It’s fair to say that Mazda has managed to woo the motoring public with their range of engaging and visually attractive vehicles. From the joys of driving top down in their MX-5 to the executive suite that greets you inside the Mazda6 – they’ve even got the BT-50 ute for those that require both a powerful workhorse and some leisure time ‘off the grid’ adventure. Their vehicles offer extreme comfort, intelligence, assists and safety, but in many ways, equally desirable, Mazda vehicles give you the freedom to truly Drive, something that’s ranked high up on their list of importance—hence their underline Jinba Ittai philosophy.
Now ‘being at one with your steed’ may feel natural and it may even be spiritually fulfilling but for premium marque Mazda, there is the continual need to wow their owners materialistically too—which is why they have introduced Takami.
Literally, Takami means ‘highness’, ‘elevated’ or quite simply, ‘higher than the rest’ and thus is a very fitting label for their top of the line specifications. As we have already seen with the Mazda6, Takami elevates the model. It introduces increasingly luxurious materials and adds further refinements to their already very well-considered vehicles.
The CX-9 is arguably Mazda’s flagship model, but now, with Takami grade, it’s even better. Of course, nothing has changed in terms of dimensions with this large and spacious seven-seater SUV, yet along with its premium positioning, Takami seems to make the CX-9 carry itself with more grace and poise, inside and out. Overall, this model year has received extra special attention focussed around its handling, comfort and NVH (noise, vibration, harshness), subtle tweaks have made it ride just that little bit better with less external interruptions. Now, with Takami, far less than subtle improvements have been made inside.
The scent of luxurious soft auburn nappa leather hangs throughout the cabin. Aside from this being a higher (or is that Takami?) level of full-grained leather, it offers more durability and an evenly spread colour that is ultimately more distinctive. Rosewood also features strongly amongst the dash and console. It’s believed that rosewood symbolises a good heart and encourages us to carry out good deeds, it interacts with us spiritually and is mentally harmonising (no pressure then), but regardless of your beliefs, it does present beautifully and really enhances the CX-9’s clutter-free flow.
More practically and certainly just as upmarket, the Takami grade offers many extras such as ambient lighting, ventilated front seats, a heated and handcrafted ‘box-stitched’ steering wheel, 360-degree camera view monitor and Apple Carplay and Android ndroid Auto, oh, and that priceless feeling of being someone special.
On the road, the CX-9’s 2.5L turbo engine has a nice sense of strength to it and under increased revs, a deep reassuring tone. I did use Sport mode quite frequently but actually preferred to drive in Normal, I was barely in a hurry and the less revvy engine with softer gear changing seemed more suited to the luxurious SUV’s demeanour.
Three rows of seating meant that my smaller-sized family each had a zone to themselves and with the likes of heated rear seats and third-row cup holders, no-one appeared to feel lacking in status.
The CX-9 was and is, a lofty SUV that more than grabs your attention, however, the lavish additions that come with the Takami grade really do make this Mazda even more ‘highly’ impressive.
Words — Dave Mcleod