2015 Mazda CX-9 Review

Pros & Cons

  • Responsive steering
  • strong V6 engine
  • spacious interior
  • easy-access third-row seat with room for adults.
  • Middling crash-test scores
  • long rear doors
  • stiff ride with 20-inch wheels
  • underwhelming touchscreen interface.
List Price Range
$11,994 - $17,925

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Edmunds' Expert Review

In some ways, the 2015 Mazda CX-9 is showing its age. But this roomy three-row crossover SUV is still one of our favorites.

Vehicle overview

Mazda takes its "zoom-zoom" ad slogan seriously, infusing the soul of a sports car into every vehicle it makes, including its large crossover SUV, the CX-9. Despite its generous size, the 2015 Mazda CX-9 is fun to drive, with responsive steering and surprisingly agile moves. But that's not why buyers choose seven-passenger vehicles. They need them to haul the family and their stuff. Don't worry. The CX-9 delivers on those counts, too. There's plenty of room for the family, with three rows of comfortable seating and a large cargo hold. It also offers suitable amount of amenities to keep your brood comfortable and entertained.

On the downside, though, the CX-9 hasn't been redesigned since its 2007 model year introduction, and this aging does show up in a few areas. The standard touchscreen is rather small and antiquated (especially given Mazda's impressive new system found in the Mazda 3), and it doesn't offer access to smartphone app integration. The middling safety scores also indicate the CX-9 wasn't designed to withstand today's increasingly stringent industry safety tests. It does offer the latest safety technologies, including blind-spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert, but given the priority family vehicle shoppers place on safety, this could be a deal breaker.

If that's the case, those same shoppers in the market for a three-row crossover SUV have plenty of good choices. The 2015 Dodge Durango and 2015 Ford Flex don't have quite as much space as the CX-9, but they feature more upscale interiors, are imbued with their own driving and styling character, and also offer more vigorous engine options. The 2015 Chevrolet Traverse (and its GMC Acadia sibling) boasts more cargo space and eight-passenger seating, as well as pleasant road manners. The 2015 Toyota Highlander, meanwhile, is the most well-rounded of the bunch. Yet even with its flaws and age, the sporty CX-9 still gets our nod and even earns a top spot in our 2015 SUV Buying Guide.

2015 Mazda CX-9 models

The 2015 Mazda CX-9 is a large seven-passenger crossover SUV offered in Sport, Touring and Grand Touring trims. Note that all-wheel-drive models come standard with a towing prep package, but among front-wheel-drive models, only the Grand Touring can be so equipped.

Standard features on the Sport model include 18-inch alloy wheels, cruise control, three-zone automatic climate control, a tilt-and-telescoping leather-wrapped steering wheel, a height-adjustable driver seat, cloth upholstery, a 5.8-inch touchscreen central display, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player, HD radio, Pandora radio capability, a USB/iPod interface and an auxiliary audio jack. Packaged as an option are heated mirrors, heated front seats and an eight-way power-adjustable driver seat with power lumbar.

The Touring model gets that optional package as standard and adds automatic headlights, a blind-spot monitoring system, rear parking sensors, a rear cross-traffic alert system, a rearview camera, leather upholstery and a four-way power-adjustable front passenger seat.

The Grand Touring ramps up the luxury with 20-inch wheels, xenon headlights, LED running lights, foglights, automatic wipers, a power liftgate, upgraded exterior and interior trim, keyless ignition and entry, driver memory functions and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.

Most options are bundled into packages. The Touring trim is eligible for the Touring Technology package, which includes foglights, a sunroof, a power liftgate, keyless ignition and entry, a navigation system, satellite radio, a 10-speaker Bose surround-sound system and the Recreational Accessory package (available separately, includes roof rails, cross bars, a cargo net and a stainless steel rear bumper guard). The Grand Touring gets its own Technology package, which is just the Touring's version minus what's already standard.

Exclusive to the Grand Touring is an optional rear-seat entertainment package that comes with a DVD player, a 9-inch screen, an 11-speaker Bose surround system, satellite radio (available separately), the navigation system and a 115-volt power outlet. However, this package cannot be combined with the Technology package (translation: you'll have to choose between the entertainment screen or the sunroof).

2015 Highlights

The Mazda CX-9 continues virtually unchanged for 2015.

Performance & mpg

Available with either front- or all-wheel drive, the 2015 Mazda CX-9 is motivated by a 3.7-liter V6 engine that produces 273 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque. The transmission is a six-speed automatic with manual shift control. 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 7.5 seconds, which is decently quick by segment standards. An all-wheel-drive model needed 8.5 seconds in our testing, though, so AWD is more of a performance burden than you might expect. EPA-estimated fuel economy for the CX-9 is on par with that of other large crossovers at 19 mpg combined (17 city/24 highway) for front-wheel-drive models and 18 mpg combined (16 city/22 highway) for AWD models.

