2017 Mazda CX-9 Reviews and Ratings

Signature AWD

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J.D. Power Verified Consumer Reviews (9)
Overall Rating
  4.2 / 5
Reliability
  4.4 / 5
Interior
  4.2 / 5
Exterior
  4.2 / 5
Driving Dynamics
  4.2 / 5

By Programmer Sunday, September 3, 2017 - 3:25pm J.D. POWER VERIFIED OWNER REVIEW
  3.5 / 5
Bought vehicle for myself. Excellent vehicle. Fun to drive. My wife enjoyed driving it so much that ""her"" vehicle has now become mine.
Reliability
  3.5 / 5
Interior
  3.5 / 5
Exterior
  3.5 / 5
Driving Dynamics
  3.5 / 5

By Jalisa Friday, August 25, 2017 - 12:00pm J.D. POWER VERIFIED OWNER REVIEW
   5 / 5
I recently purchased the Mazda CX-9. My car is dark gray with the burgundy interior. Everybody who sees the car absolutely loves it from a visual aspect. Everybody who has driven it falls in love with the handling. The car handles great on the road, has excellent gas mileage, and has a sleek updated look! We love our CX-9!!
Reliability
   5 / 5
Interior
   5 / 5
Exterior
   5 / 5
Driving Dynamics
   5 / 5

By Anonymous Friday, August 25, 2017 - 1:37pm J.D. POWER VERIFIED OWNER REVIEW
   3.5 / 5
Well designed and gets very good gas mileage (21mpg, city). Configures nicely to hold a lot of luggage for long trips.
Reliability
   3.5 / 5
Interior
   3.5 / 5
Exterior
   3.5 / 5
Driving Dynamics
   3.5 / 5

By Don Thursday, July 27, 2017 - 3:45pm J.D. POWER VERIFIED OWNER REVIEW
   4.4 / 5
The Mazda CX9 Signature edition is an excellent choice for anyone considering a mid size three row SUV. The interior features Nappa leather and real rosewood trim. The controls are neatly laid out and intuitive. Nearly every safety feature and driver assist option available on the market today is included. The vehicle dynamics are performance oriented offering a fun driving experience uncharacteristic in this segment. The exterior styling is cutting edge with a clean minimalistic presentation. The build quality is exceptional rivaling much more expensive brands. We looked at and test drove every brand from A-V and this is the most car for the money. An SUV that brings a smile to your face every time you drive it.
Reliability
   4.5 / 5
Interior
   4 / 5
Exterior
   4.5 / 5
Driving Dynamics
   4.5 / 5

By Laurie Sunday, July 30, 2017 - 5:41pm J.D. POWER VERIFIED OWNER REVIEW
   5 / 5
We purchased our second CX-9 in April of this year. We could not be more pleased with the comfort and exceptional quality of our vehicle. It is by far one of the best decisions we've made.
Reliability
   5 / 5
Interior
   5 / 5
Exterior
   5 / 5
Driving Dynamics
   5 / 5

By Keith Thursday, July 27, 2017 - 8:29pm J.D. POWER VERIFIED OWNER REVIEW
   5 / 5
Drives handles performs and feels like a German import car. Low end torque is tremendous. High end torque can be slightly lacking. Exterior and interior design are unrivaled. Great safety options. Heads-Up-Display is a valuable tool. Fuel mileage is expensive. Audio system is truly exceptional. Navigation system is very slow to initiate and upload. After having vehicle for one month completed a cross country drive to relocate family. Car was fun sporty and lots of space not to mention exceptional fuel mileage for the 3000-mile drive. Conducted extensive research before purchasing.
Reliability
   5 / 5
Interior
   5 / 5
Exterior
   5 / 5
Driving Dynamics
   5 / 5

By Heather Thursday, August 3, 2017 - 1:57pm J.D. POWER VERIFIED OWNER REVIEW
   3.5 / 5
Ac does not get cool enough lacks cargo space 2nd and third row no leg room or head room and no panoramic sunroof
Reliability
   5 / 5
Interior
   3 / 5
Exterior
   3 / 5
Driving Dynamics
   3 / 5

