Mazda CX-9 VS Peugeot 5008
- Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
- Great advanced safety tech
- Impressive ride and handling
- Engine could have more grunt
- Brakes are good but could be more responsive
- Can be tricky to pilot in tight spaces
- Doesn't look like a seven-seater
- Cabin design definitely unique
- Crazy-practical cabin
- Interior tech can be slow to use
- Much-hyped gear shift rather annoying
- Priced toward the premiums
The CX-9 is Mazda's big, SUV flagship and it has been updated with more cool tech, better safety features, better handling and real wood. Yup, you read that right: real wood. There's also been a price rise on this seven-seater.
You did know it was a seven-seater, right? And not all seven-seat SUVs are the same. There are off-road capable ones which can be as uncomfortable as a tank on city streets. Then there are those that feel like giant, cushy lounge rooms that handle like a ship really and are just big cars so you better not take them off road. There are others which say they're seven-seaters but in reality those extra two seats in the third row are just for kids – and even then you'd only put your least favourite ones back there. So, what's the Mazda CX-9 then?
That's what this review is all about and by the end of it you'll know if this new Mazda CX-9 the right seven-seater for you.
|Engine Type||2.5L turbo|
|Fuel Type||Regular Unleaded Petrol|
I know it’s difficult, but try for a moment to imagine an Australia without Peugeot in it. Actually, it’s not that difficult at all, is it? It would look, well, a whole lot like the Australia of today. Hell, it wouldn't even help with traffic - less than 3400 new cars would have vanished last year, barely enough to make a dent.
Because the French brand is not making much of an impact Down Under. There are probably a few reasons for that; the fact it has been trapped between being not Japanese or Korean, and yet not-quite European, compounded by unpopular product which was also probably too expensive.
But that was the old Peugeot. Before the brand switched to a new importer in Australia (Inchcape, which also imports Subaru), and before the new-look senior management team arrived vowing to breathe new life into the brand here. Most importantly, though, it was before the arrival of the really rather good (and 2017 European Car of The Year) 3008 SUV, which marked the dawning of a new era for Peugeot.
This is the second salvo in this new-product offensive, the 5008; a sexy seven-seat SUV Peugeot has high hopes for in Australia. And given it’s essentially a bigger version of the 3008, we have high hopes for it, too.
|Engine Type||2.0L turbo|
The previous CX-9 was excellent and now the new one fills in many of the gaps which were missing such as the addition of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, the safety tech standard across all grades and great ride and handling. You'd be hard-pressed to find a better large seven-seater all-rounder without stepping into the $100K prestige territory.
The Touring is the sweet spot in the CX-9 with its leather seats, 8.0-inch display and good price.
Is there anything Mazda has missed with its CX-9? Or is this SUV almost as good as it gets at this price? Tell us what you think in the comments below.
The French comeback rolls on, with the 5008 continuing the good work of the 3008, just with more room for cargo or humans. A really very versatile interior, a solid choice of engines and - thank goodness - a conventional automatic combine to make the 5008 a genuine contender in the seven-seat class. Peugeot deserves kudos for its well-stacked standard features and safety lists, too.
But the brand considers this a premium car, and so has priced it like one. Only time will tell whether buyers agree with them...
Is this French roll set to continue with the 5008? Tell us what you think in the comments below.
Nothing has changed to the exterior of the CX-9 in this 2018 update – but that's a good thing, because this is a striking and beautifully styled SUV. More a tall, sleek wagon than upright boxy SUV, there's that in-your-face grille, the long nose the set-back cabin and the hatchback rear end. The only element which irks me are the taillights – they seem a bit small for that big bottom.
All CX-9s look almost identical on the outside, but you can tell the higher grades form their larger-sized wheels and LED fog lights.
There's not much in the way of a body kit, but there is that subtle roof top spoiler, that sculpted front bumper and the little shark fin antenna.
The cabin is a premium feeling place (have a look at the images) – this is Mazda flagship after all. Materials feel soft to touch even on the dash and door sills back and front, while there's a high-quality fit and finish throughout. With big interior dimensions this is also a roomy place, despite that sloping roofline.
The Azami LE is by far the most decadent grade with its nappa leather upholstery and real wood trim. Mazda was not able to tell me what type of wood has been used and could only go as far as confirming it was real wood, however, in the United States the top-grade CX-9, known as the Signature, uses a similar looking material and officially calls it rosewood.
