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Tantalising Takami

The Takami grade has been a welcome addition to Mazda’s line-up in recent years, so it was inevitable the flagship CX-9 SUV would get the same treatment. For 2021, the facelift CX-9 Takami gets a new grille, the option of a new Polymetal Grey Metallic colour, and new designed alloys.



Inside, Mazda’s simplistic Kodo design philosophy is everywhere. CX-9 Takami benefits over the standard Limited spec with niceties like the option of either pure white or walnut brown nappa leather heated and ventilated seats.

These seats also feature a new design with quilting, piping and stitch colour change.

You also get shift paddles, wireless charging, and a larger 10.25-inch multi-information display housing the latest generation MZD touchscreen infotainment system. It is very intuitive and easy to read. Also, the Bose stereo system sounds sweet.

Driving to Balcairn and back, the 2021 CX-9 Takami feels so planted. Plus, a lack of road noise and sumptuous ride comfort was very impressive.

The 2.5L turbo four pot with 170kW and 420Nm of torque was also very quiet. Keep it in the sweet spot between 1600 and 3000rpm, and it pulls quite nicely.

At $70,890 plus ORC, the CX-9 Takami is quite well priced considering the level of refinement you get is usually reserved to high end SUVs costing twice as much. You could do a lot worse than this one.


Marvellous, comfy ute

Mazda’s new BT50 is finally here. Available in 2WD and 4WD, the range starts with the double cab GSX and ends with my test car, the flagship 4WD double cab limited.



At $47,490 and $60,990, respectively, the price is up there yes, but this is somewhat justified when you step inside.

The minimalist cues of Mazda’s Kodo-design philosophy is riddled throughout the cabin.

Switchgear feels solid, and the level of tech on-board is very generous. The infotainment system is first rate and the leather seats are some of the most comfortable I have experienced in any ute.

All models come with a 3L turbodiesel four-cylinder engine with 140kW and 450Nm of torque mated to a six-speed auto box.

While it does require a firm boot to get going, it settles down to a quiet hum while on the move.

The steering is almost perfect, allowing you to coax it freely into each corner.

The BT50 doesn’t try to blind you with off road gizmos, but its simple 2H, 4H and 4L drive modes do their job well.

However, I would be somewhat wary of taking that svelte nose through a muddy riverbed every weekend.

The new Mazda BT50 is unlikely to appeal to the blood, toil and sweat of the farmyard or worksite.

Its unparalleled levels of comfort, refinement, and handsome lines will most likely appeal to someone wanting something which will tow and occasionally rough it if need be.

Either way, the BT50 is still a marvellous ute.


Powering up the Mazda: Blackwells Motors Ltd

Mazda’s Skyactiv-X powertrain has been making headlines all over the motoring world. There is a good reason for this, as it has boldly gone where no internal combustion engine has gone before. We had a play with the new Mazda CX-30 Takami thanks to Blackwells Mazda.


The CX-30 is one of two models in Mazda’s range to benefit from Skyactiv-X, the other being the Mazda3 hatch.

So Skyactiv-X, what exactly is it? Well, the 2L four-cylinder petrol engine is world-first in commercial engine design, combining petrol power with all the benefits of a compression ignition you would find in a diesel. So you get high-end power, and all the low-down torque, resulting in the best of both petrol and diesel engines in one petrol unit.

Let’s break it down a bit further.

Mazda’s new Spark Plug Controlled Compression Injection, or SPCCI, allows the 2L Skyactiv-X petrol engine to get the right amount of fuel and air mixture into the combustion chamber during the intake stroke of each cylinder.

Petrol is then injected directly around the spark plug, creating a bigger bang.

This results in a richer and more immediate surge of power when the spark fires after combining the air and petrol, instead of the gradual build up you would get with a conventional petrol engine.

Skyactiv-X models like the CX-30 are also a mild hybrid thanks to Mazda’s new M Hybrid system.

This works by storing up electricity from the starter motor generator when you lift off the throttle. It then sends the electric drive to wherever it works best, meaning less stress on the petrol engine.

Put these two ground-breaking systems together, and you get a petrol car which produces less carbon emissions, 135g/km, and greater open road efficiency.

