2020 Mazda CX-9 gets more torque and second-row captain's chairs

Additional standard features, more safety equipment and a higher base price, too

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The 2020 Mazda CX-9 is here, and it’s even more enticing than the 2019 model year SUV. It’s not a full redesign, but Mazda shook up the features list to make it more competitive with other three-row crossovers. Most notable (arguably) of all changes comes from a small increase in torque — the 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder gets bumped from 310 pound-feet of torque to 320 pound-feet. Horsepower remains the same at 250 horses. Those figures are only applicable when using 93 octane fuel. They go down to 227 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque when on 87.

Another new feature is an off-road traction assist button, replacing the traction control button. This new feature is meant to help when navigating rougher terrain. Here’s how Mazda describes its function: “When the diagonal wheels lose traction, off-road traction assist will stop reducing the engine torque and increases the brake force on the wheels without traction. This transfers power to the wheels still on the ground to help allow the vehicle to regain traction and continue the drive.” We’ll be interested to see how this helps the CX-9 on a snowy Michigan winter day soon.

The number of standard features on the base Sport trim is up, too. Now all CX-9s get heated front seats, a power driver’s seat, rain-sensing windshield wipers, heated outside mirrors and auto high-beams. Additionally, Mazda made its full suite of i-Activsense safety features standard. This includes adaptive cruise control, lane-keep assist and other driver assistance niceties. Mazda is also adopting the new key fob design of the Mazda3 for the CX-9.

Optional on the Touring and Grand Touring are second-row captain’s chairs. Previously, Mazda only offered bench style seating for the CX-9, so this addition could be a huge turn-on for some folks in this segment. The chairs have armrests, and the lack of a center pull-down means Mazda had to redesign its cupholder layout in back. In CX-9s equipped with the chairs, the cup holders and USB ports are now integrated into the backside of the front center console. If you opt for the captain’s chairs in the Grand Touring or Signature trims, the seats are heated. 

Pricing does increase a fair amount for the 2020 CX-9. A base front-wheel drive Sport is now priced at $34,835 including destination, a $1,510 increase from last year’s base price. The top of the range only got $750 more expensive, though, as the Signature starts at $47,160. Look for 2020 Mazda CX-9s to roll into dealer lots sometime this fall.

UPDATE: Mazda sent us a note, revising its press release to say it will not be offering a pre-paid maintenance plan with the 2020 Mazda CX-9. Mazda says the announcement of the plan was an error on its behalf, and should not have been included in the original press release. We have removed mention of the plan in the story.

2019 Mazda CX-9
2019 Mazda CX-9
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