The 2020 Mazda CX-9 Has Arrived: Here’s What Changed (And How Much It Costs)

The base model sees a $1,510 price hike

side view of 2020 Mazda CX-9
[Photos: Mazda]

The 2020 Mazda CX-9 finally gets a significant facelift since the second generation began in 2016. Typically, a carmaker will introduce mid-generation updates after two years. Here are six major updates to look for in 2020:

  • Increased torque to 320 lb-ft when using 93 octane gasoline
  • Heated second-row seats
  • Updated infotainment system with a 9-inch touchscreen display
  • Hands-free power liftgate (on upper trims)
  • All-wheel drive models get new off-road traction assist
  • G-Vectoring Control Plus is now standard across all trims

The 2020 Mazda CX-9 also features the i-ActivSense safety suite across the range. That system includes blind spot monitoring, radar cruise control with stop and go, Smart City Brake Support, automatic high beams, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, pre-collision warning, adaptive LED lighting, and available traffic sign recognition.

More torque, same horsepower for turbocharged Skyactiv-G 2.5T engine

Mazda engineers increased torque for a grand total of 320 lb-ft, while keeping the power figure at 250 horsepower when using 93 octane fuel. Premium fuel isn’t required, but if you pump 87 octane, you’ll still get just 310 lb-ft of torque and 227 horsepower. With or without the extra torque, the CX-9 doesn’t drive like a typical three-row SUV. It’s smooth and quiet with enough oomph to merge effortlessly into highway traffic.

Middle row features all-new heated captain’s chairs

The new second-row captain’s chairs are a significant luxury feature for a lot of buyers. These comfy seats, which recline and slide, come standard in the Signature trim or as an option in the Grand Touring and Touring trims. The Signature model distinguishes itself with a specific center console between the captain’s seats that features a storage cubby, cup holders, and two USB charging ports.

9-inch Mazda Connect infotainment screen

This year, the CX-9 moves up from an 8-inch display to a larger 9-inch infotainment touchscreen, which is available on Touring, Grand Touring and Signature trims. The Sport trim still retains the 7-inch display. Either screen is controlled using the touchscreen or the multi-function Commander control located below the gear shift lever.

man holding luggage opening rear liftgate of 2020 mazda cx-9 by swiping his foot underneath the bumper

Hands-free power liftgate

The Grand Touring and Signature trims feature a power liftgate that opens without having to touch it. With the key FOB in your pocket, a swipe of your foot under the rear bumper with automatically open the liftgate for you—something especially helpful when your hands are full of stuff that needs loading in the back cargo space.

G-Vectoring Control Plus

Mazda’s G-Vectoring Control subtly improves cornering response and stability. The aim is to achieve a feeling of unity between driver and vehicle. Altogether, it’s superb at making you think you’re in a smaller, sportier crossover whether turning, braking or simply cruising along. Now G-Vectoring Control Plus is included across all 2020 CX-9 trims.

view through the trees of 2020 mazda cx-9

All AWD models get the new off-road traction assist

Standard on the Signature model, but also available as an option for other trims, is Mazda’s off-road traction assist. Traditional traction control systems minimize wheel spin by reducing engine torque and using steady brake force to the wheel that’s slipping. Brake force is applied linearly so the driver can maintain control of the vehicle. On uneven surfaces, such as when in severe off-road conditions, an abrupt power shift is needed. By activating the off-road traction assist button, the system won’t takeaway engine torque and increases the brake force on the wheels without traction. The better torque distribution helps keep things moving along in dicey off-road conditions.

i-Activesense full string of safety features now standard

The 2020 CX-9 comes standard with the i-Activesense suite of safety features. Mazda’s safety package is loaded with intelligent passive and active driver-assistance systems, which include the following:

  • Blind-spot monitoring system with rear cross-traffic alert
  • Mazda radar cruise control with stop and go function
  • Advanced smart city brake support with day and night-time pedestrian detection
  • Smart brake support with collision warning and lane departure warning with lane-keep assist
  • Automatic high-beam control 
interior view of 2020 mazda cx-9 driving on a road approaching a bridge

Without question, Mazda is superb at building vehicles that look exciting and fun to drive. The premium cabin ambiance, amenities and flexibility to carry passengers or cargo makes it an attractive choice when shopping against the competition such as the Subaru Ascent and VW Atlas. And the long list of class competitors continues with more established names like the Ford Explorer, Honda Pilot, Hyundai Santa Fe, Kia Telluride, Acura MDX, GMC Acadia or Toyota Highlander to name a few.

The 2020 Mazda CX-9 goes on sale, starting with an MSRP of $34,845 for the Sport trim. That includes Mazda’s $1,045 destination charge.

2020 Mazda CX-9 pricing

Trim2020 MSRP
Sport FWD$34,835
Touring FWD$36,655
Grand Touring FWD$42,495
Sport AWD$36,735
Touring AWD$38,555
Grand Touring AWD$44,395
Signature AWD$47,160