Safety

The 2015 CX-9 comes standard with antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, front-seat side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags. Touring and Grand Touring models add a suite of electronic driving aids that include a blind-spot monitoring system, rear parking sensors, a rear cross-traffic alert system and a rearview camera.

In government crash tests, the CX-9 received an overall four-star rating (out of a possible five), with three stars for frontal-crash results and five stars for side-impact safety. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded last year's CX-9 its highest rating of "Good" in the moderate-overlap frontal-offset crash test and the side-impact test, but gave it the lowest rating of "Poor" in the small-overlap frontal-offset impact test. It also scored only "Marginal" (the second-lowest rating of four) in the roof-strength test and for its seat and head restraint design's whiplash protection in rear-impact crashes.

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

Driving

The 2015 Mazda CX-9's V6 offers strong acceleration for both around-town driving and highway passing. The automatic transmission is also pleasing, with quick and timely shifts.

We also like that the CX-9 is an accomplished highway cruiser, keeping road and wind noise to acceptable levels for backseat movie viewing and pleasant conversation. The precise, communicative steering lets you carve a consistent path, whether you're powering down the interstate or making time on a rural two-lane road, and the steep rake of the windshield adds to the sporty vibe. If you're used to a more nimble car, the CX-9 will make the transition to a large family vehicle much easier.

Although we generally like the suspension's combination of compliance and poise, we can't recommend the Grand Touring model's 20-inch wheels, as too much ride comfort is lost in the transition from the standard 18s. If you stick with the base wheel setup, you'll still have one of the best-handling big crossovers around, as well as a smooth ride.

Interior

The 2015 Mazda CX-9's dashboard features a graceful waterfall design that flows into the door panels with uncommon flair. Materials quality is unremarkable -- there's nary a soft-touch panel to be found on the dash, for example -- but it's all screwed together pretty well. One nice premium touch is the center console bin, which has a nifty split lid that pops open like a set of clamshell doors. Otherwise, the CX-9's cabin could use a few more storage areas here and there.

The 5.8-inch touchscreen is a mixed bag. We appreciate that it's standard for every CX-9, but many of today's systems offer larger screens and/or more user-friendly functionality, as well as access to apps on owners' smartphones. The CX-9 is clearly behind the times on this count.

The good news is that the CX-9 has plenty of space. In the first two seating rows, there's ample room even for taller passengers, but headroom is tighter for those seated in the third row. Happily, the second-row seat reclines and slides fore and aft to accommodate various passenger scenarios. Access to the third row is a cinch relative to some other crossover SUVs, but the large rear door openings that make this possible can be cumbersome in tight parking spaces.

With its second and third rows folded flat, the CX-9 offers up a formidable 101 cubic feet of cargo capacity: an excellent figure for this class.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2015 Mazda CX-9.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

