Is The 2017 Mazda CX-9 Right For You?

By

Contributing Writer

Steve Cypher is a contributing writer for CarsDirect.com and Senior Editor for Lotpro.com. When not covering the latest automotive news or reviewing vehicles, Steve calls upon his years of experience selling cars to explain the car buying process and all things subprime at AutoCreditExpress.com.


, Contributing Writer - November 14, 2017

All-new last year, the 2017 Mazda CX-9 Grand Touring offers beautiful styling and a solid value for a wide range of buyers. But a cramped third row and modest cargo capacity limit its appeal.

Mazda CX-9

Right For

Families

It's a mixed bag here because the CX-9, despite three rows, isn't as suitable as a minivan for large families with older children. On the plus side, crossover ride height means a great view of the road and easy ingress and egress for the front and middle rows, making it easy to install middle row baby and child booster seats. But it's more useful with the third row folded as that one is only comfortable for small children and, when in use, there's just 14.4 cubic feet of storage behind it. Once folded, that space expands to a more acceptable 38.2 cubic feet.

Style Conscious

The CX-9 currently marks the height of Mazda's elegant but restrained Kodo design language. Up front, narrow headlamp enclosures housing standard LED lighting blend in perfectly with the beautifully-sculpted grille while along the sides, a tapering upper character line leads to a dramatic rear fascia that's highlighted by a delicate horizontal chrome trim strip that bisects a pair of narrow LED taillights. It's all lovely.

Value Oriented

The CX-9 represents a value for two types of buyers: The entry-level, front-wheel-drive Sport model's MSRP of $32,420 is slightly above the competition, but still represents a great value for a moderately-priced midsize crossover. At the same time, interior trim details like soft leather, brushed aluminum, and rosewood sourced from premium guitar-maker Fujigen found in the top-line Signature model make it a real contender in the near-luxury segment.

Driving Enthusiasts

It's a Mazda, which means it's automatically the most entertaining vehicle in its segment. Tight, fast steering and composed body motions pair with an entertaining 2.3-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder to bless the CX-9 with an unusually entertaining character for a big crossover.

Mazda CX-9

Wrong For

Single Buyers

While the CX-9 looks cool, it's also the Mazda furthest removed from the brand's twin mantras of "zoom-zoom" and "driving matters." We can think of a number of vehicles – many of them further down the Mazda food chain – that are not only more affordable, but a great deal more entertaining to drive (we're looking at you CX-3).

Eco Friendly

The CX-9 may reside near the top of its segment when it comes to fuel efficiency, but it's all relative. EPA estimates put front-drive models at 22 miles per gallon in the city, 28 on the highway and 25 combined, with AWD models achieving 21 miles per gallon in the city, 27 on the highway and 23 combined. These numbers also correspond to the real world, where we averaged 22.2 miles per gallon in mostly city driving. While excellent for a 3-row crossover, these numbers will hardly impress a hyper-miler.

Safety Focused

Advanced safety features are here, but they're not available across the lineup and come at a price. LED headlights and taillights as well as a rear view camera are standard on all trim levels, which is a good thing. On the other hand, you have to step up to the Touring model to get blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and low-speed automatic emergency braking. Finally, only the Grand Touring and Signature models have lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control, and automatic emergency braking.

Learn more about the 2017 Mazda CX-9, along with this month's best deals and incentives »

Mazda CX-9

, Contributing Writer

Steve Cypher is a contributing writer for CarsDirect.com and Senior Editor for Lotpro.com. When not covering the latest automotive news or reviewing vehicles, Steve calls upon his years of experience selling cars to explain the car buying process and all things subprime at AutoCreditExpress.com.