The Mazda CX-9 is a three-row midsize SUV with elegant styling and a sporty powertrain. Its large and refined cabin is built for carrying passengers in comfort, while fast acceleration and nimble handling make it fun for the driver. Beneath the long, sculpted hood is a turbocharged engine that returns up to 24 mpg overall. The third-row is snug, but the cabin is one of the most luxurious in the segment. Many driver safety aids are standard.
- Surprisingly fun to drive for a midsize SUV
- Tasteful styling with high-quality materials
- Standard driver safety tech is easy to use
- Small third-row seat and cargo capacity
- Upper trim levels can get expensive
All CX-9s employ the same Mazda SKYACTIV-G 2.5-liter Dynamic Pressure Turbo four-cylinder engine that generates 227 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque on regular unleaded fuel. Mazda says engine power gets bumped up to 250 horsepower and 320 pound-feet of torque using premium unleaded — more than enough muscle for the midsize CX-9.
However, its 3,500-pound towing capacity is a bit low for the category. The EPA estimates fuel economy of up to 24 mpg combined. That’s relatively good, considering the CX-9’s size and performance potential. Mazda builds some of the most fun-to-drive powertrains on the market, and the potent engine is mated to a slick-shifting six-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel-drive.
The Carbon Edition and above trims come with paddle shifters, should the driver want to change gears manually. All-wheel-drive is available at an extra cost, and it comes included with the top-flight Signature model.
Sleek and sculpted, the Mazda CX-9 is a handsome midsize crossover, great for active families and those wanting more driving enjoyment from their SUV. Its roomy cabin is elegant and refined, with straightforward controls and standard comfort features like tri-zone climate control.
Being a Mazda, the CX-9 somehow feels like a smaller and lighter vehicle, with sharp handling and a potent turbocharged engine that make driving it a blast. Upper trims of the CX-9 build on the fancy interior with details like ventilated Nappa leather seats and a surround-sound audio system. Mazda lacks a hybrid powertrain, and the back seat is a bit snug. For those needing a spacious family vehicle but who don’t want to lose their love of driving, the Mazda CX-9 may be an ideal choice.