Built like a tank
jjwjr,03/17/2015
Touring 4dr SUV (3.7L 6cyl 6A)
Before purchasing I tried a few other SUV's, none matched the handling characteristics of the Mazda. The vehicle feels planted on the highway during the worst weather conditions. At first the firm ride was a concern but it isn't meant to be a Town car. A firm ride is the trade off enabling the vehicle to perform more like a passenger car. No doubt you're aware of its size when behind the wheel but it drives like a smaller vehicle.
5 years and still strong
Anthony,09/08/2015
Sport 4dr SUV AWD (3.7L 6cyl 6A)
So after 5 years just did all around brake and rotors and 300 mile trip to Boston MA and only 58000 miles on the CX9. She was a beauty on the highway and the power is still amazing on the 3.7 V6. Love it and will not give her up. Lots of room for the kids and dog.
Toxic Fumes Fill Car when Impending T-Case Fails
John,12/22/2015
Grand Touring 4dr SUV (3.7L 6cyl 6A)
The CX-9 at first seemed to be a great car, very roomy and fairly comfortable. Fuel economy seems to be low for the size of car, averaging only 14-16 in-town, and 18 on the highway. The biggest challenge, and reason for the bad review is the Transfer Case. I have found several other reviews, matching this issue, and as far back as 2011. The transfer case failed at 12,500 miles, and filled the car with toxic oil fumes from the gear oil aspirating through the venting system. My wife and daughter got sick, and had respiratory issues through the evening and night. The technician informed me this was a known issue with the CX-9, and they have new T-Cases on hand due to how many they replace. The tech also informed me that this happens frequently at even a lower mile range, sometimes as early as 3,000 miles. Customer service was completely accepting of responsibility, and attempted to down play the "known" part of the issue. Even though it is easily found on several review sites, and the dealer had recent examples to discuss with me while I was turning it in for repair. The toxic fumes filled the car within a few seconds, and fully engulfed the interior with a stench that has not come out, similar to cigarette smoke. On a smaller, and a much less horrifying note, the Blue Tooth in this car takes up to five minutes to connect. Very poor blue tooth system.
A surprisingly nimble upgrade from the Mazda 3
gmk,11/22/2015
Sport 4dr SUV AWD (3.7L 6cyl 6A)
There is so much great about this vehicle that I hate to nag about the few inadequacies and design flaws, but just to get it out there for discussion....For instance, I would like about 30 more horsepower on the acceleration. I like the extra interior width, but I miss the way the Mazda3 seats kind of hug you and make you feel secure. I don't like the way that the transmission downshifts to 4th gear when you are going over 60 and let your foot off the gas. It seems to assume you are entering an emergency slow-down mode..but I'm just trying to coast downhill for gas mileage...I'd be complaining a lot more if gas was still $4 a gallon. Even if I throw it in neutral at speed, it just doesn't seem to roll free as if there trans. is still engaged. It syncs with my Samsung G3 for music but fails to download texts...weird. Why does the stereo button for "seek Down" have the arrow on the RIGHT side of the button? Shouldn't it be on the LEFT edge? I can see why the $300+ storage area "cover" is not found on many of these, It just doesn't seem to fit and cover nearly as well as my friend's Tribute, which was what prompted me to order it...I am kind of disappointed with it. You can easily see behind the 2nd row even with the cover installed. I suppose they changed the way it covers due to the 3rd row of seats. The cargo cover is flimsy, not rigid like it was in the Mazda3. Also, it cannot be left in place when the 3rd row seats are up. I wish they had designed it so it could be parked behind the 3rd row of seats AS WELL AS the second row. Overall, it is so much fun to drive that I find myself always volunteering to drive when I go somewhere with my friends or family. It really amazes me how much it drives like a sports car...in the form of a bus...a little more HP and I could be convinced that it actually IS a sports car. The suspension is amazing! Paired with the AWD, I have applied modest effort trying to get it to lose traction with and without rain and have had no success...it just grips the road. Wish they had retractable running boards available for my mom to get in easier. My main reason from upgrading from the Mazda3, I sometimes travel weeks at a time for work (or pleasure), the storage space is fantastic! The storage flexibility of so many bi-fold seats is something I find incredibly useful. Thank you Mazda!

Features & Specs

See all Used 2015 Mazda CX-9 features & specs

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    Overall3 / 5
    Driver3 / 5
    Passenger3 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    Overall5 / 5
  • Side Barrier Rating
    Overall5 / 5
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front Seat5 / 5
    Back Seat5 / 5
  • Rollover
    Rollover4 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of Rollover15.1%
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Good
  • Roof Strength Test
    Marginal
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Marginal
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    Good

More about the 2015 Mazda CX-9

Used 2015 Mazda CX-9 Overview

The Used 2015 Mazda CX-9 is offered in the following submodels: CX-9 SUV. Available styles include Touring 4dr SUV (3.7L 6cyl 6A), Touring 4dr SUV AWD (3.7L 6cyl 6A), Grand Touring 4dr SUV AWD (3.7L 6cyl 6A), Grand Touring 4dr SUV (3.7L 6cyl 6A), Sport 4dr SUV (3.7L 6cyl 6A), and Sport 4dr SUV AWD (3.7L 6cyl 6A).

What's a good price on a Used 2015 Mazda CX-9?

Price comparisons for Used 2015 Mazda CX-9 trim styles:

  • The Used 2015 Mazda CX-9 Grand Touring is priced between $14,999 and$17,925 with odometer readings between 82915 and89440 miles.
  • The Used 2015 Mazda CX-9 Sport is priced between $11,994 and$15,999 with odometer readings between 48387 and89356 miles.
  • The Used 2015 Mazda CX-9 Touring is priced between $15,500 and$15,683 with odometer readings between 64931 and77632 miles.

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Which used 2015 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) 2015 Mazda CX-9 for sale near. There are currently 7 used and CPO 2015 CX-9s listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $11,994 and mileage as low as 48387 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 2015 Mazda CX-9.

Can't find a used 2015 Mazda CX-9s you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Mazda CX-9 for sale - 7 great deals out of 23 listings starting at $24,228.

Find a used Mazda for sale - 4 great deals out of 22 listings starting at $11,282.

Find a used certified pre-owned Mazda CX-9 for sale - 6 great deals out of 7 listings starting at $7,674.

Find a used certified pre-owned Mazda for sale - 6 great deals out of 24 listings starting at $24,648.

Should I lease or buy a 2015 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.

Check out Mazda lease specials
Check out Mazda CX-9 lease specials