2016 Mazda CX-9 Review

Pros & Cons

  • Inside and out, the CX-9 is attractively styled
  • estimated fuel economy is better than the class average
  • comfortable interior remains quiet on the highway
  • top level Signature trim is on par with some luxury-brand competitors.
  • Cargo capacity isn't as generous as rivals
  • leather seats can be stifling in warm weather
  • third row of seats isn't very accommodating for passengers.
List Price Range
$19,990 - $26,500

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Edmunds' Expert Review

The all-new 2016 Mazda CX-9 is attractive inside and out, but it's more than just a pretty face. It's a pleasure to drive and will satisfy all of your growing family's requirements thanks to its generous size and numerous features. It's one of our top-ranked three-row SUVs.

Notably, we picked the Mazda CX-9 as one of Edmunds' Best Used SUVs for 2016.

Vehicle overview

It's been nine years since Mazda brought the first CX-9 to market. In that time, SUVs have increased their domination of the market, so the pressure was on to follow it up with something impressive. By all accounts, the redesigned 2016 Mazda CX-9 has succeeded thanks to its excellent drivability, attractive styling and an interior that exceeds expectations.

Unlike other Mazda vehicles, the new CX-9 doesn't distinguish itself as the fun-to-drive alternative in the class. Instead, it delivers what most SUV drivers actually want. The CX-9 is appropriately responsive and powerful while delivering high levels of comfort and refinement. In the range-topping Signature trim, it even flirts with the entry-level luxury segment. As further incentive, you get a lot of features for the money and with strong fuel economy figures, its cost of ownership will remain favorable.

On the downside, the 2016 Mazda CX-9 doesn't hold as much cargo as competitors, and the third row of seats is cramped. That said, we wouldn't call the interior restrictive. Second-row seats are spacious and comfortable and clever engineering makes the most of all available luggage space. It will certainly meet the needs of the typical growing family.

Sleek styling and bold accents make the 2016 Mazda CX-9 one of the prettiest SUVs in its class.

Of course, the 2016 Mazda CX-9 isn't the only choice. Other three-row SUVs worth considering include the Ford Explorer, Honda Pilot and Toyota Highlander, all of which received Edmunds "A" ratings. We're confident the CX-9 will also earn a top grade. This new and improved CX-9 is definitely worth a spot on your short list.

2016 Mazda CX-9 models

The 2016 Mazda CX-9 is a three-row midsize crossover SUV with seating for seven. It is offered in Sport, Touring, Grand Touring and Signature trim levels.

The Sport trim comes standard with 18-inch alloy wheels, automatic LED headlights, cruise control, keyless entry, tri-zone automatic climate control, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter, cloth upholstery, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a six-way manually adjustable driver seat, 60/40-split folding second-row seats, 50/50-split folding third-row seats, a rearview camera, Bluetooth phone and streaming audio, Mazda's Connect infotainment system with a 7-inch display and a six-speaker sound system with HD radio, auxiliary/USB input and Internet streaming radio apps.

The Touring adds heated mirrors, a power liftgate with adjustable height stops, keyless ignition, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a universal garage door opener, a blind-spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alerts, heated front seats, leather upholstery, an eight-way power-adjustable driver seat with lumbar support (four-way front passenger seat), an 8-inch infotainment display and two USB ports in the second-row center armrest.

The Grand Touring trim further dresses things up with 20-inch wheels, adaptive headlights, LED foglights, automatic wipers, roof rails, a sunroof, adaptive cruise control, lane-keep assist, rear parking sensors, frontal collision warnings and mitigation, a head-up display, driver seat memory functions, retractable sunshades for the middle row seats, aluminum interior trim, additional interior lighting, a navigation system, a 12-speaker Bose premium audio system and satellite radio.

At the top of the range is the Signature trim that adds exterior LED accent lighting, premium leather upholstery and rosewood interior trim.

Some of the features on higher trims are available on supporting models as options.

2016 Highlights

The Mazda CX-9 has been redesigned for 2016.

