2013 Mazda CX-9 Overview

Jerimy Grafenstein
Automotive Editor - December 27, 2012

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.

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