New Model News

2021 Mazda CX-9 gets a larger infotainment screen, fresh exterior, and a $70 price bump

The 2021 Mazda CX-9 is a three-row SUV that features premium appointments for a less-than-luxury price.

Photo courtesy of Mazda North American Operations

In the world of price hikes, a $70 price bump in the 2021 Mazda CX-9 over the 2020 model is just about nothing. Even in the top trim, the price goes up just $315. Besides the price, there's a few other enhancements to the CX-9 for the new model year.

Buyers are getting a new, standard 10.25-inch infotainment touch screen screen. This screen replaces the standard 7.0-inch touch screen in every trim level of the 2020 CX-9 except the top-tier Signature, which had a 9.0-inch screen. Apple Car and Android Auto are standard, as is a Wi-Fi hot spot.

Mazda is also offering the model with a three-year Trial subscription to Mazda Connected Services.

Mazda has given its CX-9 Signature trim level quilted Nappa leather seats, real wood trim, and other fine appointments.Photo courtesy of Mazda North American Operations

Fresh exterior enhancements to the model are paired with new seat patterns. Mazda is also offering the CX-9 with the company’s new Carbon Edition treatment.

The three-row SUV will continue to be powered by Mazda’s turbocharged 2.5-liter engine that delivers 250 horsepower and 320 pound-feet of torque. Those numbers dip considerably To 310 and 227, respectively, if you opt for 87 octane gasoline rather than 93 octane in the gas tank. The engine is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission.

The Top-tier CX-9 Signature comes standard with all-wheel drive. Front-wheel drive is standard on all other CX-9 models and all-wheel drive is available for $1,900.

The roster of standard features on the CX-9 includes heated front seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, tri-zone automatic climate control, a six-way power-adjustable driver’s seat with lumbar support, Bluetooth, two USB ports up from, a rearview camera, keyless entry, and push-button start.

Mazda's suite of i-Activsense safety features are standard, including Mazda Radar Cruise Control with stop and go function, Advanced Smart City Brake Support with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Departure Warning with Lane-Keep Assist and Blind Spot Monitoring with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert.

Getting the CX-9 Sport adds automatic on/off LED headlights with auto-leveling, LED taillights and daytime running lights, heated and power door mirrors, automatic high beams, body-colored rear roof spoiler, 18-inch gray metallic finish aluminum alloy wheels, rain-sensing windshield wipers and rear privacy glass.

One step higher, the CX-9 Touring has leather-trimmed first and second-row seats, six-way power passenger's seat, Upgraded second-row slide and tilt functionality, two USB charging ports in the second row, a power lift gate, keyless entry, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror with Homelink.

Buyers can add the Touring Premium Package, which includes a Bose 12-speaker premium audio system, wireless phone charger, power moonroof, front and rear parking sensors, two USB charging ports in the third row, LED fog lights, a second-row retractable sunshade, and satellite radio. With this package, buyers can choose from captain’s chairs or a bench seat in the second row for no additional charge.

Next up is the CX-9 Grand Touring, which adds Smart City Brake Support Reverse and Driver Attention Alert, front and rear parking sensors, Active Driving Display with Traffic Sign Recognition, navigation, ventilated front seats, heated second-row seats, heated steering wheel, 7.0-inch driver information display, eight-way power-adjustable driver’s seat with lumbar support, a heated steering wheel, traffic sign recognition technology, and a frameless rearview mirror. The exterior of the model gets 20-inch silver metallic aluminum alloy wheels, a hands-free power lift gate, Satin Chrome roof rails, automatic power-folding door mirrors, adaptive front lighting, chrome lower accents, and windshield wiper de-iced.

Opting for the CX-9 Signature will add titanium gray metallic finish aluminum alloy wheels, larger dual tailpipes, quilted and piped first-and second-row Nappa leather seats, Santos Rosewood interior trim, and patterned aluminum on the dashboard, door handles, and bezels.

Mazda has priced the CX-9 to start at $33,960. The top CX-9 Signature comes in at $46,605.

The 2021 Mazda CX-9 will arrive at dealerships later this month.

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The 2023 Crosstrek starts at $23,645.

Subaru

Subaru is one of the best at listening to its customers' needs, and the Crosstrek is a great example of that mindset. It's a useful vehicle with plenty of interior space and enough ground clearance to take its passengers well of the beaten path. Today, Subaru announced pricing for the 2023 Crosstrek and Crosstrek Hybrid. The duo will go on sale this summer.

Subaru CrosstrekThe Crosstrek's cabin is adventure-ready and packed with great tech. Subaru

The standard Crosstrek starts at $23,645 before destination and the Crosstrek Hybrid starts at $36,845. Five trims are available for the standard model, including Base, Premium, a new Special Edition, Sport, and Limited. The Hybrid comes in a single trim level. All Crosstrek variants get all-wheel drive with active torque vectoring and 8.7 inches of ground clearance.

The Base, Premium, and Special Edition trims come with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 152 horsepower. The Sport and Limited trims get a 2.5-liter four-cylinder making 182 horsepower. Most models come with a continuously variable transmission, but the Base and Premium trims come standard with a six-speed manual gearbox. The Crosstrek Hybrid comes with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder paired with two electric motors. The plug-in system can deliver 17 miles of electric range.

Subaru CrosstrekThe Crosstrek delivers 8.7 inches of ground clearance.Subaru

True to Subaru form, the Crosstrek comes with a full suite of advanced driver aids, including automatic emergency braking, lane keep assist, lane departure alerts, adaptive cruise, and more. These features are only available for CVT-equipped models. The Limited trim and the Crosstrek Hybrid add automatic high beams, reverse automatic braking, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alerts.

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The CX-50 is surpsingly capable off-road.