Mazda also told me that the adhesives and materials used in the cabin were also chosen to minimise bad smells – not from the people in it but from the leather's plastics and glues. If only all car companies would care enough to do this – some new car smells make my eyes water.
At almost 5.1 metres long, nearly 2.0m wide and getting onto 1.8m tall you'll need a pretty big garage to house the CX-9.
We said at the time that the Peugeot 3008 might be the best-looking SUV in its segment, and the 5008 shares that same curb appeal - even if it doesn't look quite as handsome as its smaller siblings.
It falls into a weird size category; at 4641mm, it's 165mm longer than the five-seat 3008, but it's dwarfed by true seven-seaters, like the CX-9 (5075mm). But that's no bad thing for its looks.
Bigger is rarely better when it comes to car design, and the 5008 looks compact and dynamic, with only the area stretching from the C-pillar to the tail-lights hinting at the seven seats within. A bulging bonnet, blacked-out body kit and big shining alloys across the line-up give the 5008 a strong road presence.
Cleverly, it feels bigger inside than it seems from its exterior, with the interior feeling spacious and airy up front, and with positively spacious interior dimensions in the second row.
The cabin design is going to be one of those love/hate things, though; a futuristic-feeling design that won’t appeal to everyone. The textured, layered dash design makes the driver and front passenger feel like they're sitting in their own cockpit, with piano key-style controls in the dash that take care of everything from the air-conditioning to the hazard lights.
There are a stack of reasons to buy a seven-seater. You may have a big family and really need the third row, or you're just a small family that likes to pack a truck-load of gear for holidays while having a couple of extra seats just in case you're put on the spot after picking the kids up from karate and end up with more ninjas to drop home.
There are other seven-seaters where those third-row seats are just a bonus – the Santa Fe is a bit like that, but SUVs such as the CX-9, Kluger and Sorento offer much better room back there.
Even at 191cm tall I can sit in the third row comfortably, with just enough head and legroom. That said, I wouldn't want to be there for an epic road trip, but it's fine for kids and shorter adults.
Legroom in the second row is excellent – I can sit behind my driving position with about 10cm of space between my knees and the seat back – headroom isn't as generous as the Kluger or Sorento but there's still plenty, even for me.
If you're lifting babies and children into car seats you may find that coupe styling to the roofline makes the process a little harder – it did for me with our little one.
Also, this SUV is fairly high up. I've had my toddler do a face plant falling out of one while trying to climb in. Oh, don't judge me.
Entry into the third row is made easier by a 60:40 folding second row on rails. It's also good to see that the smaller foldable section is on the curb side of the car.
The CX-9's boot space with the third row down is outstanding at 810 litres (VDA) – the Kluger can only manage 529 litres and even with those back seats in place the luggage capacity is 230 litres, check out my video above where I demonstrate the size with a live human being.
Storage in the cabin is also excellent with six cupholders (two in the first row, two in second and the others in the third) and all grades above the Sport come with storage in the fold-down centre armrest, which also contains a USB port.
All CX-9s come with a USB port up front in the giant split-opening centre console bin and a 12-volt power outlet in the cargo area.
It’s insanely clever, the 5008. And you could probably own one for 12 months or more before you discovered all the practicality features hidden around the cabin. But allow us to give you a little head start.
For one, the cup holder count sits at eight (more than one per passenger, for some reason), plus front-seat riders can access the usual collection of USB and power connections.
The infotainment/multimedia system across all trim levels is operated by a clean and simple-to-use 8.0-inch touchscreen that’s both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto-equipped, and there’s a wireless charging pad for your Android device (or iPhone, with a special case). Expect a sat-nav navigation system (or you can use your phone’s GPS maps), DAB digital radio, Bluetooth connection and a CD player, but there’s no DVD player on offer anywhere in the range.
While there’s no business pack model like you’d find overseas, all 5008s are commendably well equipped, with LED daytime running lights, adaptive cruise control with full stop and dual-zone air conditioning all appearing standard across the range.
The Allure does feel less plush vs the GT-Line and GT models, the former adding special floor matts and an auto-opening boot, while the latter scores bigger, 19-inch alloy wheels and heated front seats with a massage function for the driver. But more kit comes along with extra cost, of course, so the compromise is the fact the GT-Line and GT’s rrp reside higher up the price list by comparison.
