Mazda has updated the 2020 CX-9 midsize crossover with a stronger engine, an off-road traction assist system, and a new second-row captain's seat option.
A retuned version of Mazda's 2.5L turbocharged four-cylinder engine now makes 320 lb-ft of torque when fed 93-octane gasoline; on lower-grade fuels, the engine makes the same 310 lb-ft as last year's car. Horsepower figures remain the same, at 227 hp on regular fuel, and 250 hp on premium.
The 2020 Mazda CX-9 is the brand's first model to get a new off-road traction assist feature. It's an enhanced traction control system activated by a dashboard button that adjusts the AWD system for better performance when two diagonal wheels lose traction.
New to the CX-9's interior is a $300 second-row captain's chair option that replaces the three-place bench seat with a pair of heated buckets. The new chairs are available in GS-L and GT models, and come standard in the top-end Signature trim, which also gets an upgraded centre console.
GT and Signature trims also add a hands-free power tailgate, replacing a conventional power door in those packages.
Other additions include a new 9.0-inch infotainment touchscreen, and a re-engineered passive keyless entry system with a redesigned key fob.
Buyers of the entry-level GS trim pay the price for the CX-9's 2020 model year improvements: that model's MSRP goes up by $3,200, to $39,900. Pricing for all other trims carries over: $43,300 for GS-L, $48,500 for the GT, and $51,500 in Signature form.