By Bob Thursday, August 10, 2017 - 7:27am J.D. POWER VERIFIED OWNER REVIEW
   3.5 / 5
Good gas mileage. Pros: 6 passengers
Reliability
   3.5 / 5
Interior
   3.5 / 5
Exterior
   3.5 / 5
Driving Dynamics
   3.5 / 5

By Jason Monday, July 31, 2017 - 11:07am J.D. POWER VERIFIED OWNER REVIEW
   4.9 / 5
When we began our search we narrowed our selection to four different makes and models. Our broker let us drive the CX-9 first and this vehicle was completely loaded with all the features we were looking for. This includes; all-wheel drive adaptive cruise control 7-passengers all the safety features (airbags lane notification and vehicle alerts) and a turbo charged engine. Therefore all the other make and models we drove after the CX-9 did not compare. The exterior and interior features of the car were a bonus. The only item we are not 100% satisfied with is the ride performance. The suspension feels a bit stiff on rough road conditions. Outside of this small issue we are completely satisfied with our purchase and would recommend this vehicle to anyone considering a mid-size SUV.
Reliability
   5 / 5
Interior
   5 / 5
Exterior
   5 / 5
Driving Dynamics
   4.5 / 5


Expert Reviews ( 1 )

2017 Mazda CX-9
New Car Test Drive

Introduction

The Mazda CX-9 is a stylish three-row crossover sport-utility whose emphasis on sport compromises the family a bit, so its functionality will depend on its intended use. If you always want sharp handling on a firm ride and only occasionally need that third row of seats, it works.

It uses one engine, introduced in 2016, a 2.5-liter turbo making 250 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque, when premium gas is used; however it drops to 227 hp on regular. The engine has already been named one of Wards “10 Best Engines” for 2017. An SUV the size of the CX-9 could use more power. In the CX-9 it still accelerates quickly enough, helped along by a quick six-speed automatic that’s smoother than rivals having eight, nine, or ten speeds; but given the CX-9’s sporty personality, there should be paddle shifters. The omission is curiously out of character for Mazda.

With a long wheelbase of 115.3 inches and overall length of 199.4 inches, it’s bigger on the outside than the Honda Pilot and Toyota Highlander, but those inches mostly vanish on the inside, where the Pilot and Highlander win with more space for passengers and cargo. The CX-9 wins on cabin beauty and luxury feel, but loses again on tech, with mediocre connectivity and an infotainment system that doesn’t keep up with rivals.

With standard front-wheel drive it gets 22 miles per gallon city, 28 highway and 24 combined, and one less combined mpg with all-wheel drive, according to the EPA.

For 2017, the biggest change is automatic emergency braking at low speeds, called Smart City Brake Support, standard on all models but the entry-level Sport. This feature joins blind spot monitors and rear cross-traffic alert.

Model Lineup

The 2017 Mazda CX-9 Sport ($31,520) comes with cloth upholstery, three-zone climate control, and 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels. All-wheel drive is available for Sport, Touring Grand Touring for an additional $1800. (Prices are MSRP and do not include destination charge.)

CX-9 Touring ($35,970) includes leather upholstery, power heated front seats, push-button start, three-zone automatic climate control, two USB ports, Bluetooth audio streaming (no CD), rearview camera, 18-inch alloy wheels, an 8.0-inch screen, and LED headlamps.

Grand Touring ($40,470) adds lane-keep assist, lane departure alert, moon roof, adaptive cruise control, power lift gate, and upgraded infotainment with 8.0-inch screen. An option package adds automatic headlamps, LED fog lamps, navigation, Bose speakers, automatic windshield wipers, sunroof, SiriusXM satellite radio, 20-inch wheels, and head-up display.

Signature ($44,315) comes standard with all-wheel drive and Nappa leather, Japanese rosewood inlays, and real aluminum trim.

Walkaround

The CX-9 is elegant, with a long hood, tapered fenders, and dramatic (for an SUV) roofline. Its tall nose features a large but delicate grille that’s tilted at the top like a Volvo XC90, and LED headlamps; on the Signature, the grille has LED background lighting. The rear pillars arc upward. The wide stance gives an athletic look that could pass for Italian.

