The Mazda CX-9 is a full-size, 7-passenger crossover SUV, built on Ford's CD3 platform, which it shares with the Ford Edge. The CX-9 and the Edge also employ the same 3.7-liter V-6 engine. The Mazda CX-9 was introduced to the United States for the 2007 model year, and had changed little since then, save for gaining a slightly larger, more powerful engine. For 2013, the Mazda CX-9 features a sportier grille and headlight treatment, as well as an updated, more capable infotainment system. The CX-9 is available with front-wheel or all-wheel drive (FWD or AWD), and competes with larger crossover SUVs such as the Hyundai Santa Fe, Ford Flex, and the Chevrolet Traverse. It's available in the base Sport trim level, plus the Touring and Grand Touring trims.
The CX-9 Sport's standard exterior features include halogen headlights, power side mirrors, 18-inch aluminum alloy wheels, and remote keyless entry. The Touring trim level adds auto-off headlights and heated side mirrors. The CX-9 Grand Touring includes bi-xenon HID headlights with auto on/off, LED daytime running lights, halogen fog lights, power open/close rear liftgate, rain-sensing windshield wipers, power side mirrors with side marker turn-signal lights, mirror memory function and tilt-in-reverse option, and 20-inch aluminum alloy wheels. Colors include white, black, red, silver, medium grey, and dark grey. The AWD models add a towing package, which is optional with front-wheel drive.
The base CX-9 Sport comes with cloth-trimmed seats, 3-zone automatic climate control, power windows and locks, AM/FM/CD/MP3-compatible stereo with 6 speakers, a 5.8-inch color touch-screen display, USB audio input port, Bluetooth hands-free phone and audio streaming capability, HD Radio, Pandora Internet radio connectivity, and SMS text message audio delivery and reply. The Touring trim level adds leather-trimmed seats (black or sand) in the first and second rows, with heated front seats (8-way adjustable on the driver's side, with power-adjustable lumbar support, and 4-way adjustable on the passenger side). The CX-9 Grand Touring adds memory to the driver's-side power adjustments, plus Mazda's proprietary keyless entry and ignition, an auto-dimming rearview mirror with HomeLink, and bordeaux accent interior trim. The Mazda CX-9 provides 101.1 cubic feet of cargo space with all rear seats folded flat.
Many of the upgrades offered on the upper trim levels are available as options (usually packaged) on the lower trims. Exterior options at various trim levels of the CX-9 include roof rails, sunroof, power tailgate, and upgraded wheels and lights. Interior options include a navigation system, rear-seat entertainment system, premium Bose surround-sound system, and a rearview camera.
Under the Hood
The Mazda CX-9's standard power plant is a 3.7-liter V-6 engine rated at 273 horsepower and 270 lb.-ft. of torque and mated with a 6-speed automatic transmission with manual shift controls. With proper equipment, the CX-9 can tow as much as 3,500 pounds.
EPA fuel-economy estimates for the 2013 Mazda CX-9 are:
CX-9 with FWD: 17/24/19 mpg (city/highway/combined)
CX-9 with AWD: 16/22/18 mpg
Standard safety features of note on the 2013 Mazda CX-9 include anti-lock disc brakes, stability control, traction control, front side air bags, and side curtain air bags. Also standard is E911 automatic emergency notification. The Touring trim level adds a rearview backup camera, rear backup sensors, and a blind-spot monitoring system. An alarm system is standard with the Grand Touring trim level.
In crash tests conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) the 2013 Mazda CX-9 receives 3 (out of 5) stars for front-impact protection, 5 stars for side protection, 4 stars for rollover protection, and 4 stars overall. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gives the Mazda CX-9 a "Good" rating--the Institute's highest--in frontal-offset tests, and "Marginal" ratings for roof strength and rear-impact protection.