Published on May 6th, 2022 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
Mazda CX-9 Ignite Edition Test Drive Review
Why is Mazda branding their vehicles as Ignite Edition?
The first Mazda vehicle to get the name ‘Ignite Edition’ was this CX-9 SUV and soon after the popular Mazda3 also got the ‘Ignite Edition’ branding with the CX-30 Crossover being the latest to get this physical upgrade.
In 2015 when Mazda Motor Corporation CEO Takashi Yamanouchi made a bold claim of boosting its North American sales by 43 percent and taking on the premium market in the coming year with its Mazda6 sedan, many rivals did not take him seriously and the premium brands just ignored his statement.
Mazda was going to reposition itself as a more premium brand. To achieve this, Mazda launched a complete range of new vehicles which included the CX-9 SUV.
Mazda packed all their new models with cutting-edge environmental and safety technologies and upscale interior materials. Mazda also used a new platform and drivetrain systems that saved fuel and boosted performance. Today, Mazda has moved its game up with all its models, even the humble Mazda2.
With the CX-9 Ignite Edition, Mazda in Malaysia knows that it will not be easy to pry premium SUV buyers away from European brands as badge snobbery is strong in Malaysia and the rest of ASEAN however they have managed to tickle some and that is a start.
So, what really is ‘Ignite Edition’? Well, when we looked at the written information provided it stated a few added luxury and physical parts like ‘Burgundy Leather Seats’ and Bose 12-speaker Premium sound system. On the exterior, new 20-inch black metallic alloy wheels.
So, not all that much over the standard CX-9, but when you see it on the road, the consumer response is positive. Yes, the asking price is high, but then why should it be any lower than a European rival?
Build and material quality is on par with the European rival and the engineering under the seductive shape is also on par. It is just badge snobbery that divides its sales success.
This CX-9 is powered by a 2.5L Turbocharged engine that delivers 228 horsepower and 420Nm of torque. You get a 5-year warranty and 5-year service maintenance from the brand guardian. Mazda has two versions for you to choose, a 2-wheel drive at RM319,847 and there is also a 4-wheel drive version for RM336,215.
So, at 5,075mm long, 1,969mm wide and 1,747mm tall, the CX-9 is not a small SUV. There are three rows of seats and it is larger than the three row CX-8 SUV which is 4,900mm long, 1,840 wide and 1,730mm tall.
Get in and you will find a good driving position with the easy to use electric drivers seat. Ignite the SKYACTIV engine and it is quiet thanks to the great sound insulation. The drive in ‘comfort’ mode is smooth and quiet and if you click ‘sport’ mode on the center console, the engine and gearbox closes its ratios to give you faster response.
Middle row passengers will not complain and the third row access is easy for teenagers and adults who keep fit. There are climate vents in the rear and legroom is decent enough for average sized Malaysians.
What We Thought
In our words, this CX-9 accelerated smoothly, with very good noise suppression, negligible tire noise at high speeds (150km/h and a bit when police drones were resting), tight precise steering feel and it provided good brake feel.
On our drive along an open highway we felt that this new Mazda luxury SUV was reminding us of the Mazda CX-5 drive feel. The CX-5 is slightly lower, stout and very predictable and this CX-9 feels almost the same even though it sits a little higher off the ground and is larger in all areas.
At a selling price from RM319k, this version of the CX-9 is almost neck to neck with its European rivals that is priced higher.
All new Mazda vehicles sold in Malaysia come fitted with high quality Japanese tint film from Konica Minolta which provides great cabin cooling and perfect outward vision in day and night. You also get a 5-year warranty and an industry leading 5-year maintenance plan that includes labour, parts and lubricant. Worry free 5-year motoring!
Mazda CX-9 2.5 Turbocharged Ignite Edition Specifications
Engine: 4-cylinder DOHC 16V SKYACTIV-G Turbocharged
Gearbox: 6-speed SKYACTIV-DRIVE Semi-Auto
Horsepower: 228bhp @ 5,000
Torque: 420Nm @ 2,000
0-100km/h: 7.9 seconds
Top speed: 210km/h