Mazda CX-9, Crossover SUV
The only vehicles capable of carrying seven adults or lots of cargo used to be minivans, traditional full-size SUVs and passenger vans. But the full-size crossover SUV (sometimes referred to as CUV) has been a game-changer, providing the space of a large SUV, respectable fuel economy and handling, and exterior styling that doesn't immediately scream "diapers!" Mazda's entrant in this segment is the stylish yet practical CX-9.
The Mazda CX-9 combines a spacious interior that can be lavishly appointed along with the sporty handling characteristics that Mazdas are known for. Though the CX-9 shares its basic architecture and engine with the Ford Edge, the Mazda feels much better executed, with superior driving dynamics and a more athletic feel despite its larger size.
Current Mazda CX-9
The Mazda CX-9 is available in Sport, Touring and Grand Touring trims. All are powered by a 273-horsepower 3.7-liter V6 matched to a six-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard and all-wheel drive is optional on all trims.
The base Sport trim includes 18-inch alloy wheels, air-conditioning, a multifunction tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, Bluetooth and a six-speaker sound system. Safety features include antilock brakes, stability control and side curtain airbags. Stepping up to the Touring trim brings heated and powered front seats, leather upholstery, a blind-spot monitoring system, rear parking sensors and a rearview camera.
The Grand Touring model includes 20-inch alloy wheels, xenon headlights, rain-sensing windshield wipers, a power rear liftgate, memory settings for the driver seat and keyless ignition/entry. Notable options include a Bose stereo, a navigation system, a towing package, a sunroof and a rear seat entertainment system.
Seven-passenger seating is standard on all Mazda CX-9s. The prospect of hauling around seven people can be daunting, but this crossover SUV's third row can hold actual adults, though you'll have to slide the second-row seats forward, making legroom tight for both rows. Also, third-row headroom is limited. On the bright side, access to the rear is relatively painless thanks to an easy-to-use latch that lets you slide past the second row into the back. With the second- and third rows folded flat, the CX-9 can carry 101 cubic feet of cargo.
On the road, we've found that the Mazda CX-9 is fun to drive. The carlike unibody construction and four-wheel independent suspension provide sporting responses, with minimal body roll and controlled ride motions. The steering is surprisingly responsive and the effort is weighted just right. However, the CX-9's ride quality (particularly with the Grand Touring's 20-inch wheels) is rather firm by segment standards.
Used Mazda CX-9 Models
The CX-9 was introduced for 2007. In its debut year, the CX-9 was powered by a 3.5-liter V6 that made 263 hp and 249 pound-feet of torque. The current 3.7-liter V6 replaced the 3.5 in '08, but the original CX-9 was hardly lacking for power, so we wouldn't discourage anyone from purchasing a used example. In the years since, Mazda has made only minor adjustments to the CX-9's exterior styling and availability of standard and optional features.
Read the most recent 2015 Mazda CX-9 review.
If you are looking for older years, visit our used Mazda CX-9 page.