
The Touring will find a couple extra USB ports in the 3rd-row, a power moonroof, Bose premium 12-speaker audio system, SiriusXM with a three-month trial subscription, LED fog lamps, front and rear parking sensors and second-row retractable sunshades.
The pricer Signature at $46,115 gets those heated captain’s chairs at no extra cost, plus a more refined centre console similar to the front row with extra storage and convenient access to two USB charging ports and cupholders.
2020 Mazda CX-9 Price
The 2020 CX-9 goes on sale this Fall 2019 with an entry-level price tag of $33,790 in the US, and $39,900 in Canada.
|Front-Wheel Drive||i-Activ All-Wheel Drive|
|– Touring Premium Package||$2,100||$2,100|
|9 Grand Touring||$41,450||$43,350|
All all-wheel drive models.
|– Captain’s Chairs Package||$300|
|– Captain’s Chairs Package||$300|