It’s a universally acknowledged fact that all current Mazda models are among the best looking in their respective classes. The other aspect that has always set Mazda apart from other non-premium Japanese carmakers is the amount of tech features that are packed into its models. While American and Korean competitors offer comparable levels of equipment in their models, other Japanese brands have lagged behind Mazda when it comes to convenience and safety features.

The CX-9 isn’t any different, coming equipped with an impressive array of features across its three trim levels. The base model, the Dh123,900 GS 2WD, comes equipped with dual zone air-conditioning with individual controls for driver and passenger, cruise control, rear parking sensors and camera, six speakers, push button start, leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, and auto-fold wing mirrors. It’s also heartening to see that safety hasn’t been compromised in the entry level model, as it is by some other manufacturers, who seem to believe those who pay more deserve to be safer on the roads. Even if you buy the GS tri, you get dual front airbags, side and curtain airbags, Isofix child seat anchors, dynamic stability control and roll stability control, engine immobilizer, and seat belts with ELR and pretensioners front and back.

Upgrade to the mid-range Dh141,900 GT AWD, and you get all these and keyless entry, heated leather seats with power adjustment, auto headlights with rain-sensing wipers, sunroof, LED headlamps in place of GS’ halogen ones, LED fog lamps, theft alarm and blind spot monitoring. It also adds satellite navigation and a larger 8.0in touchscreen.

At Dh161,900, the range-topping Limited variant will set you back by a good 38K more than the GS, and Dh20K more than the GT. But what you get in here is comparable to the feature set offered by models and brands a couple of notches higher is stature and pricing. The LTD comes with adaptive cruise control, Bose audio with 12 speakers, seats with memory settings for different users, a very useful head-up display, auto day-night mirror, and LED door lamps. The most number of additional features offered pertain to safety and driver assistance, such as lane departure warning, lane keep assist, rear cross traffic alert, auto door lock, pedestrian braking, driver attention alert and smart brake support. While most of these features add to the overall safety and collision avoidance credentials of the CX-9, the lane keep assist is a bit too intrusive to point of being dangerous. In fact, I had to switch it off as it kept nudging the car aggressively even when it strayed a bit towards the lane markings.

If you do not care for all the tech wizbangery and are just looking for a good looking, comfortable, and safe SUV, and do not need all-wheel drive, the GS for Dh123,900 will be right up your alley. And it offers the most value in an SUV of this size. 


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