Performance & mpg

Under the long hood of the CX-9 is a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 227 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque on standard gasoline. Using premium fuel increases horsepower to 250 hp, but torque output remains the same. That means there really won't be an appreciable change in performance as far as the driver is concerned. A six-speed automatic transmission sends power to the front wheels, and all-wheel drive is available on all models. The Signature trim is only sold as AWD.

The EPA estimates for fuel economy are 25 mpg combined (22 city/28 highway) for the front-wheel-drive model and 23 mpg combined (21/27) for the AWD. These estimates are better than average among other three-row SUVs. Properly equipped, the CX-9 can tow up to 3,500 pounds.


Standard safety features for all 2016 Mazda CX-9 models include antilock brakes, stability and traction control, front-seat side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags, a rearview camera and emergency telematics.

Touring trims and above also benefit from a blind-spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alerts, while Grand Touring and Signature trims also receive a lane-keep assist system, rear parking sensors and frontal collision mitigation up to 18 mph.


Mazda has carved out its niche as a maker of cars that are fun to drive, but the CX-9 takes a more conventional approach. The ride quality is soft and compliant for a smooth ride over imperfect pavement, but it may be a bit too soft, as we felt some extra movement after encountering bumps. When taking a corner, there's a decent amount of body roll, but the big SUV still feels manageable and confident.

The 2016 Mazda CX-9 delivers the right amount of responsiveness, refinement and comfort that SUV shoppers are seeking.

The 2.5-liter engine's power output specs may leave some unimpressed, but it's a different story behind the wheel. There's an abundance of power at low engine speeds, tapering off as the engine approaches its limits. Considering that few drivers ever floor the pedal like this, Mazda wisely chose responsiveness and drivability over power on paper. The CX-9 reaches highway speeds and passes slower traffic with ease, and gearchanges are quick and smooth. On the highway, the interior is well insulated from road and wind noise, too, making for a fatigue-free environment.

So despite being less sporty than we'd expect from Mazda, the 2016 CX-9 should appeal to those in the market for a three-row SUV.


The 2016 Mazda CX-9's interior easily exceeds expectations for the class. Its overall design is visually pleasing without being gimmicky, and all controls are thoughtfully placed. Mazda's Connect infotainment system is intuitive and the display is perfectly placed in the driver's line of sight. The Signature trim's cabin further enhances the luxury feel thanks to its rosewood and aluminum trim and deep red leather upholstery.

It'd be easy to mistake the 2016 Mazda CX-9's interior for that of a luxury brand. We think it's especially true of the top-of-the-line Signature trim.

Its front seats provide ample support and comfort for long-distance road trips, though the leather can be stifling in warm weather. The second-row seats are equally comfortable and feature a generous range of slide and recline travel adjustments. As is customary for SUVs in this class, the third row is intended for occasional use by smaller passengers. Children will be just fine back there, but the lack of headroom and the low-mounted seat cushion mean that adults will find it suitable for short trips only.

Behind the third row are 14.4 cubic feet of cargo space along with a shallow underfloor bin. With the rear seats folded, capacity expands to 38.2 cubic feet, and with both floors stowed, 71.2 cubic feet are available. That figure is smaller than average for three-row SUVs, but the CX-9 makes up for it with a flat load floor that makes loading of bulky items much easier.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2016 Mazda CX-9.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

