Attractive inside and out, the 2017 Mazda CX-9 is more than just a pretty face. Its three rows of seating and loaded feature list will satisfy a growing family's needs, but it's also a genuine pleasure to drive. It's one of the best three-row crossover SUVs out there.
The CX-9 delivers what most SUV owners really want: a high level of comfort and refinement, a lot of room and modern connected conveniences. In its top Signature trim level, the CX-9 even flirts with a look and feel that you'd expect of an Audi or Volvo. It's the most luxurious example in its class. That the CX-9 actually drives pretty well, that it's quick and alert when you bend it into a turn, is icing on the cake.
Taste being subjective, the CX-9 strikes one of the best poses among family SUVs. No safe, middle-of-the-road body design here. This is clean and windswept, with sharp edges and just-right proportions. It won't suit every buyer, but it's a standout look. Inside and around that striking shape is plenty of safety and connected tech (dial-controlled navigation/entertainment system, rearview camera, automatic emergency braking) and an interior highlighted by leather, aluminum and rosewood accents, depending on trim level.
The CX-9 also returns impressive fuel economy for its size, at 25 mpg combined for front-wheel-drive models, 23 mpg combined with all-wheel drive. We actually achieved a little better — 24.4 mpg — in our mixed-driving evaluation loop.
The CX-9 makes some compromises, however. At around 72 cubic feet with second- and third-row seats folded, cargo capacity isn't as cavernous as others in the class and its third row isn't especially accommodating either, at least not compared to a competitor like the Honda Pilot. These are the trade-offs for the impeccable style we lauded earlier. But overall, the CX-9 delivers an all-around package that makes it one of the best three-row SUVs around.
trim levels & features
The 2017 Mazda CX-9 is a three-row crossover SUV that seats seven passengers, available in Sport, Touring, Grand Touring and Signature trim levels. The Sport covers the basics and a bit more (Bluetooth, rearview camera, three-zone climate control), while the Touring tacks on leather seating and driver aids such as blind spot warning and rear cross-traffic alert. Grand Touring models add more driver/safety aids, adaptive cruise control and classier touches inside and out. With upgraded leather and rosewood trim, the Signature model borders on luxury status.
Like all CX-9 trims, the Sport comes with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine (250 horsepower, 310 pound-feet of torque) paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard, and all-wheel drive is optional. Standard features on the Sport include 18-inch alloy wheels, automatic LED headlights, tri-zone automatic climate control, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter, 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, Mazda's Connect infotainment system with 7-inch display, and a six-speaker sound system.
The Touring adds heated mirrors, a power liftgate with adjustable height stops, keyless ignition and entry, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, low-speed emergency braking (Smart City Brake Support), heated front seats, leather upholstery, an eight-way power-adjustable driver seat (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 keeping assist, rear parking sensors, upgraded frontal collision warning and mitigation systems, 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. All-wheel drive is standard on the Signature.
Some of the features on higher trims are available on supporting models as options.
noise & vibration
ease of use
getting in/getting out
audio & navigation
edmunds expert review process
This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.