Interior

The CX-9 cabin is car-like, with a low shelf-like dashboard similar to the design in other Mazda vehicles. The materials feel upscale and expensive, for sure in the Signature, although the switchgear placement sometimes seems haphazard, and there’s a lot of glossy black plastic that will show smudges. The driver’s line of sight includes a 4.6-inch screen with trip information and functions.

Our biggest criticism is for the awkward touchscreen and infotainment system. The screen sits on the dash like a TV on a Motel 6 dresser. The system itself is confounding, and requires repeated use of the control knob. The software is menu intensive and takes too many clicks to program things. The navigation is at least a generation behind competitors. There’s no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto connectivity, not even as an option.

For an SUV this size it’s cramped inside. Ironically, the split-fold second row has the most room because it’s on a sliding track, with one inch more legroom than the Pilot or Highlander. They recline, but offer no contour. The front seats offer enough adjustment, and there’s a tilt/telescope steering wheel, but the wide center console steals side legroom. The bucket seats are firm while not being especially supportive, like the rear bench.

The third row has too little room for adults. Behind it, there’s only 14.4 cubic feet of cargo space. With the third row folded flat, there’s 38.2 cubic feet of space. We’re inclined to say the CX-9 works best like this, as a five-seat crossover. Which reduces it to a roomy (and expensive) CX-5.

Driving Impressions

For all its sporty slant, we’re not as entertained on the road as we should be. That’s unlike the CX-5, which we declared to be the most fun compact crossover we’ve ever driven.

The steering is on the heavy side, with a medium amount of feel, making it a pleasure to drive on twisty roads. But the optional 20-inch alloy wheels deliver a firm ride that turns twitchy on rough roads. That’s because the sidewalls of the tires aren’t as wide as the standard 18-inchers, so there’s less absorption of the bumps. They run the dampers out of range. So if you want the most comfortable ride, avoid the top model.

The CX-9 uses a simple suspension, struts in front and multilink in rear, to deliver a well-controlled ride with the standard 18-inch wheels. The brakes inspire confidence.

The turbocharged 2.5-liter engine responds smoothly and quickly to make the most of its 250 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque, but the engine needs high-test gas to get that power. It runs fine on regular, but only makes 227 horsepower. Mazda says the difference only occurs above 4500 rpm, so it’s not something you’ll notice around town or even cruising on the freeway, just when you’re very hard on the throttle. There, it growls and strains a bit when it’s carrying five people. Some competitors with V6 engines are more powerful.

The turbocharger was designed by Mazda, to respond without the lag that inherently comes with turbos, and the engineers succeeded in their goal. However, when you floor it from idle, for just a moment, it can be caught napping.

With only six gears in the automatic transmission, against rivals that have as many as 10, the CX-9 appears to lose the comparison, but it doesn’t. The tranny does a good job of keeping the engine in its power band, and it shifts smoother than some with more speeds.

There is a sport mode that raises the shift points, but, unlike others, the mode doesn’t do more than that. It doesn’t change the throttle response or the steering quickness or weight. And there are no paddle shifters. These lapses defy the character of the car. They change it. They bring it up short.

All-wheel drive delivers up to 50 percent of the power to the rear wheels when they need it.

Summary

The CX-9 is cramped in the third row and tight in places in the front seats. It can be described as a sporty three-row crossover, making it stand out from its competitors, but it misses the opportunity to fully deliver on the sport and three-row part. The infotainment system is dated.

Sam Moses contributed to this report.


J.D. Power Rating
Overall Quality Not Available
Overall Quality - Mechanical
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Powertrain Quality - Mechanical
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Body & Interior Quality - Mechanical
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Features & Accessories Quality - Mechanical
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Overall Quality - Design
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Powertrain Quality - Design
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Body & Interior Quality - Design
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Features & Accessories Quality - Design
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Overall Dependability Not Available
Powertrain Dependability
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Body & Interior Dependability
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Feature & Accessory Dependability
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J.D. Power Rating Legend
Among the Best
5 / 5
Better than Most
4 / 5
About Average
3 / 5
The Rest
2 / 5

* The J.D. Power Ratings are calculated based on the range between the car manufacturer or car model with the highest score and the car manufacturer or car model with the lowest score. J.D. Power generates a rating of a five, four, three, or two. If there is insufficient data to calculate a rating, “Not Available” is used in its place.

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