There is more power under the bonnet too, with the CX-30 Takami Skyactiv-X producing 132kW of grunt, 18kW more than the regular petrol CX-30.

Fuel consumption is less too, at a claimed 6L/100km.

While that is a bit to take in, one can safely say you notice the fruits of Mazda’s labour when one is at the helm. Moving off and you quickly notice the more immediate delivery of 224Nm of torque.

From idle to high in the rev range, the Skyactiv-X works its magic, providing you with crisp throttle response and top end power.

At cruising speed, there is no droning to speak of and if you keep it in the sweet spot of around 1800rpm around town, it’s almost electric quiet.

Plus, with Mazda’s G-Vectoring steering on hand, you can slice and dice through traffic too.

Also, being the range topping Takami, the CX-30 gets all the niceties like heated leather seats, premium Bose stereo, 360-degrees reversing camera, heated steering wheel, and power tailgate.

Also, everything you touch and operate has a very satisfying click to it.

The CX-30 Takami Skyactiv-X can be yours for $54,990 plus ORC, making it $4000 more than the regular petrol CX-30 Limited.

However, once you get a chance to experience just how clever this revolutionary new engine is, you would be hard pressed to go back to a regular petrol engine.

If this is the future evolution of internal combustion, then count us in.


Premium all-rounder

The Mazda CX30 blew us away a few months back when we tested the mid-range GTX and flagship Limited. So, what about the base GSX? Is the bare essentials CX30 worth your time?


The GSX at $41,490, gets a very refined 2L four-cylinder Skyactiv engine with 114kW/200Nm. Mazda’s i-Activsense safety comes as standard which features lane-keep, active cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and active emergency braking.

Front and rear passengers can slob out in comfort, but 430L is average boot space at best.

However, the feel of a premium cabin for this kind of money is peerless. On the move, the 2L four pot pulls well, but the 2.5L petrol in the GTX and Limited, is that little bit more refined by comparison.

Mazda’s G-Vectoring Control steering is light and still manages to be direct and communicative. Plus, with the smaller alloys on the GSX, ride comfort, while very supple before, is even more comfortable.

The GSX is a great all-rounder as starting point in the CX30 line-up, but thanks to the higher spec $44,990 GTX’s 2.5L Skyactiv engine, forking over the extra $3K would be a no brainer.


Down in the detail: Detail King

Detail King are automotive detailing royalty, especially when it comes to Paint Protection Film (PPF). PPF is applied to the areas of your car most likely to be affected by stone chips, marks, UV light, and other road grime. Applying PPF also gives your pride and joy the greatest shine possible.

Detail King have collaborated with leading professional automotive detailing PPF producers, Ceramic Pro, since inception back in 2016, and the results speak for themselves.

With various PPF packages available, whether it’s your daily driven Mazda, or your limited-edition McLaren, the bonnet, front bumper, headlights, door inserts and edger’s, wing mirrors and even the petrol cap will be protected thanks to the handiwork of Detail King’s select team of detailers, and the products.

Another protection option is ceramic coating by Ceramic Pro, which also comes with a 10-year warranty and Detail King guarantee, once your car has left their care, it will shine better than new.

Detail King have also partnered with detailing consumer product supplier Chemical Guys allowing you to purchase a range of products so you can perform your own touch ups before its time for your next big detail.

To find out more about PPF and why Detail King are automotive detailing royalty, visit the Detail King website.



The SUV is king of the new car market, so is the five-door family hatch a thing of the past? Not so, according to Mazda. After attending the launch of the seventh generation Mazda3 in Hanmer Springs and sampling two variants of the new hatch in day-to-day driving, the new Mazda3 is the best yet.




The new Mazda3’s handsome chops draw design cues from the RX Vision and Vision Coupe Concept cars to create a stunning-looking design. Those wrap around headlights and low nose give a sportier look while at the back, minimal styling cues make for a svelte rear.

The new range consists of three model variants. The entry point GSX for $36,595 comes with Mazda’s silky smooth 2.0-litre Skyactiv-G four-cylinder engine mate to a six-speed auto ox. This means 114kW at 6,000 rpm and 200Nm of torque. It also sips away at 6.2L per 100km.

