This 2013 Mazda CX-9 video review talks about fuel economy, prices, safety, interior space and technology features like Bluetooth and Pandora. It is one of our recommended large crossovers SUVs and we compare it to others.
There usually comes a day when you're dragged kicking and screaming from some small, nimble car into a big old family vehicle. If that day is upon you, you should probably check out the Mazda CX-9. No other three-row crossover feels as good behind the wheel.
Just like Mazda's other cars, the CX-9 puts a priority on driver involvement. Its steering and handling are sharp, and the ride feels nicely buttoned down. It's easy to forget you're driving such a massive vehicle.
And it is massive. With 101 cubic feet of cargo space, only GM's large crossovers beat it. But, unlike the boxy Ford Flex, which feels bigger than its numbers would indicate, the sleek CX-9 seems smaller. There are fewer little storage cubbies and third row headroom is tight.
No problem with legroom, though, in any row, especially in the front, which has a great driving position. You still sit high, but it feels more like a car than a crossover with its controls so close to you.
The base Mazda CX-9 costs around $30,000 and comes with a lot of stuff. The touchscreen interface is standard and includes Bluetooth phone and audio, Pandora, HD radio and an iPod interface. But the touchscreen's buttons are small and wash out in direct sunlight. The system can be slow to respond as well.
We think most folks will be good with the base Sport model, but extra luxury and convenience features can be found in the Touring trim or this $38,000 Grand Touring. There's not much you can't get, but there's a lot of cheap plastic in the cabin. You won't be confusing it for a luxury model.
In terms of safety, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Mazda CX-9 the highest rating of "Good" in the frontal-offset and side crash tests, but only "Marginal" for roof strength.
While the CX-9 feels comparatively athletic from behind the wheel, the acceleration from its 273-horsepower V6 is just average. Its fuel economy of 19 mpg combined with FWD and 18 mpg with AWD is average too.
The Mazda CX-9 is one of our top recommend large crossovers along with the GMC Acadia and Ford Flex. Both of those have more comfortable rides and are a bit more functional in nature, but they definitely aren't as responsive to drive. And any of them are proof that getting a family hauler doesn't have to be so bad.