Mazda sent a prototype right hand drive engineering mule and a team of engineers to evaluate the V6-powered CX-9 under Australian conditions. The all-wheel drive CX-9 was driven on a mix of city and country roads, including tram tracks and gravel. Australia will be the first market to receive the RHD CX-9. It goes on sale from January 2008. To be offered in two grades, the Australian CX-9s, which have been extensively modified for right hand drive use, are expected to be priced between $55,000 and $60,000.
Modifications include "flipping" the centre seat 60/40 split and middle row seat belt mounting point, ensuring that the CX-9's insightful interior works just as well in Australia as it does in North America. The evaluation drive, which focused on areas such as powertrain, suspension and steering calibration and NVH, also included a left hand drive North American specification CX-9. While final specifications have yet to be confirmed, the 186 kW CX-9 will be generously equipped with a choice of 18 or 20-inch alloy wheels, dual zone climate control air conditioning, cruise control, power windows and mirrors, six airbags and active safety features such as Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) and Roll Stability Control (RSC).