Mazda CX-9 Review & Features

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2017 Mazda CX-9
Long Term Road Test

2016 Mazda CX-9: Monthly Update for August 2017

Where Did We Drive It?
We made an attempt to go to Kings Canyon National Park in central California. Staff Writer Dan Frio pointed our 2016 Mazda CX-9 north from his home in Orange County for a three-day camping trip with his friend and their three young daughters. They didn't quite make it, however. Packed to the brim, the CX-9 proved too small for the trip, and Dan ended up meeting me in nearby Fresno, California, (where I live) to trade the CX-9 for the long-term Honda Ridgeline I was driving. We'll have a detailed writeup on Dan's experience in an upcoming stand-alone post but excerpts can be found in this monthly update.

Otherwise, our team used the CX-9 in August for typical commuting and the like, adding a total of about 1,600 miles. Overall, the CX-9 continues to be a staff favorite as we approach 20,000 miles on the odometer.

What Kind of Fuel Economy Did It Get?
We averaged 20.6 mpg in August, which knocked our lifetime average down a bit. Still, I'm satisfied seeing mileage in the low 20s. It's better than the fuel economy we got from our 2016 Honda Pilot (20.0 mpg) and 2014 Toyota Highlander (19.8 mpg) long-term test vehicles.

Average lifetime mpg: 21.3
EPA mpg rating: 23 combined (21 city/26 highway)
Best fill mpg: 26.7
Best range: 461.4 miles
Current odometer: 19,621 miles

Maintenance and Upkeep

Logbook Highlights

"I took a drive up into the Sierra Nevadas. Our CX-9's turbocharged engine still pulls strong at 9,600 feet. Try that with the old one's normally aspirated (read: non-turbocharged) V6." — Dan Edmunds, director of vehicle testing

2016 Mazda CX-9

"I'm enjoying our CX-9's ride quality. It's decidedly smooth and composed over the typical ruts and bumps one encounters around town. And this is with our Grand Touring's big 20-inch wheels. Other CX-9s with smaller wheels (and therefore greater tire sidewall) might be even cushier. Factor in the CX-9's tidy handling and you've got an SUV with impressive balance of comfort and control." — Brent Romans, senior editor

"Listening to music on our CX-9's 12-speaker Bose sound system is quite enjoyable. I generally favor hard rock, and this system is up to the task with its impressive bass output. In fact, it can get a little boomy even with the bass output slider set to zero. So, 100 percent accuracy might not be the system's forte. But nonetheless it's got a suitably rich sound and enjoyable staging that you can further adjust with the Bose Centerpoint music processing feature. On the 2017 CX-9, the Bose sound system is optional on the Touring trim level and standard with the Grand Touring and Signature." — Brent Romans

"Mazda's infotainment interface hasn't changed much the past few years, but it continues to be one of the more likable systems around. The console-mounted knob and button array helps reduce driver distraction compared to pure touchscreen-only interfaces." — Brent Romans

2016 Mazda CX-9

"I agree with some comments that my co-worker Josh Sadlier wrote for our June update regarding the CX-9's near-luxury design. Our long-term CX-9 is a loaded-up $43,620 Grand Touring model, so it's understandably nicer than, say, a base CX-9 Sport. But overall I think the CX-9 looks, feels and drives a step above the main competition (Honda Pilot and Toyota Highlander)." — Brent Romans

"Check out the CX-9's full-length gas pedal. It feels good against the bottom of my boot and it makes the Mazda feel just a bit more substantial. It also has a good bit of resistance. Because of that, I can almost use it as a dead pedal in stop-and-go traffic." — Kurt Niebuhr, photo editor

Cargo Space
"I thought the CX-9 would be big enough for two dads and three daughters on a two-day camping trip. Man, was I wrong. I severely underestimated the CX-9's cargo capacity, having never put it to the test before. I just assumed: 'Three-row crossover — of course it'll work!' I should've known better. The CX-9 offers 38 cubic feet behind the second row. Even on paper, that sounds small for a five-person campout. By comparison, the Honda Pilot offers 46.8 cubic feet; the Toyota Highlander, 42.3 cubic feet; and the new Chevy Traverse, 58.1 cubic feet.

2016 Mazda CX-9

"My friend and I packed up the CX-9 with all of our stuff, though a few things needed to stay behind. The girls had no footroom, as sleeping bags, pillows and blankets took over the floor space. We managed to stash some flat objects in the CX-9's shallow underfloor cargo hold. A folding chair had to ride draped over the front passenger headrest. It was shaping up to be a miserable six-hour drive to camp.

