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First drives with Darren Moody - Mazda CX-9

Mazda has introduced a new model to its CX-9 range – the Azami LE, with Mazda Looking to bridge the gap between volume seller brands and luxury marques.

Inside the LE features premium materials and equipment, including real wood inlays, and a unique interior colour palette - Chroma brown - for seats and padded surfaces.

Added to the Azami and Azami LE are a 360-degree view camera, heated and ventilated nappa leather seats and heated steering wheel.

All models get Apple CarPlay and Android Auto – a first for Mazda – as well as head-up display and 7” centre screen.

Mazda has worked on the refinement for this upgrade of the CX-9. The model I drove was exceptionally quiet and insulated from both the engine and road noise.

There have been no changes to the driveline, with the 2.5L turbo petrol with six-speed auto available in either front or all-wheel drive.

All models get a huge list of safety features, including radar cruise control with stop and go function, smart brake support, lane departure warning, lane-keep assist, traffic sign recognition, high beam control, blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic and driver attention alert.

Supporting the driver further, all grades are now equipped with Active Driving Display, which projects key information onto the windscreen, and a tyre pressure monitoring system.

The SKYACTIV-G 2.5T turbocharged engine remains unchanged, with 170 kW of power at 5000rpm and 420Nm of torque at 2000rpm.

Coming with a five-year warranty, the new national drive away pricing, CX-9 Sport costs $46,990, with the new top spec Azami LE $67,890.