Mazda CX-9 Is The SUV Everyone Wanted 20 Years Ago


Owning a sport utility vehicle fulfills every family’s quest for safety, making Dad’s quest for a truck and Mom’s goal of having enough space for 5 soccer kids, easily achievable — so sayeth the Mazda CX-9 reviews found abroad.  Citing ample interior room, stylish options and relatively low prices, positive thoughts have come since 2001, when the CX-9 hit American soil.  Of course, with every vehicle comes snarky remarks and ‘room for improvement’ jokes.

Mazda CX-9We’ll walk you through the commercial vehicles 2016 version of the Mazda CX-9, so you’re able to differentiate “great” from “unimpressive.”

Inside the CX-9

Functional, roomy yet manageable would describe the interior headroom and cabin space of Mazda CX-9s, providing more cubic feet than RAV4 and slightly less than a Suburban, yet it’s more fuel efficient than both.  Rear folding seats provide room for vacationers, tons of food or large electronics purchases. The stereo system doesn’t blow your head away, yet it has crisp enough sound to play concerto CDs.

Although some older models have a protruding shifter that blocks the radio buttons, newer models have adopted much smaller sticks.  Many reviewers would rate the interior 4 stars  without question. Front-seat passengers get slightly expanded leg space, and enough room for arms and drinks to boot.

Bluetooth connectivity, a slightly more panoramic back-up camera than last year’s model, and Mazda’s own version of infotainment gives drivers, control of an all-around awesome driving experience.

Under the hood

The hardly-noticeable 3.0L Duratec created by Ford sits comfortably inside the engine compartment waiting for 16 valves to arise.  Since both V6 and 4-bangers are optional with the CX-9 lines, adding the extra V6 “oomph” would bring out its SUV capabilities better than its more fuel-efficient younger brother. Whipping around curves shouldn’t be too problematic, considering the CX-9 sits slightly lower than Range Rovers and has electronic stability control for each axle.

Towing 3,500 pounds isn’t enough to pull large motorhomes, but it’s enough for pop-up campers and slightly larger 4-person campers. The torque output remains similar to older Mazda SUVs, and given that these vehicles aren’t made for street-racing or hauling logs, the torque ratio will probably never change.

Be forewarned when reading the owner’s manual: speculation is that changing timing belts every 144k miles is nearly mandatory.  Sufficiently responsive and lauded for its fuel-efficient power delivery, Mazda over delivers on great engine choices. All told, most CX-9 engine reviews are positive, yet the overall performance needs improvement to be in the same category as Ford and Chevy SUVs.

Road tests

Versatility when changing trajectory, complete control over all directions, and having excellent turning ratios provide the bulk of positive consumer road-test reviews. During certain test drives, however, outside wind interference is easily heard, making accelerated speeds somewhat annoying.  Some drivers have even cited the tires whining while driving on asphalt surfaces.

Professional drivers on closed courses have found the handling is perfect yet strikingly comparable to the Ford Escape, while Brake Assist accompanies ABS for precise stopping during rainy, snowy or icy conditions.  Depending on whether you’ll stomach 22/28 fuel economy figures and higher resale values than the Kia Sportage, road testing would probably provide little comfort given the abysmal overall professional ratings.

Overall, performance is best measured by fuel economy here. Braking isn’t too bad, although room exists to improve traction control. The CX-9 delivers just enough “oomph” and responsiveness to compete with Jeep and other major midsize SUVs.

Exterior and more

A particularly unimpressive outer appearance could stop Mazda shoppers before hitting the bargain tables. Many colors are available, the bumper configuration includes cute fog lights, and trim packages beef up the outward looks, yet those who’ve driven Ford Escapes would literally throw a tantrum.

Weighing 4,600 pounds bodes well during adverse conditions, and daytime running lights help during visibility issues — yet one cannot move past the outer shell.  Unless, of course, you’ve never driven Mazda products or you live overseas where CX models were never made available.

The verdict

227 raging horses working efficiently to deliver power and stability makes this 2016 upgrade to an already-popular sport utility vehicle, better for families looking for under-$50,000 luxury. Edmunds ranks this model relatively high for attractiveness, fuel economy and trim while deducting points for stifling leather seats, slimmer cargo capacities as opposed to rival models and unaccommodating third-row seating.

The consensus is that this higher-priced rendition does the trick for two-family incomes; professionals don’t particularly shun ownership yet haven’t been presented overwhelming evidence dictating this vehicle merits five stars.  If you’re soccer-mom material, the Mazda CX-9 reviews would be irrelevant after seeing the exterior alone.