"Enter Editor Brent Romans to the rescue. He met me at a Wal-Mart and we unloaded the CX-9 and put everything into the Ridgeline. In retrospect, there wasn't much else we could've done to manage the load in the CX-9. I just think the CX-9, excellent as it is for shuttling around town, is undergunned to handle camping excursions for a family of five." — Dan Frio, staff writer

2016 Mazda CX-9

Mazda CX-9 Review

A three-row crossover SUV is the hauler of choice for a lot of families, but many of the models in this class can come across as pretty boring. If that's your opinion as well, then Mazda has an alternative: the stylish and sporty (but still sensible) CX-9.

New or used, a Mazda CX-9 punches above its price range. Its cabin is upscale and the fun-to-drive factor is high. The latest-generation CX-9 is more polished and fuel-efficient than the original model, but either way we think the CX-9 is a great choice for shoppers wanting something that's both practical and fun to drive.

Current Mazda CX-9
The Mazda CX-9 is available in Sport, Touring, Grand Touring and Signature trims. All are powered by a 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. It's rated at 227 horsepower, or 250 hp when run on premium gas. Front-wheel drive is standard on the first three trims. All-wheel drive is standard on Signature and optional on all others.

The base Sport is respectably equipped with features such as alloy wheels, three-zone automatic climate control and a 7-inch touchscreen. Touring models add leather seating, power front seats with heating, keyless ignition and entry, a power liftgate, blind-spot monitoring and low-speed automatic braking. The Grand Touring gets you 20-inch wheels, a sunroof, a Bose stereo, navigation and more safety features, while the Signature model tops out the line with all of above plus premium leather upholstery. Many of the features offered on the Grand Touring model are offered as options on the Touring.

In our reviews, we have found the Mazda CX-9 enjoyable to drive. It might have a four-cylinder engine (most rivals have V6s), but it's punchy and provides suitable acceleration when you need it. The CX-9 also has a solid connection to the road. You'll enjoy how this Mazda seems to have been designed with drivers in mind. The only significant drawback is utility; the third-row seat and cargo area aren't as big as what you'll find on some rival crossovers. First- and second-row seats, however, are roomy and comfortable, and the CX-9's classy and well-finished interior sets a new benchmark. Overall, we think this Mazda is a great choice for a three-row crossover.

Used Mazda CX-9 Models
The current Mazda CX-9 represents the model's second generation, which debuted for the 2016 model year. Compared to the earlier CX-9, the latest model is more stylish and upscale. It also has more advanced safety and technology features.

The first-generation CX-9 was introduced for 2007 and was produced through 2015. In its debut year, the CX-9 was powered by a 3.5-liter V6 that made 263 hp. A more powerful 3.7-liter V6 (with 273 hp) replaced the 3.5 in '08, but the original CX-9 was hardly lacking for power, so we wouldn't discourage anyone from purchasing the smaller V6. For the rest of its model run, Mazda made only minor adjustments, which included refreshed exterior styling and revised availability of standard and optional features.

Like most other Mazda models of the time, the CX-9 was offered in Sport, Touring and Grand Touring trims. All were well equipped, but look at Touring to get leather upholstery, power-adjustable and heated front seats, and more safety features. Grand Touring versions added 20-inch wheels, automatic wipers, a power liftgate, and keyless ignition and entry. Common options included navigation, a rear-seat entertainment system and a premium Bose sound system.

We liked this CX-9's roomy interior and strong V6 engine. And like other Mazda models, this CX-9 boasted a sporty feel when going around turns. However, the ride quality (particularly when fitted with 20-inch wheels) was rather firm by segment standards. Also, this CX-9, because of its long production run, became increasingly uncompetitive in its last few years. Rival crossovers of the time typically offered newer technology features, better fuel economy and superior crash test scores.