Leather seats (the GT-Line and GT are fitted with man-made leather as standard), is a $3700 option, while a sunroof will set you back $2000, both of of which appear on an admirably short optional features/accessories list.
A flat white (the colour, not the coffee) is only the hue you’ll get for free, but optional colours include 'Pearl White', three kinds of grey, black, green and blue. Those colours sound a little beige (we really need three greys?), and you can forget out-there tones like gold.
Each of the three middle-row seats is individually mounted on a sliding rail, so every passenger can decide exactly how much legroom they want, too. And, especially with the seats set to their furthest-back position, there is plenty of room to sit in comfort. Each front seat-back is equipped with a storage net, but even more clever are the fold-down tables mounted above the nets that arrive as standard on every model.
Space is predictably tighter in the third row, with the two rear spots feeling more like temporary jump seats than a full-time solution, but they are very handy for a big family nonetheless.
The real party trick here is the 5008’s boot space, though. First, you can fold down the third and second rows, and even the passenger seat, to unlock a staggering 2042 litres of storage space.
Want more? You can remove both of the third row seats entirely (they weigh 11kg each), freeing up even more space in the back. It also means how many seats you use is up to you; if you’re a smaller family that occasionally needs seven seats, you can leave them in the garage until you need them.
Price and features
The Mazda CX-9's price has gone up but you're getting more features in return – and that goes for all grades in the range. Also, there's now a new grade and king of the Mazda CX-9 range – the Azami LE. Right, let's get into the details.
The most affordable CX-9 is the Sport at $44,990 (an $1100 increase) for the front-wheel drive version and another $4000 for all-wheel drive. Coming standard on the Sport for the first time is a head-up display and being introduced to the CX-9 range finally is Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Other standard features include a 7.0-inch screen with sat nav, reversing camera, rear parking sensors, digital radio, three-zone climate control, LED headlights, black cloth seats and 18-inch alloy wheels.
The Touring grade sits above the Sport and is arguably the best value with its list price of $51,390 ($1100 increase) for the front-wheel drive and again $4000 more for the AWD. In addition to the Sport's features, the Touring comes standard with black leather seats (power adjustable and heated in the front), an 8.0-inch touch screen, proximity key, front parking sensors and LED fog lights.
The GT grade is getting into pricier territory with the front-wheel drive listing for $59,390 (an increase of $1000) and $4000 more for AWD, but along with all of the Touring's features it has a power tailgate, sunroof, 20-inch alloy wheels and heated second-row window seats.
The once-king-of-the-range Azami lists for $60,990 in FWD form (an increase of $4200), again $4000 for the AWD, but now there's a level above it – the Azami LE which is $66,490 and only available as an all-wheel drive.
What's the difference between them? Well let's start with what's the same. Both come with the GT's features plus adaptive LED headlights, heated steering wheel, a 360-degree view monitor, ventilated front seats, windscreen de-icer and a 7.0-inch centre digital instrument cluster.
What the Azami LE gets that the Azami doesn't is real wood trim panels on the centre console, nappa leather seats, box stitching on the steering wheel and different overhead console styling.
As a model comparison you could also take a look at the Toyota Kluger which ranges from about $45K to $70K. There's also the Kia Sorento which ranges from $43K-$60K and I'm going to throw in the Hyundai Santa Fe – it's not as big as the CX-9, but the new one is larger than the previous model and it's a seven-seater, too.
In France, Peugeot is a mass brand - the country's answer to our Holden or Ford. But the company's new bosses don't reckon that strategy will work here, and so they are instead moving the 5008 more upmarket, axing the Euro-only entry-level models so the range here begins with a better-equipped vehicle instead.
All of which means the cheapest way into the Peugeot 5008 family is the $42,990 Allure, a front-wheel drive, petrol-powered model that arrives with 18-inch alloy wheels, roof rails, auto headlights and wipers, electric (and heated) door mirrors and keyless entry.
Inside, you'll find those three rows of 'man-made leather' seats, dual-zone climate and automatic windows. Tech is covered by an 8.0-inch central touchscreen with navigation and DAB, along with wireless charging for your Android phone (iPhones require a special case).
Next is the GT-Line, which will set you back $46,990. It adds an auto-opening boot that can be activated by swiping your foot underneath it, a leather-trimmed steering wheel, chrome exhaust tips and some GT-Line styling touches like special floor mats and a reshaped front bumper.
