No other midsize SUV matches the CX-9’s beautifully executed exterior. Front to back, the Mazda is simple, yet superb and elegant, but not overwrought. We haven’t seen such a beautiful tapestry among mainstream models. Standard features include LED headlights and taillights, 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, a roof spoiler and dual exhaust outlets.
Inside, the CX-9 offers three rows of seating, but is most useful and comfortable with two rows. The third-row is tight; consider those two seats as jump seats — what you might want in a pinch when you need to accommodate two additional riders. Otherwise, fold the rear seat to expand the tight 14.4 cubic feet of storage space to 38.2 cubic feet.
The cabin comes outfitted with nice-looking materials, including a surprising amount of glossy finishes. The dashboard sits low and the infotainment screen is unobtrusive, although we’re disappointed it doesn’t offer touchscreen capabilities. Standard features include push-button start, cloth seats, three-zone climate control, Bluetooth connectivity, two USB ports, blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert.