Mazda's big six: the CX-9

If you've craved a roomy Mazda with a six-cylinder engine, you haven't had much choice in recent years -- utilitarian Escape aside. Now, though, there's the seven-seat CX-9 with a 3.7-litre V6 under the bonnet.

If you've craved a roomy Mazda with a six-cylinder engine, you haven't had much choice in recent years -- utilitarian Escape aside. Now, though, there's the seven-seat CX-9 with a 3.7-litre V6 under the bonnet.

Stylistically-speaking, there doesn't seem to be much difference between the CX-9 and the CX-7 at first glance. Park them side-by-side and things become a little clearer, with the CX-9 some six to eight centimetres taller and wider, respectively, than its baby brother. But the big difference is the increase in length, with the CX-9 stretching the tape measure at over five metres long.

The jump up in size allows the CX-9 to seat seven, whereas the CX-7 only has space for five. A bigger body requires a bigger engine, so there's a 3.7-litre V6 mated to a six-speed auto -- the smaller car is motivated by a 2.3-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine.

Starting at AU$49,990 for the Classic CX-9 model, you get 19-inch wheels, three-zone climate control air-con and six airbags as standard. Entertainment comes via a six-speaker audio system with an MP3-compatible CD stacker; a ten-speaker Bose system comes with the AU$57,265 Luxury model. Both Classic and Luxury variants get a 3.5mm auxilary input jack for MP3 players. Want Bluetooth hands-free? You'll have to stump up another AU$370 or AU$403 depending on the model, while GPS satellite navigation is an extra AU$2,265.

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