Finally, you can spring for the GT, which lists at $52,990. That seems like quite a jump, sure, but you do get a diesel engine (which we'll come back to under Engines/Transmissions), as well as 19-inch alloys, Alcantara trim in the cabin, heated front seats (with a massage function for the driver) and more aggressive wheelarches.
Engine & trans
All CX-9s have the same engine – it's a 2.5-litre four-cylinder turbo-petrol that makes 170kW and 420Nm. That's simple isn't it? Also simple is this: all CX-9 have the same six-speed automatic transmission.
Every grade apart from the Azami LE comes with a choice of front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. The Azami LE is purely all-wheel drive.
There are two engine sizes on offer, a turbocharged 1.6-litre petrol engine in the Allure and GT-Line, and a 2.0-litre turbo-diesel motor in the GT. Both pair with a six-speed automatic gearbox (there’s no manual) and drive the front wheels exclusively (a proper 4X4 isn't available - you'd think the diesel was crying out for a 4WD system - though a faux-AWD system can be optioned).
There is no LPG option available, but much has been made of Peugeot’s race to embrace electric powertrains, so expect a plug-in hybrid model to be a part of future planning. Peugeot claims a maximum towing capacity of 1550kg in petrol-powered cars, and 1500kg in diesel vehicles. A towbar is an optional accessory, though.
At 121kW at 6000rpm and 240Nm at 1400rpm for the petrol engine, and 133kW at 3750rpm and 400Nm at 2000rpm for the diesel, the horsepower specifications are near enough line-ball. But the low-end torque of the diesel ensures it feels the punchiest around the city.
The automatic transmission is a traditional gearbox, as opposed to a dual-clutch or CVT auto unit. As such, those all-too-common automatic gearbox problems usually associated with them (confusion at slow speeds and slurring or stuttering) are nowhere to be found.
Fuel-tank capacity is listed at 56 litres, and Peugeot claims a tare weight of between 1470kg and 1575kg. For information concerning your battery, oil type or diesel particulate filters, consult your owner’s manual.
Big car, big drinker? The CX-9 used to be back when it had a V6, but not any more. The turbo-four is efficient, with Mazda saying that front-wheel drive version will use 8.4L/100km, while all-wheel drives will use 8.8L/100km after a combination of open and urban roads. You'll also only need to feed it 91 RON – that's the cheap petrol.
My testing on the launch saw me use 10.3L/100km, according to the car's trip computer, but I was really getting into those roads and stamping on that accelerator like it was a funnel web spider, so for it still to be that low is great.
The petrol engine will return claimed fuel economy of 7.0 litres per hundred kilometres for the combined (urban, extra-urban) cycle, while diesel fuel consumption is listed at 4.8L/100km. Emissions are pegged at 156g/km (petrol) and 124g/km (diesel) of CO2.
There is no way to make a 5.1m long, 2.0m wide, two-tonne SUV feel small in a supermarket car park and you'll feel its size particularly in multi-storey ones as you navigate the HMAS CX-9 up through the levels. I've lived with a CX-9 and I'm not ashamed to admit that I find it tricky to manoeuvre in tight spaces. But you have AEB, rear cross-traffic alert, parking sensors at the back and good visibility to make it as easy as it possibly can be.
Get the CX-9 out on the street, though, and it feels a lot less cumbersome. And on the open road the CX-9 is brilliant. Not only does it just much up miles in comfort, it has such great handling ability that it defies my logic.
In this update Mazda says it has refined the driving experience while making the SUV more responsive though suspension and steering changes. A thicker material behind the headlining in the ceiling has also been used to keep the cabin even quieter, too.
The result? A ride that's knocking on the door of German prestige SUVs and great dynamics.
Even on the 20-inch wheels and 50-profile tyres fitted to the Azami LE I tested at the launch, the ride was outstanding while the handling was excellent. Pushing the Azami LE hard in the corners should have had something of this size and weight leaning on its door handles, but a moment after entering the turn the CX-9 was able to compose itself, hunker down and hold its line in a controlled and planted way.
The Azami LE is all-wheel drive only, but the front-wheel drive version for the base grade Sport and the FWD Azami I drove felt just as composed with great body control and impressive handling ability for the class. In some ways the Sport being lighter and on smaller wheels and higher profile tyres meant the ride was more comfortable and acceleration a bit better.
