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.
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