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Used 2013 Mazda CX-9 SUV Review

2013 Mazda CX-9 SUV

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Edmunds Summary Review of the 2013 Mazda CX-9 SUV

  • B Edmunds Rating
  • Easily fulfilling typical family needs, the 2013 Mazda CX-9 also benefits from a healthy dose of driving excitement.

  • Pros

    Sporty performance; stylish cabin; easy access to spacious third row; solid build quality.

  • Cons

    Long rear doors are an issue in tight parking spaces; 20-inch wheels produce a stiff ride.

  • What's New for 2013

    For 2013, the Mazda CX-9 receives a styling update on the outside. Inside, there's a new display screen and some new electronic features, including Pandora Internet radio capability. A few previously optional features are now standard.

    2013 Mazda CX-9 Video Review

Full Edmunds Expert Review: 2013 Mazda CX-9 SUV

What's New for 2013

For 2013, the Mazda CX-9 receives a styling update on the outside. Inside, there's a new display screen and some new electronic features, including Pandora Internet radio capability. A few previously optional features are now standard.


We expect a lot from large SUVs nowadays. Besides the obligatory amount of passenger and cargo space, we also have become accustomed to a decent amount of luxury and features aplenty. What we don't expect from these behemoths is decent cornering prowess, but that's exactly what you'll get with the 2013 Mazda CX-9.

Despite everything that physics tells us, the big CX-9 can indeed be enjoyable to drive around corners. Even better, the Mazda largely accomplishes this task without sacrificing ride quality. Of course, schlepping the kids to soccer practice and daily commuting are more typical tasks for a large crossover, and here the CX-9 still excels, with a spacious, adult-sized third row of seats and sharp new styling.

As highly as we regard the 2013 Mazda CX-9, it somehow gets overlooked for more popular alternatives. It is understandable, however, as its competitors are quite good in their own right. We'd still recommend cross-shopping the Mazda against the 2013 Ford Flex, with its similarly spacious accommodations, loads of features and distinctive style. We're also fond of the new 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe as well as the 2013 Chevrolet Traverse.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

Classified as a large, seven-passenger crossover SUV, the 2013 Mazda CX-9 is available in Sport, Touring and Grand Touring trims.

Standard features on the Sport model include 18-inch alloy wheels, a roof spoiler, cruise control, full power accessories, a trip computer, three-zone automatic climate control, a tilt-and-telescoping leather-wrapped steering wheel, cloth upholstery, a 5.8-inch touchscreen display, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player, HD radio, Pandora radio capability and USB/auxiliary inputs. All-wheel-drive models also are fitted with a towing package (optional on front-drive vehicles). Packaged as an option are heated mirrors, heated front seats and an eight-way power-adjustable driver seat.

Stepping up to the Touring trim gets you all of the above, plus automatic headlights, leather upholstery, a four-way adjustable front passenger seat, a blind-spot monitoring system, rear parking sensors and a rearview camera.

The range-topping Grand Touring model tops it all off with 20-inch wheels, bi-xenon headlights, LED running lights, foglights, automatic wipers, a power liftgate, keyless ignition/entry, driver-seat memory functions, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, power lumbar support for the driver seat and upgraded interior trim.

Most options are bundled into packages. The Touring trim is eligible for the Touring Technology package, which includes foglights, a sunroof, keyless ignition/entry, a navigation system, a premium 10-speaker Bose surround-sound system and satellite radio. The GT Technology package for the Grand Touring trim is identically outfitted, minus any redundant standard features.

Exclusive to the Grand Touring trim is an optional rear-seat DVD entertainment system which also adds an 11-speaker Bose surround system, the navigation system, a 115-volt household-current outlet and satellite radio.

Powertrains and Performance

All 2013 Mazda CX-9s are powered by a 3.7-liter V6 that produces 273 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic with manual shift control is the only transmission available, but buyers can choose between front- and all-wheel drive. Properly equipped, the CX-9 can tow up to 3,500 pounds.

In Edmunds testing, a front-wheel-drive CX-9 accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 7.4 seconds, while an AWD model required 8.5 seconds. Compared to competing models, these figures are just about average. Fuel economy is on par with that of other large crossovers at an EPA-estimated 17 mpg city/24 mpg highway and 19 mpg in combined driving for front-wheel-drive models. The all-wheel-drive CX-9 drops to 16/22/18 mpg.


Standard safety equipment for every 2013 Mazda CX-9 includes antilock disc brakes, stability control with a rollover sensor, front-seat side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags and active head restraints. Touring and Grand Touring trims further benefit from a blind-spot monitoring system, rear parking sensors and a rearview camera.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded last year's CX-9 (which is structurally similar to the current model) its highest rating of "Good" for both frontal-offset and side-impact crashworthiness, but a second-lowest score of "Marginal" for roof-strength integrity. In Edmunds brake testing, an AWD Grand Touring model came to a stop from 60 mph in 123 feet, which is impressive for this class.

Interior Design and Special Features

The 2013 Mazda CX-9 features a cabin that's stylish and elegant, with a look that's more high end than that of many others in this segment. A graceful waterfall motif on the dash and doors presents visual flair, and except for some low-rent plastics on the center stack, materials quality is respectable. The center console bin -- with its unique split-opening lid -- is quite capacious, but overall, there aren't a lot of storage opportunities inside the cabin.

Within the first two rows, there's ample room even for taller passengers, but headroom is tighter for those seated in the third row. The second-row seat reclines and slides fore and aft to deliver optimal comfort. Access to the third row comes easily thanks to large openings for the rear doors and the fold-and-slide second row; however, the larger doors can be troublesome in tight parking spaces. With the second and third rows folded flat, the CX-9 offers up an impressive 101 cubic feet of cargo capacity.

