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Mazda CX-9 Azami LE SUV – impressive new flagship of five-model range

I did an extensive road trip over the holiday period with Mazda’s large seven-seat CX9 SUV – over 2,700 kilometres mostly on the M1 to the Sunshine Coast and return. Mazda in September introduced a fifth model – the flagship CX-9 Azami LE at $66,490. I’ve always highly regarded the CX-9; especially since it gained the 2.5-litre direct injection 2.5-litre four-cylinder turbo engine and I managed an average 9.1-litres/100, around 30mpg with a mix of driving, impressive given the size of this family wagon. The Azami LE is an all-wheel-drive in six–speed automatic, distinguished with high-grade Nappa leather and real wood decorative panels, the front seats ventilated and a real boon in the recent hot weather. The Azami LE also gains a 360 degree view mirror and heated steering wheel and is loaded with driver aids such a lane departure warning, traffic sign recognition and driver attention alert to name a few. Only disappointment – a temporary spare wheel. After 11 hours total at the wheel after two-hourly stops and a lunch break I stepped out of the CX-9 feeling very fresh.

In short, the CX-9 Azami LE is a luxury seven-seater under the luxury car tax and great value, loaded with features, roomy in the second row and extremely comfortable. The quality on the test car first class with superb internal finishes. Instrumentation and the head-up display on the windscreen for speed and cruise control a real aid for long-distance driving because you not constantly changing the focus of your eyes from the road to the instrument panel. I’m David Berthon

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