Mazda CX-9 Cars for Sale

2017 Mazda CX-9 Signature
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Dealer Notes

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2017 Mazda CX-9 Signature
NEW 2017 Mazda CX-9 Signature
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Dealer Notes

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2017 Mazda CX-9 Sport
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Dealer Notes

This gas-saving CX-9 will get you where you need to go!! Ready for anything! There is no better time than now to buy this solid Vehicle!!! This family-friendly Vehicle, with its grippy AWD, will handle anything mother nature decides to throw at you!!! Optional equipment includes: Power Driver Seat, LED Fog Lights, Roof Rails, Frameless Auto Dimming Mirror w/HomeLink, All-Weather Floor Mats, Wheel Locks...Standard features include: Bluetooth, Remote power door locks, Power windows with 4 one-touch, Automatic Transmission, Compressor - Intercooled turbo, 4-wheel ABS brakes, Air conditioning with dual zone climate control, Rear air conditioning - With separate controls, Cruise control, Audio controls on steering wheel, Traction control - ABS and driveline, Tilt and telescopic steering wheel, Head airbags - Curtain 1st, 2nd and 3rd row, Passenger Airbag, 2.5 liter inline 4 cylinder DOHC engine, 227 hp horsepower, Power mirrors, All-wheel drive, 4 Doors, Fuel economy EPA highway (mpg): 26 and EPA city (mpg): 20, Compass, Tachometer, External temperature display, Trip computer, Video Monitor Location - Front, Overhead console - Mini with storage, Speed-proportional power steering, Clock - In-radio display, Daytime running lights, Keyless Ignition - Push button start only, Tire pressure monitoring system, 4WD Type - Automatic full-time, Self-leveling headlights - Self-leveling, Signal mirrors - Turn signal in mirrors, Front seat type - Bucket, Reclining rear seats, Split-bench rear seats, Intermittent window wipers, Privacy/tinted glass, Rear wiper...

2017 Mazda CX-9 Sport
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Dealer Notes

Infotainment System (Aha Internet Radio, E911 Automatic Emergency Notification, Infotainment System Voice Command, Pandora Internet Radio, Radio Broadcast Data System Program Information, SMS Text Msg Audio Delivery & Reply, and Stitcher Internet Radio), AWD, 3rd row seats: split-bench, 4-Wheel Disc Brakes, 6 Speakers, ABS brakes, Air Conditioning, Alloy wheels, AM/FM radio, Anti-whiplash front head restraints, Automatic temperature control, Axle Ratio: 4.411, Brake assist, Bumpers: body-color, Cloth Seat Trim, Compass, Delay-off headlights, Driver door bin, Driver vanity mirror, Dual front impact airbags, Dual front side impact airbags, Electronic Stability Control, Emergency communication system, Exterior Parking Camera Rear, Four wheel independent suspension, Front anti-roll bar, Front Bucket Seats, Front Center Armrest, Front dual zone A/C, Front reading lights, Heated Front Seats, Heated Outside Mirrors, Illuminated entry, Leather Shift Knob, Leather steering wheel, Low tire pressure warning, Occupant sensing airbag, Outside temperature display, Overhead airbag, Overhead console, Panic alarm, Passenger door bin, Passenger vanity mirror, Power Adjustable Driver Seat, Power door mirrors, Power Driver Lumbar Support, Power Driver Seat, Power steering, Power windows, Radio data system, Radio: AM/FM Sound System w/6 Speakers, Rear air conditioning, Rear anti-roll bar, Rear reading lights, Rear seat center armrest, Rear window defroster, Rear window wiper, Remote keyless entry, Speed control, Speed-sensing steering, Split folding rear seat, Spoiler, Steering wheel mounted audio controls, Tachometer, Telescoping steering wheel, Tilt steering wheel, Traction control, Trip computer, Turn signal indicator mirrors, Variably intermittent wipers, and Wheel Locks. *Your additional costs are sales tax, tag and title fees for the state in which the vehicle will be registered, any dealer-installed options (if applicable) and a $299 dealer processing fee. Prices are subject to change, and prior sales are excluded from these offers. While every reasonable effort is made to ensure the accuracy of this information, we are not responsible for any errors or omissions contained on these pages. Please verify any information in question with the dealer. *Your additional costs are sales tax, tag and title fees for the state in which the vehicle will be registered, freight, any dealer-installed options (if applicable) and a $299 dealer processing fee. Prices are subject to change, and prior sales are excluded from these offers. While every reasonable effort is made to ensure the accuracy of this information, we are not responsible for any errors or omissions contained on these pages. Please verify any information in question with the dealer. The offers and conditions on this vehicle are: $1,500 - Customer Cash. Exp. 10/02/2017

2017 Mazda CX-9 Grand Touring
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2017 Mazda CX-9 Signature
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