android, 2023 mazda cx-9 drops sport trim, starting price scales $40,000

As the Mazda CX-9 returns with minimal changes for 2023, its cost of admission will climb substantially for all but one model as the family hauler loses its base Sport trim, leaving the Touring as the most affordable option. The three-row SUV is the latest to be hit by the automaker’s string of price increases following the compact CX-5 and the new CX-50.

What’s New?

With the Sport discontinued, the Touring is the new base model and has a starting price of $40,025 (up $3,120 over the outgoing Sport). It now comes with standard second-row captain’s chairs to accommodate six occupants. Previously, a power moonroof, LED foglights and a wireless phone charger were among the available features in the Touring Premium Package, but they now come standard on the Touring. Starting at $42,775, the Touring Plus is the only model that sees a lower price for 2023 — it now costs $510 less than the outgoing model.

Powertrain

The CX-9’s sole powertrain carries over unchanged: All trims are powered by a turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine mated to a six-speed automatic transmission with manual and sport modes. The SUV makes 227 horsepower and 310 pounds-feet of torque with regular fuel, and premium boosts maximum power and torque to 250 hp and 320 pounds-feet. Mazda’s i-Activ all-wheel-drive system is again standard on all trims.

Tech and Safety

A 10.25-inch center display is standard across the lineup and comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity; the system uses a control knob in place of traditional touchscreen functionality. Standard safety and driver-assist features include adaptive cruise control with automatic emergency braking and pedestrian detection, lane departure warning with lane-keeping assist, and blind spot warning with rear cross-traffic alert.

Trims, Pricing and Release Date

2021 Mazda CX-9 Carbon Edition (left), 2021 CX-5 Carbon Edition (center), 2021 Mazda6 Carbon Edition (right) | Manufacturer image

The 2023 CX-9 will be offered in five trims when it goes on sale this fall: Touring, Touring Plus, Carbon Edition, Grand Touring and Signature. Below are the starting prices (all prices include destination) and standard features for each.

  • Touring: $40,025 (up $970)
  • Touring Plus: $42,775 (down $510)
  • Carbon Edition: $46,055 (up $850)
  • Grand Touring: $46,915 (up $850)
  • Signature: $49,735 (up $900)

The CX-9 Touring features standard leather seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter, heated front seats, a power liftgate, keyless entry, a six-speaker sound system and an eight-way power driver’s seat with lumbar support. The new base model rides on 18-inch gray metallic aluminum-alloy wheels.

The Touring Plus comes with either a standard second-row bench seat to fit seven occupants or optional captain’s chairs. The trim level also adds ventilated front seats and a memory function for the power driver’s seat. Unique exterior cues include 20-inch aluminum alloys, a gloss-black front grille and aluminum roof rails.

Introduced in 2021, the Carbon Edition returns with heated second-row captain’s chairs, a heated steering wheel with paddle shifters, red leather upholstery, a 7-inch LCD gauge cluster and LED lighting elements. The Carbon Edition’s unique exterior elements include Polymetal Gray paint, gloss-black door mirrors and chrome accents.

Building on the Touring Plus, the Grand Touring comes with silver 20-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, power-folding side mirrors, a 360-degree camera, an active driving display with traffic sign recognition and built-in navigation.

The range-topping Signature adds quilted Nappa leather to its first and second rows, Rosewood and aluminum interior trim, a hands-free power liftgate, unique 20-inch silver alloy wheels, and a titanium gray metallic grille with LED lighting.

Versus the Competition

The 2023 Mazda CX-9’s elevated starting price puts it above many competitors including the upcoming 2023 Subaru Ascent, which starts at $35,120 and also comes with standard AWD. It is also undercut by current three-row rivals like the 2022 Kia Telluride ($34,725), 2022 Toyota Highlander ($37,190) and 2023 Volkswagen Atlas ($35,895).

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