2021 Mazda CX-9
Mazda’s three-row mid-size SUV is a stylish number. No one can deny the CX-9’s presence anywhere in any given parking lot.
There is more to just its design. The CX-9 points to Mazda’s move upmarket by creating a premium atmosphere every time you and six other passengers climb on board.
There is more to talk about here. Which brings us to find out whether the CX-9 should be considered for your family’s mode of transportation.
About the CX-9’s design, we felt that this is the best execution of what Mazda’s KODO—Soul of Motion design language. The top edge of the grille form juts out more than the rest of the front clip, with an enlarged, chrome-encased grille flanked by small headlamps units. The lower fascia is integrated well with this front clip, creating a bold statement to anyone seeing it in their rearview mirror.
Our Signature AWD tester wore big 20-inch wheels with all-season tires. The chrome overall was tastefully done, giving the impression of upward mobility in a vehicle that is aimed at the heart of the mid-sized three-row market. The distinctive grille finishes up this luxurious SUV’s look.
In the Signature, you get perforated leather with quilted bolsters, wrapped in some large chairs up front and two more rows of seating behind them. The front seats are very supportive with excellent power adjustments for rake, height, recline and lumbar support. New for 2021 are a pair of Captain’s Chairs for the second row with a center console similar to the one up front. The second-row seats are adjustable for rake and recline, as well. It also has a single lever control to flip and move forward the second rows for third-row access. It also helps to have extra wide doors that open to almost 90 degrees for better overall third-row access.
As for cargo space, it starts with just 14.4 cubic feet behind the third row. Fold that row down, and you get 38.2 cubic feet of space. For larger items, the CX-9 can give up to 71.2 cubic feet of space to take it all on the road.
The CX-9 received several updates across the instrument panel. You get a digital center screen with the speedometer and information screen, flanked by two analog dials and two digital gauges for fuel economy data. The steering wheel offers better, more tactile switches for audio, cruise control and the information screen. Mazda’s tablet-like infotainment screen was increased to 10.25 inches with the new screen format seen on the Mazda3. Additional infotainment and climate controls anchor the center console with the shifter and other pertinent controls within the driver’s reach.
Underneath the CX-9’s hood is a turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine Depending on the type of fuel you put into the CX-9, your horsepower may vary. If you fuel up with regular, you are limited to just 227 horsepower. Fuel up with the 93 octane Premium stuff and that horsepower rating goes up to 250. No matter which fuel you use, the torque number is the same at 310 pound-feet.
Sending power to Mazda’s all-wheel drive system is the Skyactiv six-speed automatic transmission. This is a smooth shifting transmission, facilitating a very smooth and powerful engine. In terms of fuel economy, we averaged 22.8 MPG.
The ride quality in the new CX-9 is smooth for the family and for the driver up front. The suspension absorbs the cracks and bumps very well. Cornering is on the soft side, so expect some roll and lean, if pushed past the limit.
Steering is quite good with a softer feel on-center with a good turning radius and great response from the wheel. Expect a bit of numbness, which is expected in today’s SUVs. Brakes are very good, with great stopping power and response in normal and panic situations. Pedal feel is solid with great response to the wheels.
Pricing for the CX-9 starts at $33,690 for a Sport model. Our Signature AWD tester came with a sticker price of $48,300.
Consumers like the CX-9 for its utility and versatility. They also like to shop around. What CX-9 consumers have been looking at the Kia Sorento and Telluride, the Hyundai Palisade, Chevrolet Traverse, GMC Acadia, Ford Explorer, Dodge Durango, Toyota Highlander, Nissan Pathfinder, Subaru Ascent, Honda Pilot, and Mitsubishi Outlander.
What the Mazda CX-9 brings to the table is style and substance. The powerful turbocharged engine encourages the driver, while the luxury inside will sooth everyone else. But, it is this the right vehicle for your family? It could be.
Story Credits: CarSoup Editors