Mazda

I have driven all of the Mazda vehicles that have been sold in the US market over the past three decades. On everyday roads and on racetracks. I’ve appreciated their “zoom-zoom”. Good power. Punchy torque just where it was needed. Well-balanced and sporty handling. A bit of growl for the versions that called for it. Plus, tasteful-but-modest styling and more or less elbow room, depending on the model. Mazda’s have been made for sports-car enthusiasts and to ferry families. But, I had never known a Mazda called an “overlander”. Until now.

2023 Mazda CX-50Towing capacity extends to 2,000 pounds.Mazda

The 2023 Mazda CX-50 moves this traction-sophisticated automaker into the lands where the pavement ends and now takes the brand ‘off-track’. Although it’s not a new thing for many of today’s carmakers to add a backcountry model or two to their lineup, it’s new for Mazda. I traveled to Santa Barbara, California to check out this all-new crossover built on Mazda’s seventh-generation small SUV platform that is shared with the smaller CX-30. This 5-passenger utility is longer, lower and wider than the CX-5 that rides on the previous generation’s underpinnings. The CX-50 has been crafted with a roomier second row and more cargo room for the goods and gear that weekend warriors and adventurers want to carry.

The CX-50 comes with a choice of two engines: a 2.5-liter, 4-cylinder engine with cylinder deactivation that gets 187 horsepower and 186 pound-feet of torque, and Mazda’s Skyactiv-G 2.5-liter turbo-charged powerplant with 256 horsepower and 320 pound-feet of torque; both shift through a six-speed automatic transmission. The sport ute can tow up to 2,000 lbs. with the naturally aspirated motor and up to 3,500 lbs. with the turbo-charged mill and Intelligent Drive Select (Mi-Drive) that brings a tow mode as well as Normal, Sport and Off-Road. The newest Mazda model has been made for North America only and is built in Alabama. It is the first Mazda vehicle with auto start/stop that can be deactivated.

2023 Mazda CX-50Mazda is a master of upscale interiors. Mazda

The new crossover starts at $26,800 and comes in S, S Select, S Preferred, S Preferred Plus, S Premium, and S Premium Plus with the base motor. Turb-charged versions come in Turbo, Turbo Premium, and Turbo Premium Plus that tops out at close to $42,000. A long list of technology and safety features are standard or available. Mazda says that Meridian, a fourth turbo trim will arrive soon with even more off-road cred; it will be set up with 18-inch black wheels AT, hood graphics and other backcountry goodies.

When you look at the CX-50, the first thing you’ll notice is exterior styling that speaks to its adventure-ready mission. Muscular bodywork, such as extra cladding, wide fender flairs and larger, more aggressive tires mean that this crossover has been designed not only to give a nod to the looks of a rugged crossover but to provide enhanced traction and a tad more suspension stretch for motoring over uneven terrain and along bumpy dirt roads. Planted on its haunches with functional air vents, it eschews minivan styling with a low and wide footprint that allows owners to have easy access to high-strength roof rails for loading gear on top; the roof has been made stronger than other Mazda crossovers to accommodate heavier loads, such as a roof-top tent. A panoramic moonroof- a first for Mazda- and attractive antiglare hood graphics and are tasteful additions.

The interior is attractive and roomy, with horizontal lines and “cleanable” surfaces as a nod to outdoor endeavors. Our Turbo Premium Plus model had bright orange reverse stitching that popped the cabin that has been crafted with uplevel trims and materials and brought heads-up display. A 7-inch infotainment screen is standard, while the top models get a 10.25-inch version. A wireless charging pad and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard on all trims. Of note, is the rear power and programmable liftgate to the wide and deep rear cargo compartment, with a load floor that flush with the liftgate opening to help slide heavy items in and out of the back. An available line of cargo accessories makes stowage easier.

2023 Mazda CX-50The CX-50 is family roadtrip ready.Mazda

How did it handle over the 200-plus miles of our ride and drive? The Turbo Premium Plus CX-50 offers a lot like; many of its driving attributes are consistent with Mazda’s tuning and handling priorities across its product line. Traveling along coastal highways, carving mountainous twisties with tight turns and accelerating on flat and straight well-graded pavement, it has great Mazda manners: i.e., there is enough power and torque in the right bandwidth to move it well; precise steering with a slightly heavily-weighted leather-wrapped steering wheel and well-modulated brakes, especially with towing a 3,500-lb. load. We enjoyed using Sport mode for carving corners, as it brings elongated shifts from the six-speed automatic; a crisp response comes when sport shifting in “manual mode” and provides a quick throttle response.

We tried out the Off-Road mode on a course that included flat and uneven dirt roads, as well as hill climb and descent. Although there is no downhill descent control system, the brakes worked well, along with manual gearing. Of note, Mazda would be wide to add downhill descent engineering for steeper and slicker terrain. We were able to test the difference between Normal and Off-Road over a special section of the course with sandy corners and a winding track at a speed of 30 mph showing the improved traction in the Off-Road programming and the aid of Mazda’s G-Vectoring Control that brings a bit of magic to transfer torque to the wheels where it is needed to keep the intended track-think of it like an enhanced traction control program that helps with steering and yaw control.

2023 Mazda CX-50The CX-50 comes with off-road driving modes. Mazda

Other aids for off-road and backcountry travel are: the i-Activ All-Wheel Drive system that is standard equipment on all CX-50s, with a 50/50ish power transfer front to back; 8.6 inches of ground clearance; an 18-degree approach angle and a 24-degree departure angle; and an optional 360-degree camera system.

*EPA reports: base motor fuel economy 24 city/30 highway mpg, while the turbo option gets 23/29 mpg and can run on regular or premium fuel.

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