Driving Impressions

Like many large crossovers, the 2013 Mazda CX-9 provides admirable road trip transportation, offering a comfortable ride on long journeys. It separates itself from the pack by driving like a smaller, more agile vehicle thanks to its precise, communicative steering and buttoned-down composure in corners. The compliant suspension soaks up bumps and potholes to provide a poised, comfortable ride, but we wouldn't recommend the 20-inch tires of the Grand Touring trim, which tend to make the ride somewhat choppy over the rough stuff.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

Average Consumer Rating (See all 22 reviews) Write a Review

Very pleased!

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Vehicle: 2013 Mazda CX-9

It seems that owners either love or hate this vehicle. One on line site claimed it was in the top 10 vehicles that are cheaper than they look. I think this conclusion is totally unwarranted. Traded for our CX-9 when we became grandparents. Bought the Grand touring and yes the navigation system is old tech and needed upgrading. The ride is smooth and quiet even with the 20 inch wheels. The front seats are very comfortable as is the second row, third row is tight as in most similar vehicles. My brother has a BMW X5 and I will compare rides any day. I have had no problems with the transmission as it shifts smoothly and we get 20.7 miles per gallon - lot's of highway miles and small city so in heavy traffic I am sure it would be less. Uses regular gas which is a plus. Bought a hitch carrier to improve storage as we haul 2 adults, 2 car seats and a 40 pound dog. I have owned multiple Mazdas and have always been satisfied. I recommend this vehicle but would drop down to the touring edition and either use a smart phone or Buy a GPS add on!

Bad transmission / torq. conv. & nhtsa: bad brakes

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Vehicle: 2013 Mazda CX-9

We have a 2013 CX-9. Since we've owned it the torque converter and new transmission were completely faulty and replaced, the brake booster, lower control arms (and now front ball joint). The brake booster problem has existed on other Mazda vehicles dating back to 2003 (over 10 years). in 2012 Government investigated problems of leaking master brake cynlinders of 2008 Mazda CX-9. NHTSA already investigated the 2010-2011 CX-9's and Mazda "extended the warranty" on those vehicles. What about the 2013 CX-9's? Why was the problem not yet remedied on the 2013? I have COMPLETELY lost confidence in the Mazda brand: brakes, transmission and steering. It's a great vehicle, but what good is a vehicle if you cannot stop or steer or have power to the transmission? Safety should be FIRST priority and MAZDA has failed miserably with these issues (especially brakes). The brake booster was supposedly "fixed" under warranty, The next day the orange wrench mechanic light illuminated on the dashboard and cruise control broke. It turns out the brake booster was still faulty. We took it back and they have supposedly "fixed it this time". This is the 3rd major repair of this vehicle and it is now less than 3 years old! I do not think I would buy another Mazda again.

Awesome ride

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Vehicle: 2013 Mazda CX-9

Disappointing investment

by on
Vehicle: 2013 Mazda CX-9

I leased a 2008 CX9 Grand Touring for two years then purchased it. At first I was pleased with the vehicle then the issues start. At approximately 50,000 miles I lost my brakes, seems it was a power bust unit. I had clients in my car when it happened. I contacted Mazda and was told there was nothing they could or would do about a potential safety issue. In fact the representative bordered on rude. Since I then the bluetooth unit stopped working, I was quoted around $1,300 to repair. For no apparent reason periodically when I turn off the car the a/c fans start. Also when the wipers are set on auto on a dry sunny day the wipers start. Mazda had no answer for these issues My mechanic tells me it sounds like a wheel bearing is wearing - never had that issue with any other car. The key fobs are held together with tape so the keys don't fall out. The majority of these issues started when the car had roughly between 50,000 and 60,000 miles. I did contact Mazda and was told I was on my own. I have owned two Toyotas both went well over 200,000 miles without any real issues except general maintenance and an Acura that I traded in at 200,000 miles (unfortunately on the Mazda). I hold no hope the Mazda will come close to this type of reliability.

Buy a pilot or highlander

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Vehicle: 2013 Mazda CX-9

This is an update to my earlier review. Do not buy this car. Yes it handles and accelerates well and is roomy and fairly fun to drive. Downsides are manifold. Compared to the 2009 CX9 I owned: The 2013 continues with poor gas mileage in a range of 12 mpg to 20 mpg. The sheet metal is thinner hence the car easily picks up dings. The NAV system is useless so I don't use it. The transmission has a mind of its own. It is rough and clunks and bangs when shifting to drive at times. It downshifts randomly when tapping the brakes. The front brake rotors have warped so the brakes pulsate dramatically. One on the key fobs has already died. The central locking system is unintuitive and frustrating. I am generally a Mazda fan but they decided to cheapen this car. There are a lot of good cars on the market today and these named flaws are unacceptable.

I cannot wait for my lease to end

by on
Vehicle: 2013 Mazda CX-9

I now had my 2013 CX-9 for 27 months and have logged 14k miles. To date both key fobs do not work (one is used by my wife and one by me on weekends). The navigation freezes at the exact moment you need it. The exterior sheet metal easily bends. Gas mileage is weak (but I knew this going int the lease). Other then the above the car will meet expectations.

Talk About The 2013 CX-9

2013 Mazda CX-9 Discussions See all Started By

We bought a 2013 Mazda, CX-9, around July 2014. It's now Jan. 2015 and the vehicle has about 29,000 miles on it. Bad transfer case, will be replaced under warranty....

I've been reading a lot of good information on this forum about towing with a CX9. But, still have some questions. Hoping someone can answer. Just nervous trying to tow with anything that is not a bi…...

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Gas Mileage


  • 16
  • cty
  • 22
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
Edmunds Insurance Estimator

The Edmunds TCO® estimated monthly insurance payment for a 2013 Mazda CX-9 Suv in VA is:

$58.50 per month*