Solid Near Luxury Contender
Signature 4dr SUV AWD (2.5L 4cyl Turbo 6A)
8/12/18 UPDATE: 50k miles on Battle Star Galactica now, the only quality concerns we noted are: 1) Navigation hiccups are gone now and system is stable. When are we getting Android Auto again? 3) Tailgate continues it's failure to open about 5% of the time (car beeps 3 times). Annoying but barely 4) Subtle vibration of driver's sideview mirror at speeds above 70 mph in windy conditions. Other than those minor gripes, the car still does everything it originally did exceedingly well. I would still purchase this car again today. ORIGINAL REVIEW: We recently picked up a 2016 signature and this car is nearly perfect for our needs. We already own a 2014 Mazda3 and bought this to replace a 2009 RX350. We cross shopped this car with the 2016 RX350. While the fit and finish on the new RX is undeniably excellent, the major problems with it are 1) the infotainment system requires extraordinary precision/attention and thus is extremely distracting/dangerous to use while driving and 2) the rear cargo area has a higher load floor and less cargo space than the 2nd or 3rd gen RXs. MSRP on the signature model I got is $45,215 and I paid $43,800 excluding taxes, fees, and registration. A comparably equipped RX350 would retail for $10K more easy. I'll be the first to say that the CX-9 loses out if you're looking for the most utilitarian vehicle with maximum cargo capacity. It's smaller interior volume (mostly due to height) mean it doesn't have the biggest cargo capacity (some 30 cubes less than the Pilot). That said, the super long wheel base and overall length provide solid leg room in all three rows and the interior is more than comfortable for adults. It just won't be as airy as some when it comes to headroom. But what it lacks in utilitarianism it makes up for in spades through superior driving dynamics, solid execution of tech, and premium design. I find this Signature trim far more luxurious than the top trims of any of its direct competitors and even more attractive than MDX or QX60. To me the ideal buyer of the Signature trim of this vehicle is someone that wants a 3 row near luxury SUV but doesn't want to pay luxury prices or, as was my case, simply found the alternatives unappealing. Onto the pros and cons: Cons: Front side air vents point too far out and don't direct airflow towards front passengers effectively. Very narrow 2nd row middle seat (outboard seatbelt buckles are almost blocked by a rear facing Britax convertible car seat) No ventilated front seats (would have been nice given hot CA summers) No panoramic moon roof No live traffic integration in the nav app. Live traffic is viewed in a separate view and is only shown on a macro map. No Android Auto or Apple Car Play Pros: Power out of the turbo 4 is very competent. Anyone who balks at the 227 hp rating on regular octane clearly hasn't test driven it or experienced the 310 lb ft of torque that comes on at 2000 rpm. Nappa leather seats are super comfortable Deep cargo loading area with 3rd row folded Heads up display very crisp and bright with a ton of info (lane departure, lane keep, radar cruise, nav with lane guidance, tach, speed, gear, blind spot monitoring). Radar cruise maintains distance and accounts for lane changes and merging traffic decently well. It can be heavy on the brakes when coming up on slowing traffic. That said, the system anticipates cars moving faster than you that merge close to you and won't brake in those situations. Lane departure and keep assist only intervene when necessary and only correct enough to guide you back. Smart City Braking not overly aggressive as some reviewers have indicated (braking earlier avoids unexpected intervention and also conserves brake life). I've never had it activate on me. Blind spot actually beeps when a car is detected and you have your signal on (most competitors only have side mirror indicator lights) Styling is the most attractive/luxurious in segment Infotainment system and controls are very intuitive with low learning curve Suspension absorbs road imperfections well yet offers minimal body roll in corners Very quiet ride on par with RX350 and MDX Fully independent rear HVAC zone works very well and even includes upper and lower air ducts/flow control and auto setting Ambient lighting (flood up front, front door pulls, all door pockets, center console) adds a luxurious ambiance. LED headlights are bright and have a very even distribution and clean cutoff. Auto high beams are also incredibly precise, turning off automatically even when there's only one car way off in the distance on either side of a split freeway.
Drivers 3-row CUV more upscale than before
Grand Touring 4dr SUV AWD (2.5L 4cyl Turbo 6A)
Wrote this on kbb already so just adding my 2 cents here as well. Quick take: Pros(+) nice exterior/interior (albeit subjective) considerable low-end torque gives more than adequate acceleration with no discernable turbo lag great handling for the class (drives much smaller than its size) MUCH quieter than other Mazdas Heads Up Display (HUD) is pretty cool and safer since you don't have to look around as much at the dashboard or nav-display - even blindspot warnings appear in the HUD) safety package (for GT trim) includes blindspot monitoring, lane-departure warning/assist, adaptive headlights, auto-highbeam, automatic brake support, rear parking sensors, adaptive cruise control) Fuel-efficient for the class (21/27 - 23 combined EPA) CONS(-) Cargo area is probably amongst worst in class (71 cubic ft vs. Honda Pilot 100 cubic ft) AC does not seem as strong as before no ventilated seats, no heated rear seats, no panoramic roof, no handsfree auto liftgate Not a lot of extra power after 2-3k rpm (but honestly i haven't had to push the engine in those ranges) 6-way power drivers seat adjustment vs. 8-way (height) adjustment in competitors 3rd-row seats are probably only usable for small kids Towing rating is 3500# which is below competitors overall, the cons don't mean that much to me since i only have 2 kids, don't tow, and don't need a ton of cargo but for those who need those things, those might be deal-breakers. personally the steering/handling and interior quality and quiet but comfortable ride are what did me in. so overall i really like the car and think you get a lot of value for the money.
