3/4 Front Glamour 2013 Mazda CX-9

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Expert's Rating

4.0Excellent

MPG 17 City / 23 Highway
Pros
  • Car-like handling
  • Feels stable on highway
  • Refined interior
Cons
  • Vague steering feel
  • Front seats lack leg support
  • Poor fuel economy
, Automotive Editor -
The CX-9 may be one of the larger CUVs on the market, but its suspension is well-tuned and makes for a car-like ride.

Introduction

The CX-9 is Mazda's answer to the crossover SUV which can hold up to seven passengers. It combines elegant styling, ample interior space, and the exhilarating handling Mazda has become rather famous for. The current incarnation of the CX-9 is powered by a 3.7 liter V6 engine which produces 273 horsepower. Mazda has built the CX-9 with front-wheel drive, but optional all-wheel drive is available on several models - though a six-speed automatic transmission is the only available option.

Unlike other crossovers, the Mazda CX-9 actually does hold seven people – seven adults! Though it should be noted that both leg and head-room may be limited, this is still a vast improvement over the competition. Accessing the third row seating is relatively easy as Mazda has implemented a system which allows passengers to slide past the second row seats. With the seats folded up, the CX-9 features 101 cubic feet of cargo space.

The CX-9 is available is several trim levels, including: Sport, Touring, and Grand Touring variations. Options are limited on each model, but standard equipment includes: air-conditioning, keyless entry, tilt steering, Bluetooth, auxiliary input jack, stability control, front and side-curtain airbags, cruise control, and anti-lock brakes. Stepping up into the Touring and Grand Touring trim levels increases the available options substantially.

Like nearly all Mazda’s, piloting the CX-9 is pure joy. For a large seven-passenger crossover the CX-9 has a surprisingly limited amount of body roll. The four-wheel independent suspension system is a definite advantage in this regard and creates a smooth driving experience - likely due to a unibody construction which helps created a car-like ride. One drawback is that the CX-9 is a bit stiffer than the competition, especially the Grand Touring model.

There’s plenty of competition in today’s SUV market. The CX-9 holds up well against the Ford Edge, Flex, and even the Explorer. Toyota offers the Higlander, while Dodge counters with the Durango. The Kia Sportage and Sorento are smaller and cheaper options, while the GMC Terrain is a poorer performer on nearly every level. But there’s still, the Buick Enclave, the Honda CR-V, Hyundai Santa Fe, are all viable options in a muddled market which has slowly merged minivans and SUVs into a new breed of vehicle. Yet, the Mzda CX-9 might be the best of the class.

Which Style To Buy?

2013 Mazda CX-9
Starting price
$21,500

2013 Mazda CX-9 Grand Touring

Recommended for: Drivers wanting it all in a seven person crossover

The Grand Touring features all the standard features found in the Sport package and then some. 20-inch allow wheels replace the 18-inch wheels found in the Sport and Touring trim levels. A GT technology package and GT rear entertainment system package provide a litany of options for buyers. Included in the technology package is a navigation system, while the rear entertainment package features a DVD player.

2013 Mazda CX-9
Starting price
$21,500

2013 Mazda CX-9 Sport

Recommended for: Buyers in search of ample cargo and seating for seven in a sporty package

The base CX-9 Sport feature 18-inch allow wheels, Bluetooth, auxillary audio jack, front and side-curtain airbags, stability control and traction control, MP3 player, and automatic transmission. Standard features common to most vehicles, like air conditioning, cruise control, and tilt steering are also included. Third row seating and ample cargo room are standard on all models. Like all CX-9 the engine is a 3.7 liter V6 which features 272 horsepower and 270 foot-pounds of torque. All-wheel drive is standard and drivers can expect 17 miles-per-gallon in the city and 24 on the highway. Buyer’s won’t get into this vehicle for less than $29,000.

2013 Mazda CX-9
Starting price
$21,500

2013 Mazda CX-9 Touring

Recommended for: People in search of a complete crossover

The Touring version of the CX-9 features the same standard components, engine, and basic options as the base Sport trim level. In addition, buyers have the choice to purchase a touring/technology package which features a navigation system. Sirius satellite radio, roof rails, cargo net, remote engine start, and a towing package are also available.

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