Looking for a midsize SUV with sleek styling, a sporty drive and loads of comfort and refinement? The 2017 Mazda CX-9 might be a good match. Here's a quick rundown of what we like, what we don't and the bottom line from the Edmunds editors.
MARK TAKAHASHI: I'm Edmunds editor Mark Takahashi, and here's an expert rundown of the 2017 Mazda CX-9. Right off the bat, we'll say that the 2017 Mazda CX-9 is one of the best mid-sized SUVs you can buy today. On top of all the things you expect in the class, comfort, space, safety, and fuel efficiency, it delivers so much more. The obvious is the styling, which is far more eye catching than its more utilitarian rivals. Then there is the way it drives. With more engagement and a solid feel than anything else in this class. One area where the Mazda CX-9 doesn't lead the class, is in regard to cargo capacity. We still think there's plenty of space, and the flat load floor pays dividends, but many competitors will hold more. The second row seats will easily accommodate larger passengers, but the third row is better suited to kids, which is pretty typical anyway. Like the exterior, of the CX-9's cabin is very attractive. And if you spring for the top signature trim, it'll even flirt with entry level luxury class. This is even more evident with the excellent infotainment system. The 2017 Mazda CX-9 has one of the strongest bottom lines in this class. You get sleek style, an easy and sporty drive, and loads of comfort and refinement. Even with other strong choices like the Honda Pilot, Ford Explorer, and Kia Sorento, the Mazda CX-9 rises to the top. If you'd like to see more Edmunds expert rundowns, hit subscribe.
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Attractive inside and out, the 2017 Mazda CX-9 is more than just a pretty face — it's a generously sized, feature-laden SUV that actually elevates the typical three-row family shuttle with a quick and sporty driving character. Make no mistake: This is not a "sport" SUV like you might find from Infiniti, BMW or Audi, but instead a large car with Mazda's traditional emphasis on sporty driving baked in.
The 2017 CX-9 is offered in Sport, Touring, Grand Touring and Signature trim levels. The Sportcovers the basics and then some, starting with the same robust turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and six-speed automatic transmission found on all CX-9 models, plus a 7-inch infotainment display screen, Bluetooth and USB connectivity, and a rearview camera. An optional Sport package adds a power-adjustable driver seat, heated front seats and heated door mirrors. The Sport is a fine deal if you just want big family transportation with minimal frills.
It's a big price jump up to the Touring model, but you do get more features for the money, including leather upholstery, a power liftgate, an 8-inch infotainment display and several advanced driver safety features such as blind-spot monitoring and low-speed automatic braking. A Touring Premium package adds a navigation system, a premium audio system, and rear parking sensors, among other items.
There's another healthy price jump to the Grand Touring model, which adds the optional Touring equipment along with adaptive ("bending") headlights, a sunroof, roof rails, upgraded interior trim and more driver safety features. If you like the peace of mind from the additional driver safety features or just want a touch more luxury (retractable sunshades for middle row passengers, anyone?), the Grand Touring is the way to go.
But if you want to go all-in on the luxury touches, the Signature is the only choice. It's the priciest of the bunch and rivals some European models for overall look and feel, for many thousands less than even those Euro base models. The Signature is where you'll find premium leather, rosewood interior trim, LED accent lighting inside and out, and standard all-wheel drive. You'll need to sit and test-drive one to decide if it's worth that much more than the Grand Touring, but if you typically like to max out on the details, the Signature is the way to go.
Compared to other three-row SUVs, the 2017 Mazda CX-9 sits in the middle to upper-middle area of the price range, but you do get a lot of bang for your buck and impressive fit and finish that really approaches the level of more expensive SUVs. When you're ready to take a closer look, let Edmunds help guide you to your perfect choice.
Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.