Despite visual similarities with its smaller sibling, the CX-9 is not simply a stretched version of the CX-7. Its long wheelbase leaves lots of room for passengers inside, and with twenty-inch wheels pushed far to the corners, the CX-9 has the handling moves to match its sporty looks. Best of all, the CX-9 is blessed with what is likely the best steering of any crossover, making this a good choice for driving enthusiasts who need space for friends and family. The CX-9 is powered by a smooth, 60-degree V-6 engine that displaces 3.7 liters and produces 273 hp and 249 lb-ft of torque. The standard six-speed automatic transmission is smooth and responsive, and all-wheel drive is optional. (Base models are front-wheel drive.) Blind-spot monitoring is an unusual option in this segment (though it’s now proliferating across Mazda’s entire lineup), but the usual luxury goodies are all present, including a touch-screen navigation system with real-time traffic information and a rearview camera, heated seats, Bluetooth hands-free integration, and a Bose high-end audio system. The CX-9’s third row isn’t quite as commodious as those of the biggest minivans, but this crossover remains a fantastic alternative to traditional vans and more boxy and upright SUVs.
Drive: Front-wheel, 4-wheel
Trim Levels: Sport, Touring, Grand Touring
Body style: SUV/crossover, 7-passenger
Engine: 3.7L V-6, 273 hp, 249 lb-ft
Transmission: 6-speed automatic
Passenger Volume: 210.0 cu ft
Capacities: Towing 2000-3500 lb; cargo (behind third/middle/front seats) 17.2/48.4/100.7 cu ft
The CX-9 carries over from last year with no changes. This is a good-looking, great-driving three-row vehicle that’s a high-style minivan alternative. The CX-9 is Mazda’s biggest vehicle, and it does everything well, from carrying seven people to towing 3500 pounds to merely running about town.
Front, side, and side curtain air bags are standard, as are ABS, traction and rollover stability control, and a tire-pressure monitoring system. Blind-spot monitoring is optional.
All: 16-19 mpg city/22-24 mpg highway
- Sexy styling
- Fantastic steering
- Strong V-6
- Fuel economy isn’t great
Mazda’s biggest, and perhaps best, vehicle.
- Buick Enclave
- Chevrolet Traverse
- Honda Pilot
- Toyota Highlander