The Mazda CX-9 has a powerful 273-hp 3.7-liter V6 engine featuring variable valve timing, electronic throttle control, and testy 270 pound-feet torque. This is more than either the Toyota Highlander or Honda Pilot, and enables the CX-9 to tow up to 3,500 pounds when properly equipped. The power is routed to the wheels through a six-speed sport automatic transmission. Fuel economy is estimated at 34 mpg highway.
The CX-9 has large rear doors that open to 72 degrees, providing a cavernous entrance. In and out quickly!
The cabin floor and side sills are flush with each other, avoiding the danger of tripping—unlike some SUVs. Some competitors have sills that are up to three inches higher than the CX-9’s.
The 60/40 split second row seats in the CX-9 have something called “tilt and slide,” which allows a simple one-hand operation to fold the seatback forward and the chair to automatically move forward nearly nine inches, giving passenger access to the third row.
The CX-9 seats up to seven adults, while providing up to 17.2 cubic feet of cargo space behind the third row. Just reach for and pull the release strap to quickly folds down the third row’s 50-50 split fold-flat seat back, giving you a cargo space of 48.3 cubic feet. If you also fold down the 60/40 split second row, it expands the cargo room to 100.7 cubic feet. There is plenty of room for the kids’ games and gear, yet there is still enough room for eight cup holders and four one-liter bottle holders.
The touch of a button opens and closes the lift gate. The remote control makes loading easier and more convenient.
The cabin appears elevated, comfortable, and uncluttered. A leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, cruise control, Bluetooth hands-free phone controls, and three-zone automatic climate control also features integrated Pandora Internet radio controls that let you choose music matching your taste.
Unfortunately, there are some shortcomings inside. The 5.8-inch color display with rear-camera was simply too small. Cross streets, when listed, were difficult to find and read when using navigation. The parameters of the screen were covered with symbols, which although somewhat transparent were not very legible, adding to the difficulty of reading. Even when cross streets were labeled, they did not always stay on the screen because it was so small.
It was also hard to use the audio controls on the steering wheel, plus the small volume buttons on the console were difficult to find and it took forever for them to respond. A large knob for volume control would have been perfect. Another disappointment was that there was little open space storage in the front.
However, the CX-9 handled well regardless of road variety or recent stormy weather. Available Active Torque-Split All-Wheel Drive, Blind Spot Monitoring with Rear Cross Traffic Alert, and HID/LED lighting contributed to a feeling of safety and confidence.
The CX-9 had an enhanced stability control system that monitors and detects wheel spin and reduces engine power to help improve traction when accelerating in slippery conditions.
The manufacturer’s suggested price is $38,400.
The absolute best feature of the CX-9 was roominess in the rear. Leg room for the second row is 39.8 inches, and the third row is 32.4 inches. Back seat shoulder room is 58.7 inches for the second row and 56.9 inches for the third row.
In conclusion I would just say the CX-9 offers innovative technologies, modern design, great performance, and is absolutely fun to drive.
36-month/36,000-mile Bumper to Bumper Warranty
60-month/60,000-mile Limited Powertrain Warranty
36-month/36,000-mile 24-hour Roadside Assistance
Durhl Caussey writes a car column read around the world. He may be reached at this paper or firstname.lastname@example.org.