Chose Mazda Over Infiniti?
Signature 4dr SUV AWD (2.5L 4cyl Turbo 6A)
I've had an Infiniti FX35 for the last 5 years and loved it. It has been a great family vehicle, the quality was nice and the reliability was top notch. My only wish was sometimes that it had a little more trunk space. I was prepared to buy another one last week, now a QX70. However, before I pulled the trigger I had to do due diligence and cross shopped the Acura MDX (slightly bigger than the Infiniti with 3 rows) and yes, the Mazda CX9. The Acura drove pretty nice, but for the price I didn't like it as much as the Infiniti and it looks more like a mini van to me than an SUV, which is counter productive to buying an suv. Seeing the new bodystyle of the CX-9 made me immediately think of it as being similar to my FX-35 body style I'd come to love, only stretched out slightly for the 3rd row giving more room. I decided to check them out and I'm so glad I did. Mazda has always been nice, but not luxury vehicle nice. I tested out both the Grand Touring and Signature level trims, noting the main differences being subtle: the real wood and dark brown interior in the Signature model with led lighting in the grill vs the Grand Touring with either black or beige interior and black accents vs the wood, both have 20" wheels and nav so the Grand Touring is a great buy if you don't mind black or beige seats only. About a $3k difference. What sold me on the Signature was the dark brown interior I loved; looked a lot more luxurious and reminded me of my 2002 SE Miata I once had with a similar interior. Paired with the pearl white exterior my wife had to have, this was a great compromise; She the got color she wanted, I got the interior I wanted. Had I not read that it had a 2.5 turbo I would have believed it had at least a 3.5L V6 under the hood. Side note: Though the exhaust note is 4cly, the power band and torque definitely are not! It would be easy for mazda to transplant this powertrain to a 3 & the 6 to make mazdaspeed versions and I hope they do! Love the tech safety features that though they are becoming common on a lot of modern vehicles, the way they are implemented here makes them feel like luxury exclusive items. The interior though is what really sold me on this vehicle, its really nice. I do not feel like I stepped own from an Infiniti to a Mazda, but rather that I upgraded. From the NAPA leather, to the aluminum and real wood accents throughout, a plethora of tech and safety features, smooth and very quite ride! There's some youtube videos comparing the new CX-9 to the Audi Q7 and initially I thought that was apples to oranges, but but after testing it out and now owning it, they have very similar quality. Now that Mazda has separated themselves from FORD, they have the independent ability to re-brand themselves into an even classier company and they are doing it with the CX-9. If you haven't driven a MAZDA lately, you owe it to yourself to do so before buying anything else!
R. Russell,09/27/2016
Grand Touring 4dr SUV AWD (2.5L 4cyl Turbo 6A)
This is another update. I am still pleased with my cx9. I havent had any major repairs and i shouldn't, being as though its a new car. Infotainment system needs work, it goes black a few times a week. I restart the car and it comes back on. Its Kind of annoying especially if I'm using the navigation system. The usbports in the front console do not charge my galaxy S8 or the four iphones that use the port. I am updating my review, on my 2016 CX9. After 5 months, Mazda was able to fix the defective part on my car. For our troubles and the 8 plus visits to the delearship, over the course of 5 months, we were offered compensation, which we accepted. Today I am pleased with how my CX9 in operating and noise Free! I purchased the CX 9 on June 23, 2016. I was in love & I had no complaints. I have driven Mazdas before they handle well and are fun to drive. However with this model, I am experiencing a squeaky sound coming from the rear of the vehicle, starting the end of July 2016. I took the car to dealer they fixed the car... stating it was the rear suspension and they tightened everything up. The following day the noise came back. On August 12, 2016 I have an appointment to come in, this time its the chassis bolt(whatever that is) After fixing the car, my husband and I drove with the mechanic who worked on my vehicle the noise was gone. I felt relieved. I drive home...only to pull in my driveway to hear the noise AGAIN! This time I immediately phone the dealership they tell me they are not gong to have me come back in because they have no idea what it can be and they are going to get in touch with Mazda to see how they want them to handle this. I continue to drive my cx 9 while I wait to hear back from the dealership. I receive a phone call stating that Mazda knows what the problem is, its a defective part (I believe the bushings) and that the noise appears after the car reaches 500 miles the defective part wears out and that they have to develop a part and test it out. I was told my options are to wait(they assured the vehicle is safe to drive and no further damage is being done) or come in to get the part replaced with the original defective part. I chose to wait, being as though, the part was to be developed in three weeks (ha!) well three weeks come and go & the noise got LOUDER! I mean left turn, right turn, reverse and bumpy roads the noise was louder than the music. So I decide since the part still isn't ready... to have the original defective part replaced because at least I wouldn't hear the noise for the next 500 miles. WELL that part was replaced on September 26, 2016 and the noise is BAAAACCCCKKK! Not as loud as it got while driving the car but its just as loud and annoying as I originally reported. This has me feeling that mazda has not a clue as to what the problem is. I sent a certified letter to dealer & mazda this morning and will wait for the outcome. I think I have a LEMON! I have been flagging other CX9 drivers down and no one but I seems to be having this problem.

