The 2021 Mazda CX-9 lineup gains a Carbon Edition model with sporty styling elements and a distinctive color scheme. The base Sport receives a 10.25-inch touchscreen and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, bringing it inline with the other trims.
The current CX-9 debuted in 2016 and received a refresh last year.
Choosing Your Mazda CX-9
The CX-9 now comes in five trim levels: Sport, Touring, Grand Touring, Carbon Edition, and Signature. Pricing starts at $35,060 including destination for the base Sport model and climbs to $47,705 for the Signature.
Every CX-9 is powered by a turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that develops 250 horsepower and 320 pound-feet of torque on premium fuel. With regular gas, output drops to 227 hp and 310 lb-ft. A six-speed automatic transmission does the shifting.
All-wheel drive costs $1,900 on all trims except the Signature, where it's standard.
EPA estimates for front-wheel-drive models are 22 miles per gallon city, 28 mpg highway, and 24 combined. With AWD, efficiency slips to 20/26/23 mpg (city/highway/combined).
Passenger and Cargo Capacity
The CX-9 is a midsize, three-row crossover with seating for seven, or six with the available second-row captain's chairs, which are standard on the Carbon Edition and Signature and available on the Touring and Grand Touring.
Cargo capacity is average for a vehicle of this size. There's 14.4 cubic feet of space behind the third row, and 38.2 cubic feet with it folded. With both back rows down, the CX-9 can handle up to 71.2 cubic feet of cargo.
The CX-9 comes with a comprehensive suite of safety technology – all standard. Every example gets adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, lane keeping assist, blind-spot monitoring with rear-cross traffic alert, and automatic high beams.
Front and rear parking sensors are available on the Touring in the $2,060 Premium Package. They're standard on the Carbon Edition, along with rear automatic braking and driver alertness monitoring. The Grand Touring and Signature also carry a surround-view camera.
The standard infotainment system features a 10.25-inch touchscreen, six speakers, two front USB ports, HD radio, a wi-fi hotspot, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility.
The Touring picks up two USB ports for the second row. The available Premium Package brings a 12-speaker Bose sound system, wireless device charging, two third-row USB ports, and satellite radio. All of these features are standard starting with the Carbon Edition. Navigation is exclusive to the Grand Touring and Signature.
The Sport comes fully equipped with popular features, including heated front seats, a six-way power driver seat, tri-zone automatic climate control, push button start, rain-sensing wipers, rear privacy glass, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob. The exterior carries full LED lighting, a body-color rear spoiler, and 18-inch aluminum wheels.
The Touring adds leather upholstery, a six-way power passenger seat, a power liftgate, and an auto-dimming rearview mirrors with integrated garage door opener.
The Touring Premium Package ($2,060) includes a sunroof, LED fog lights, and second-row sunshades. Captain's chairs can be added to the package at no cost.
The new Carbon Edition comes standard with the equipment from the Touring Premium Package and captain's chairs, plus ventilated front seats, heated second-row seats, a heated steering wheel, a hands-free power liftgate, a windshield wiper de-icer, paddle shifters, automatic power-folding side mirrors, and a 7-inch digital gauge cluster.
The exterior receives Polymetal Gray paint, black trim, roof rails, 20-inch black wheels, and adaptive headlights. Inside are red leather seats, black trim, and LED accent lighting.
The Grand Touring is equipped like the Carbon Edition, but without its unique design elements. The Grand Touring gets 20-inch silver-finish wheels, plus the navigation system and surround-view camera.
The all-wheel-drive only Signature offer a truly luxurious interior with quilted Nappa leather upholstery, patterned aluminum and rosewood trim, and heated buttons and cupholders on the second-row console. Exterior tweaks include bright-finish 20-inch wheels, enlarged tailpipe openings, and LED grille lighting.
The price difference between the Sport and Touring is small enough for us to recommend starting your build with the Touring. Value starts to drop off with the subsequent 2021 Mazda CX-9 trims, but they're certainly worth a look for buyers who might otherwise choose a luxury brand.