Mazda rolls in facelifted CX-9 and all-new Biante

Mazda rolls in facelifted CX-9 and all-new Biante

by -

Mazda’s line-up of models in Malaysia is amazingly complete, given that it does not boast the same volumes enjoyed by the likes of Toyota, Nissan, and Honda. Yet, the company that has made ‘Zoom-Zoom’ its own catchphrase evidently places Malaysia high in its list of priorities and has fostered a close working relationship with its local partners Bermaz Motor Sdn Bhd.

Through a joint venture with Bermaz, Mazda currently operates a comprehensive CKD programme in Malaysia based in Sime Darby’s Inokom plant in Kulim, Kedah, assembling the Mazda3 and CX-5, the latter even being exported to Thailand. The company’s range of fully-imported models are similarly comprehensive and includes passenger cars, pick-up trucks, MPVs, and SUVs.

Mazda’s range of MPVs consist of the mid-sized Mazda5 and the large Mazda8. These two were today joined by a third member, namely the Biante, an eight-seater previously exclusive to Japan, but now exported to a handful of right-hand drive markets. Indonesia was the first country outside Japan to receive the Biante in September this year, and the model makes its first official Malaysian appearance at the ongoing Mazda Motor Show that kicked off today at 1 Utama Shopping Centre in Petaling Jaya until this weekend.

A high-roofed MPV to rival the Nissan Serena, the Biante is priced competitively at RM149,781.70 with insurance and it is powered by a 2.0-litre SkyActiv-G petrol direct injection engine. Unlike the CX-5 and Mazda6 which were developed from ground up featuring the full range of SkyActiv technologies and platform, the Biante was an existing model in Mazda’s line-up retrofitted with the SkyActiv engine and drivetrain.

Displacing 1,998cc, the Biante’s engine operates with a 12.0 compression ratio, which is lower than the usual 14.0 compression ratio of the SkyActiv engine. In Malaysia, the CX-5 and Mazda6 are detuned to a lower 13.0 compression ratio to mitigate the effects of high sulphur fuel in our country. With the lower compression, the Biante accordingly makes do with marginally lower outputs as well, pushing out 149hp and 190Nm to the front wheels through the 6-speed SkyActiv-Drive automatic transmission.

Unlike the lower-slung Mazda5 and Mazda8, the high-roof Biante is designed with space as a priority, and this is highlighted by a cabin layout that features large windows and low sills to give it an air of spaciousness. Seats are mounted in a ‘theatre layout’, whereby passengers as seated progressively higher going from the front to the back rows.

The rail-mounted second and third-row seats can be configured into a variety of layouts including what Mazda calls the ‘Living Mode’, where the second row seats are slid all the way back to give a large floor area in the middle. The second row can also be parted at the middle to give ‘walkway’ access to the third row at the back. Access is aided by rear power-sliding doors with anti-pinch safety feature. The Biante’s advanced keyless entry system also enables the sliding doors to be opened and closed by remote control.

Other noteworthy features are the paddle shifters mounted on the multi-function steering wheel, the broad meter cluster located at the top of the dashboard towards the driver, the ISOFIX child seat anchors on second-row seats, high-performance headlamps and front fog lamps. Dual frontal airbags, ABS, EBD, traction control, and stability control are fitted as standard equipment.

Joining the Biante at its launch today is the facelifted CX-9 premium large SUV, which notably sports a new front fascia that corresponds to Mazda’s current ‘Kodo – Soul of Motion’ corporate look pioneered by the CX-5 and continued by the Mazda6. Available in front- and all-wheel drive versions, the CX-9 is powered by a naturally-aspirated 3.7-litre port fuel injection V6 producing a rated 274hp and 367Nm. Standard transmission is a 6-speed automatic.

Including insurance, the CX-9 is priced at RM296,166 and RM337,206 for FWD and AWD respectively. Both variants come with the same level of equipment that includes automatic bi-xenon headlights, cruise control, and keyless entry. The centre dash houses a 5.8″ touchscreen unit with Bluetooth, GPS, and reverse camera.

Safety features include six airbags, ABS, EBD, traction control, electronic stability control, roll stability control, and ISOFIX. In addition, it is also retrofitted with the i-Activsense safety package pioneered in the Mazda6 which has sensors all-round to warn of forward obstructions, lane departure, blind spot monitoring, and high beam control.

Lastly, it was also announced at the Mazda Motor Show that pre-launch bookings are now open for the all-new third generation Mazda3 SkyActiv sedan that will come fully imported from Japan in the first quarter of 2014 before local assembly commences in the latter part of the year. With an estimated price of RM139k, the new Mazda3 will be powered by the 2.0-litre SkyActiv-G petrol engine. A solitary preview unit is on display at the motor show.


Leave a Reply