The 2024 Mazda CX-9: Still a Contender in the Mid-Size SUV Arena?

The 2024 Mazda CX-9: Still a Contender in the Mid-Size SUV Arena?

The Mazda CX-9 has carved a niche for itself in the crowded mid-size SUV segment, offering a blend of sporty handling, premium features, and competitive pricing. But with new players entering the scene and the automotive landscape constantly evolving, how does the 2024 CX-9 stack up against the competition? Let's delve into its key features, performance, interior, and overall value proposition to see if it remains a worthy contender.

Performance and Powertrain:

Under the hood, the 2024 CX-9 retains the familiar 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder Skyactiv-G engine, producing 250 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque on premium fuel. This setup delivers peppy acceleration and responsive handling, making the CX-9 feel more engaging to drive than many of its competitors. While some rivals offer V6 options with more muscle, the CX-9 prioritizes fuel efficiency, achieving an estimated 23 mpg combined with front-wheel drive and 21 mpg combined with all-wheel drive.

For a more eco-conscious choice, Mazda introduces the CX-90 PHEV this year, a plug-in hybrid variant offering extended electric range and lower emissions. However, the 2024 CX-9 still caters to those seeking a balance between performance and efficiency.

Interior Comfort and Design:

The CX-9's cabin boasts premium materials and a sophisticated design. The standard layout offers seating for seven passengers across three rows, with optional second-row captain's chairs providing a more luxurious feel for six occupants. The infotainment system features a user-friendly 10.25-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, though some reviewers find the system less intuitive than some competitors'. Cargo space behind the third row is adequate for everyday errands, but rivals like the Honda Pilot offer more room for larger loads.

One of the CX-9's strongest points is its driving dynamics. The suspension strikes a good balance between comfort and agility, offering a composed ride on the highway and confident handling on twisty roads. This characteristic sets it apart from some competitors that prioritize comfort over driving engagement.

Safety and Technology:

The 2024 CX-9 comes standard with a comprehensive suite of driver-assistance features, including automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, and blind-spot monitoring. Higher trims add adaptive cruise control with traffic jam assist and a head-up display, further enhancing safety and convenience.

Value Proposition and Trims:

The 2024 CX-9 starts at $38,750 for the base Touring trim, offering a good balance of features and value. Higher trims like the Touring Plus, Carbon Edition, Grand Touring, and Signature progressively add more amenities and technology, with the top-of-the-line Signature reaching $49,835. While some competitors offer slightly lower starting prices, the CX-9's standard features and driving experience remain competitive.

The Verdict:

The 2024 Mazda CX-9 remains a compelling option in the mid-size SUV segment. It offers a unique blend of performance, handling, and premium features, all wrapped in a stylish and well-equipped package. While newer competitors and alternative powertrains are emerging, the CX-9's strengths in driving dynamics, fuel efficiency, and value proposition continue to make it a serious contender for those seeking a sporty and engaging SUV experience.

However, before making a decision, consider these points:

  • Cargo space: If you frequently haul large cargo, some rivals offer more space behind the third row.
  • Third-row comfort: The CX-9's third row is best suited for children or short trips due to limited legroom.
  • Infotainment system: Some users find the infotainment system less intuitive than competitors'.
  • New PHEV option: If prioritizing fuel efficiency and eco-friendliness, the CX-90 PHEV might be a more compelling choice.

Ultimately, the 2024 Mazda CX-9 remains a strong contender in the mid-size SUV segment, offering a unique blend of performance, handling, and premium features. Weigh your priorities and test drive the CX-9 alongside competitors to see if it aligns perfectly with your needs and preferences.

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