Moving up to the mid-range $40,795 GTX and the range-topping Limited at $48,795. These will both come with the 2.5-litre Skyactiv four pot. Mated to the same six-speed auto box, power goes up to 139kW at 6,000 rpm and 252Nm of torque at 4,000 rpm and is equipped with both i-stop and cylinder deactivation. Fuel figures come in at 6.6L per 100 km which is pretty darn good.

Inside you are greeted by delightful surroundings. Everything about the new 3 is simplistic and it’s easy to see it as a driver-focused cabin with minimal distractions. The Mazda3 is also very well-equipped. Standard kit includes a crystal-clear Head Up Display, LED Headlights and a 7-inch infotainment system with Apple Car Play and Android Auto Connectivity. Plus, every button or toggle switch is such a joy to use.

Mazda’s i-Activsense system with Lane Departure Warning, Lane Keep Assist, Radar Cruise Control, Smart Braking Support and Driver Attention Alert also makes up the standard package. Move up to the GTX and you get Dual Zone Climate Control and heated seats. Plus, if you go whole hog with the Limited, you can have a sunroof, leather trim and a thumping BOSE stereo system.

On the move in the GSX, that 2.0-litre SKYACTIV engine pulls well, but for me, the one to get is the mid-range GTX. Its 2.5-litre SKYACTIV engine is a real peach and the way it shifts, whether in normal or sport mode, is refined and responsive. You do have to stand on the anchors, but ride comfort is unparalleled for this class.

Another area where the Mazda3 excels is in the bends. You can corner at a great rate, everything hunkers down and bendy bitumen is devoured with ease. In summary, with the new Mazda3, despite the slight decline in the hatch segment, Mazda has given us even more of a reason to buck the trend. It’s just so damn good.



Mazda CX8

A handsome SUV: Mazda CX8

Mazda has a real knack for making well-equipped, attractive and fun to drive SUVs. With the five-seater CX5 leading its class and the larger flagship CX9 selling well, Mazda bring us its all-new CX8, a full seven-seater medium SUV which fills a gap for Mazda in a fiercely competitive segment.


Mazda CX8


Prices start at $53,495 for the entry level 2WD GSX. This increases to $55,955 if you want four-wheel drive. My test car was the range topping 4WD Limited at $62,495. Both GSX and Limited come standard with Mazda’s newest SkyActiv 2.2-litre diesel engine with 140kW of power and 450Nm of torque. This is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. On the outset, the CX8’s fluidic styling takes the best bits of the CX5 and CX9, creating a rather handsome SUV. Though at first glance it would be hard to distinguish the newcomer over its smaller brother.

Inside the same feeling of quality and refinement which adorns Mazda’s range, makes a welcome return. The leather trim is sumptuous and the high transmission tunnel leaves you cocooned by your surroundings. Interior fit and finish are first rate, though headroom is quite restrictive, especially in the rear.  Mazda has been very generous in providing the CX8 with a tonne of standard kit. The base model gets all of Mazda’s latest i-ACTIVSENSE safety technologies, including a new Traffic Sign Recognition system and Intelligent Speed Assistant. There’s also Smart City Brake Support, Forward/Reverse autonomous emergency braking, Lane-keep Assist, Departure Warning System and Blind Spot Monitoring.


Mazda CX8

Other standard features include Mazda’s 7.0-inch infotainment system, head-up display, automatic LED headlights, three-zone air-conditioning, digital radio and Bluetooth, satellite-navigation and rear parking sensors. In fact, the only feature missing is Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The CX-8 also contains 209 litres of boot space and, with the those extra two seats in the rear folded down, this increases to a sizeable 742 litres. On the move, the Skyactiv diesel engine is a gem. At cruising speed at 1600rpm, the noise is almost non-existent, while the linear powerband means the power is always there when you need it. Acceleration itself is brisk and remarkably refined, plus around town, I was averaging 7L/100km, which is pretty impressive.

In the great wide open the CX8 continues to impress. It features the same suspension and steering set up as the CX9. This includes Mazda’s new G-Vectoring Control set up, which means corners require no real effort to negotiate. Body roll is kept at a minimum which is great for a high riding car and ride quality is sublime too.

So, is the Mazda CX8 worth considering? Of course. Despite no petrol option and slightly restrictive headroom for those extra seats, the CX8 provides Mazda with yet another hit in this ever-growing and vastly competitive market.