That engine is a good thing, although part of me misses the old V6 from years ago for its smoothness and torque. The 2.5-litre four-cylinder turbo has enough grunt and it's fuel efficient, but to me a six-cylinder suits this big flagship better.
There are plenty of times when being predictable is a bad thing (professional sports, movie plots, bank robbing), but the 5008 is predictable in all the right ways. And that's because it drives, more or less, like a bigger version of the 3008 SUV that arrived in Australia last year.
We spent the bulk of our time in the diesel-powered GT, in which we tackled just about every imaginable road type, from freeways to twisting stuff to off-road gravel runs. And we came away genuinely impressed by the 5008's overall dynamics.
The ride sits on the firm side of sporty, and feels more so on the 19-inch alloy wheels of the GT cars, but the suspension rarely strays into uncomfortable, and always feels well connected to the road below.
The extra power of the diesel translates to slightly better acceleration, with a 0-100km/h time of 10.2 seconds, a touch quicker than the petrol car's 10.5 seconds. A performance car this ain't, but it doesn't feel underpowered, either.
With 230mm ground clearance, you'll get more off-road ability than in a low-slung sedan, but there's no true four-wheel drive system available, instead you can option 'Grip Control' on the Allure and GT-Line cars for $200 (it's a no-cost option on the GT, but you have to swap the 19s for 18s), which acts as a faux-AWD system.
Should you attack a twisting road, you'll find the 5008 sits flat through the sharpest of bends with almost no roll in the body. There are sportier cars, of course (and the button marked 'Sport' in the cabin seems to do little but add dead weight to the steering), but the French SUV won't embarrass itself on the bendy stuff.
But it's home in the city, and keep the inputs smooth, and the 5008 coasts through the CBD with ease. The fact that it's on the small side for a seven-seat SUV is a huge bonus for city driving (remember, this is a car designed for Paris - a place that knows a thing or two about tight streets with limited parking), and the tech-laden cabin is comfortable and convenient.
It’s not the quietest diesel we’ve driven, though the cabin is well-insulated from the noise, and there’s no shortage of lag when you really put your foot down. One more word of caution, though; Peugeot uses an all-electric gear shift to select Park, Drive or Reverse, and it can be both fiddly and slow to respond. It’s best to take your time with it while you’re figuring out the quirks.
Safety is another strong point of the CX-9 with its maximum five-star ANCAP rating and AEB which works forwards and backwards, blind-spot warning and rear cross-traffic alert. This update has made the advanced safety tech suite standard across the full range adding adaptive cruise control with stop and go feature, lane departure warning and traffic sign recognition.
For child and baby seats you'll find three top-tether anchor points across the second row and two in the third, while there are ISOFIX points in the back as well and two in the second-row window seats.
Under that boot floor you'll find a space saver spare wheel.
The 5008’s safety story is a solid one, with every model arriving with six airbags (including curtain airbags that cover both the second and third rows), a (strangely low-resolution) 360-degree parking camera with front and rear parking sensors, AEB, lane-departure warning, speed-sign recognition, adaptive cruise control and park assist, along with the usual suite of traction and braking aids and three ISOFIX attachment points.
Step up to the GT-Line or GT and you’ll add active blind-spot monitoring and cornering headlights.
The 5008 is yet to be ANCAP crash-tested, but it scored the maximum five-star safety rating when crashed by Euro NCAP.
The CX-9 is covered by Mazda's five-year, unlimited kilometre warranty. Servicing is recommended at 12 month or 10,000km intervals. Servicing is capped and switch from $329 for the first visit, $371 for the next and then back to $329 for five services.
The Peugeot 5008 is covered by a five-year/unlimited km warranty, with matching roadside assist, and will require a trip to the service centre every 12 months or 20,000km.
Peugeot’s 'Assured Price' servicing program lists the service cost for each of the first nine services on the brand’s website. Servicing is cheaper than before, too, now $1745 (petrol) and $1685 (diesel) for the first three years - more than $500 cheaper than the out-going model.
Every 5008 arrives with a clever take on the traditional owner’s manual (a new app in which you point your phone at the part of the car you want to know about and it will jump to that page on the digital manual) and a space-saver spare tyre in petrol models and a repair kit in diesel models.
It’s far too soon to know of any problems, common faults or reliability issues, but keep an eye on our Peugeot owner’s page.