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.