After researching the GM cousins, the new Ford Explorer, the new Toyota 4-Runner, and Honda Pilot, we gladly purchased the CX-9. Nothing compares to the Mazda's driving dynamics or what you get for the money. I highly recommend this crossover as the mid-level Touring package comes standard with power everything, leather, and a fold-flat third row.
Fuel econ is decent considering the size and power. We upgraded from a 2007 Jeep Grand Cherokee. There is really no comparison to be made. The CX-9 is smooth and does not feel enormous, but is more than roomy enough. The dealership did a very good deal for us as well.
Thumbs up, Mazda.
Looks, handling, smooth engine, interior fit and finish, highway mpg, included third row, standard leather on Touring and above, ease of converting from three rows to two. The interior looks more like a luxury car than the Pilot, 4-Runner, and all the GM cousins.
Center console display has too much information for such a small screen (info center shares the same spot as the clock, so you can only see info like remaining miles on tank of gas or time one at a time). I also believe Sat Radio should come standard on Touring. Basic sound system is pretty weak. USB for iPod would be better than a standard auxiliary input. These are all minor issues considering the value for the money with this auto, however.