2011 Mazda CX-9 Review

Pros & Cons

  • Sporty performance
  • stylish cabin
  • easy access to spacious third row
  • solid build quality.
  • Long rear doors are an issue in tight parking spaces
  • 20-inch wheels produce a stiff ride.
List Price Range
$10,511 - $11,475

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Edmunds' Expert Review

The 2011 Mazda CX-9 offers everything the typical family-friendly crossover does, plus a dash of spice in the form of driving excitement.

Vehicle overview

Fun-to-drive, engaging cars have been hallmarks of the Mazda brand for some time, but can a large SUV deliver this sort of behind-the-wheel entertainment? With the 2011 Mazda CX-9, the answer is resoundingly affirmative. Despite its larger dimensions, the CX-9 drives more like a midsize crossover. In an expanding field of choices that are getting harder to distinguish one from another, the CX-9 stands out thanks to not only its smiling grille, but also the enthusiastic grin it puts on its driver.

The added athleticism doesn't come at the expense of comfort or utility. The Mazda CX-9 provides adult-size seating in all three rows, solid build quality and a respectable 101 cubic feet of maximum cargo capacity. Easy access to the rearmost seats is an added bonus, as are a carlike driving position and attractive interior styling. The CX-9's only significant downsides include long rear doors that complicate entry and egress in tight parking spots and a ride quality that's just a little too stiff on Grand Touring models with the 20-inch wheels.

Overall, though, the 2011 Mazda CX-9 certainly presents more positives than negatives. But if an involved driving experience isn't a priority for your next family hauler, there are others to consider. The 2011 Ford Flex is one of our favorites thanks to its high-quality interior, roomy third-row seat and innovative electronic features. The 2011 Chevrolet Traverse (plus its Buick Enclave and GMC Acadia relatives) is also worth considering due to its more compliant suspension and roomier cargo area. But for a large three-row crossover that will provide plenty of grins per mile, it doesn't get any better than the CX-9.

2011 Mazda CX-9 models

The 2011 Mazda CX-9 is a large seven-passenger crossover SUV that's available in three trim levels: Sport, Touring and Grand Touring.

The entry-level Sport model includes 18-inch alloy wheels, three-zone automatic climate control, full power accessories, remote keyless entry, cloth upholstery, a leather-wrapped tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel with buttons for audio and cruise control, a trip computer, Bluetooth and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player and an auxiliary audio jack.

Stepping up to the Touring version adds automatic headlights, heated mirrors, leather upholstery (for front- and second-row seats) and heated power front seats. The Grand Touring adds 20-inch wheels, xenon headlights, foglights, automatic wipers, keyless ignition/entry, driver-seat memory presets, a second-row armrest, interior accents of wood and metal, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and a blind-spot warning system.

Available options are dependent on trim level and include a sunroof, a power tailgate, a navigation system with a rearview camera, a stand-alone rearview camera (with a display in the rearview mirror), remote ignition, roof rails and a rear-seat entertainment system. Also available is an upgraded Bose surround-sound audio system with a six-CD changer, satellite radio and an in-dash audio display.

2011 Highlights

Other than a slight increase in fuel economy and the addition of speed-sensing automatic door locks, the 2011 Mazda CX-9 is unchanged.

Performance & mpg

Every 2011 Mazda CX-9 is 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. With some slight gains this year, fuel economy is on par with 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 16/22/19 mpg.


Standard safety equipment for every 2011 Mazda CX-9 includes antilock disc brakes with brake assist, stability control with a rollover sensor, front-seat side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags and active head restraints. An optional rearview camera is available on Touring and Grand Touring models, while a blind-spot warning system is standard on the Grand Touring.

The Mazda CX-9 has not been rated using the government's new, more demanding 2011 crash testing procedures. Its 2010 ratings (which aren't comparable to 2011 tests) resulted in a perfect five out of five stars for frontal and side crash protection. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety also awarded the CX-9 its highest rating of "Good" for both frontal-offset and side-impact crashworthiness.

In Edmunds brake testing, an AWD Grand Touring model came to a stop from 60 mph in 123 feet, which is short for SUVs in this class.


Like many large crossovers, the 2011 Mazda CX-9 provides a comfortable ride for long road trips. Surprisingly, the CX-9 also performs admirably around corners. From behind the steering wheel, it drives like a smaller, more agile vehicle, especially in its precise, communicative steering. While the Mazda's driving dynamics are suited to winding roads, they also translate well to the confines of city travel. The compliant suspension soaks up bumps and potholes to provide a poised, comfortable ride, but we would steer buyers away from the 20-inch tires of the CX-9 Grand Touring, which tend to make the ride somewhat choppy over the rough stuff.


