The 2021 Mazda CX-9 three-row crossover SUV nudges into premium territory this year with a 10.3-inch display screen for infotainment standard across the lineup and a sleek new Carbon Edition with red leather seats.
Despite technology upgrades across the board, including standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, three-month wi-fi trial, and scads of standard safety and convenience features, the seven-seat 2021 CX-9 only gets a nominal price increase over the 2020 CX-9, Mazda announced Tuesday.
With a starting price of just $70 more than last year at $35,060, including $1,100 destination, the 2021 CX-9 Sport comes with the large display screen, heated front seats, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, power-adjustable driver's seat, three-zone climate control, two USB ports, and keyless entry and ignition. Standard safety features include adaptive cruise control that can stop and restart, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, active lane control, blind-spot monitors with rear cross-traffic alerts, automatic high beams, and LED headlights and taillights.
Competitors such as the 2021 Kia Telluride, 2021 Hyundai Palisade, and 2021 Ford Explorer might start for less, but the Mazda loads the CX-9 with standard features that make it a relative value. There is only one powertrain, a 2.5-liter turbo-4 that makes up to 250 horsepower and 320 pound-feet of torque on 93 octane fuel. A 6-speed automatic transmission moves the front wheels or available all-wheel drive for an additional $1,900 across the lineup, except on top Signature trim, where it is standard.
The Touring trim gets a $40 price bump from last year to $36,850 and comes with leather-trimmed front and second-row seats, power liftgate, and two USB ports in the second row. For $38,810, the Touring premium package adds a 12-speaker Bose audio system, wireless charger, sunroof, parking sensors, two more USB ports for third-row riders, and the second-row bench seat can be swapped out for captain's chairs for no charge.
The new Carbon Edition builds off the Touring premium package with a sharper exterior look. The wheels are upgraded from 18 inches to 20-inch black alloy rollers, and a gray body contrasts blacked-out elements such as the grille and side mirrors. Inside, red leather seats with black trim distinguish the cabin. Paddle shifters appear on the heated steering wheel, low-speed rear automatic emergency braking is included along with second-row captain's chairs, cooled front seats, heated second-row seats, a 7.0-inch digital instrument cluster, and flashier interior lighting and accents. It slots under the Grand Touring trim at $42,180.
Carbon Edition trim will be offered on the 2021 CX-5 compact crossover and 2021 Mazda 6 mid-size sedan.
The top of the lineup gets the largest price jump, with both the Grand Touring and Signature trims jumping $390 from 2020. For $43,040, Grand Touring adds to the Touring premium package a surround-view camera system, native navigation, and the interior seating comforts on the Carbon Edition.
2021 Mazda CX-9 Signature trim
The Signature trim tops the lineup at $47,705 but comes standard with all-wheel drive. Unlike most automakers with a three-row mid-size crossover, Mazda keeps the CX-9 under $50,000 but doesn't skimp on the luxury-leaning fixings. It gets a distinct grille with LED accent lighting (like BMW offers), distinct 20-inch aluminum alloy wheels, larger dual tailpipes, quilted nappa leather seats front and back, patterned aluminum trim elements, second-row captain's chairs with a center console, and other refinements.
Built in Japan, the 2021 Mazda CX-9 goes on sale later this month.