The three-row crossover market is hot right now. Everyone wants the functionality of a large SUV but very few want the sheer size and inefficiency that comes with it. One of the undisputed competitors has been the Mazda CX-9 since it arrived on US shores in 2006. The current generation of CX-9 is nearing 6 years old but it still stands strong. It is still a Consumer Reports Recommended vehicle and continually finishes high on comparison tests against nearly every single competitor.
The CX-9 is one of the more handsome vehicles in its class, taking advantage of Mazda’s “KODO” design philosophy which focuses on creating an object before they design the car. It is also meant to keep the lineup fairly congruent. Mazda pulls this off well as most of their models have the same design idea, but are still not easily confused. The CX-9 strikes a balance of looking like a larger car but hiding its true size quite well. The subtle LED light around the font grill adds a nice detail at night.
Propulsion for the CX-9 comes from the 2.5L Turbo seen in many of Mazda’s applications. This engine can run regular, supreme, premium fuel and adjusts in horsepower output only(from 227 up to 250). The CX-9 does not feel quick, but the ability to move 6 to 7 people in an AWD vehicle while still attaining 20 city/27 highway is appreciated. Driving dynamics are fine for a large crossover but it is not most buyers’ primary concern in this class.
I found the interior to be quite impressive overall with the fit and finish on par or above most vehicles in its category. It still has the infamous Mazda infotainment system with its plastic scroll wheel and subpar design but the sound from the speakers makes up for it in some sense. The Signature comes with captain-style chairs in the middle row so while it only seats six total, it does so quite comfortably for all. Storage is abundant in the vehicle and with the third row down, there is plenty of room for dogs, furniture, luggage, or in my case hockey gear.
Overall, for just $48,200 as shown, I would agree that the CX-9 is a winner. Comfortable, fairly economical, and looks good for the segment. It would be hard to find a better value.