The 2011 Mazda CX-9 features an elegant interior that is more carlike than other SUVs in this category — especially in regard to its seating position and dash design. Leather and cloth seating surfaces plus wood and chrome trim add distinction to the sporty interior, while two-tone leather treatments and red-and-blue lighting for the instruments deliver visual flair. There are some subpar plastics (particularly on the center stack), and a lack of useful storage bins also detract from an otherwise sharp execution.

Taller, adult-size passengers in the first two seating rows will likely find the accommodations comfortable, but third-row occupants have a bit less headroom. 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 101 cubic feet of cargo capacity.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 2011 Mazda CX-9.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

Best AWD Crossover
Touring 4dr SUV AWD (3.7L 6cyl 6A)
After extensive research and test driving, we selected the CX-9. Based upon reviews, and experience with friends' cars, we narrowed it down to the Highlander and the CX-9. Previously we had a Ford Explorer, and opted to not consider Ford due to the problems we had with that vehicle. GM and Honda were eliminated due to the price point (Toyota and Mazda clearly offer more value.) In the end, the Mazda won out due to its handling, and its interior space. We test drove the CX-9 and Highlander back to back, and the difference in handling curves was remarkable. We also checked out the Audi Q7. We felt that the Mazda compared favorably to the Audi in all aspects, and is priced $20k less.
Very Nice Vehicle
Touring 4dr SUV (3.7L 6cyl 6A)
I've had my 2011 CX-9 for about a month, have taken two long road trips in it, and use it to commute in Atlanta traffic about 40 miles round trip. I traded in my 2001 Toyota Highlander for the Mazda, and so far, I'm very happy with the CX-9. The driving experience is great for this size vehicle. The third-row seating is very accessible, and is roomy enough for my 9-year old (my 15 year-old complains it's too tight, but then again, he complains about everything!). I am disappointed in the gas mileage, even when travelling on the interstate at reasonable speeds. I suppose that is the price one pays for this kind of performance. I really like the Bose sound system.
Fantastic Automobile, Kick A Bose, Awesome SUV
Grand Touring 4dr SUV (3.7L 6cyl 6A)
This is with out a doubt the best car I've ever owned in 45 Years. 2011, Just breaking in at 70K Miles. Like new. I'm hangin on to this one. I give it a 10- Mazda CX-9 Grand Touring, loaded.
Very good, not quite great
Touring 4dr SUV AWD (3.7L 6cyl 6A)
After comparing the Acadia/Traverse, Ford Flex, and a few others, I choose the Mazda based on my test drive, available options in my price range, and also based on reviews here. I just took delivery last month so I haven't put on many miles yet, but there are a few things worth noting. One, the performance, handling, ride, etc is everything I read about. It handles like a much smaller SUV, body roll is almost zero, acceleration is more than adequate (how quick do you need to go from stop light to stop light really?), and it stops on a dime. Mileage is what it is, if I wanted 30 mpg I would've got a silly hybrid - no thanks. The car looks awesome from the outside though.


IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
  • Roof Strength Test
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Not Tested
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test

More about the 2011 Mazda CX-9

Used 2011 Mazda CX-9 Overview

The Used 2011 Mazda CX-9 is offered in the following submodels: CX-9 SUV. Available styles include Sport 4dr SUV (3.7L 6cyl 6A), Grand Touring 4dr SUV (3.7L 6cyl 6A), Touring 4dr SUV (3.7L 6cyl 6A), Grand Touring 4dr SUV AWD (3.7L 6cyl 6A), Touring 4dr SUV AWD (3.7L 6cyl 6A), and Sport 4dr SUV AWD (3.7L 6cyl 6A).

What's a good price on a Used 2011 Mazda CX-9?

Price comparisons for Used 2011 Mazda CX-9 trim styles:

  • The Used 2011 Mazda CX-9 Touring is priced between $10,511 and$11,475 with odometer readings between 106644 and118443 miles.

Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.

Which used 2011 Mazda CX-9s are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2011 Mazda CX-9 for sale near. There are currently 2 used and CPO 2011 CX-9s listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $10,511 and mileage as low as 106644 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2011 Mazda CX-9.

Can't find a used 2011 Mazda CX-9s you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Mazda CX-9 for sale - 11 great deals out of 18 listings starting at $13,842.

Find a used Mazda for sale - 2 great deals out of 7 listings starting at $8,972.

Find a used certified pre-owned Mazda CX-9 for sale - 9 great deals out of 9 listings starting at $22,597.

Find a used certified pre-owned Mazda for sale - 5 great deals out of 10 listings starting at $25,042.

Should I lease or buy a 2011 Mazda CX-9?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

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