Features & Specs

See all Used 2016 Mazda CX-9 features & specs
More about the 2016 Mazda CX-9

Used 2016 Mazda CX-9 Overview

The Used 2016 Mazda CX-9 is offered in the following submodels: CX-9 SUV. Available styles include Signature 4dr SUV AWD (2.5L 4cyl Turbo 6A), Grand Touring 4dr SUV AWD (2.5L 4cyl Turbo 6A), Touring 4dr SUV AWD (2.5L 4cyl Turbo 6A), Touring 4dr SUV (2.5L 4cyl Turbo 6A), Grand Touring 4dr SUV (2.5L 4cyl Turbo 6A), Sport 4dr SUV (2.5L 4cyl Turbo 6A), and Sport 4dr SUV AWD (2.5L 4cyl Turbo 6A).

What's a good price on a Used 2016 Mazda CX-9?

Price comparisons for Used 2016 Mazda CX-9 trim styles:

  • The Used 2016 Mazda CX-9 Touring is priced between $20,500 and$24,995 with odometer readings between 29709 and89463 miles.
  • The Used 2016 Mazda CX-9 Grand Touring is priced between $21,675 and$26,500 with odometer readings between 17387 and68815 miles.
  • The Used 2016 Mazda CX-9 Sport is priced between $19,990 and$22,998 with odometer readings between 25865 and55520 miles.
  • The Used 2016 Mazda CX-9 Signature is priced between $23,944 and$23,944 with odometer readings between 51471 and51471 miles.

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Which used 2016 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) 2016 Mazda CX-9 for sale near. There are currently 12 used and CPO 2016 CX-9s listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $19,990 and mileage as low as 17387 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 2016 Mazda CX-9.

Can't find a used 2016 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 9 listings starting at $9,873.

Find a used Mazda for sale - 7 great deals out of 12 listings starting at $13,441.

Find a used certified pre-owned Mazda CX-9 for sale - 2 great deals out of 5 listings starting at $16,597.

Find a used certified pre-owned Mazda for sale - 1 great deals out of 11 listings starting at $10,392.

Should I lease or buy a 2016 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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