2016 Mazda CX-9 Review: A Luxury SUV Without Luxury Pricing

November 3, 2016

The 2016 Mazda CX-9 has arrived to rave reviews. The all-new 2016 Mazda CX-9 was designed to be “The most emotionally captivating 3-row SUV on the market.” The CX-9 marks Mazda’s final transition from its Ford-influenced era to its new vehicle philosophy. The SUV has incorporated Mazda’s “Kodo” design language and SkyActiv drivetrain technology. Representatives from Mazda wanted the CX-9 to be a better balance between functional parts of a family car and the personal expressiveness that people feel when they buy luxury vehicles. The connection Mazda speaks of is often evoked by indulgent car’s like Mazda’s own Mx-5. As such, the company is positioning the XX-9 as a luxury SUV without luxury pricing.


Mazda’s focus appears to have paid off. The front-end carries an upright grille and multi-plane surfacing, with more complex and upscale design touches than consumers get with more basic economy SUVs. The CX-9’s sleek profile is due to its rising body line right under the greenhouse. It retains the brand’s signature LED headlights and taillights. The car’s standard 18-inch allow wheels, which are all standard on the base Sport trim) supports the Mazda Premium positioning. Options include colors, such as Machine Gray Metallic (which will cost an additional $300) or Snowflake White Pearl Mica ($200 more), that also add to the car’s luxury appeal. The colors use four-layer metallic painted with a tinted clear coat for even more depth.



In the cabin, the CX-9 consistently continues the premium design, with contrasting materials and a large touchscreen display on the dashboard. The generous base Sport trim comes with three-zone climate control, second and third-row seats that fold down, plus the Mazda Connect infotainment system, which includes voice control and Bluetooth phone capabilities. There is also built-in audio streaming.

At the “Touring” level, the trim adds keyless entry, heated leather seats, power seats, rear and blind spot cross-traffic monitoring, plus a nice power lift rear gate. The Touring package brings the retail price to $36,870.

At the “Grand Touring” level, the trim starts at $41,070 and includes 20-inch wheels, plus sunroof, head up display, navigation, real aluminum trims and a 12-speaker Bose audio system.

The top-end “Signature” trim begins at $44,915. The package includes LED interior and exterior lighting, Nappa leather and rosewood interior trim.

Under the Hood

No matter which trim you pick, the CX-9 is powered by a 2.5-liter, 4-cylinder turbo making 250 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque. This is an upgrade to the old CX-9’s V6, 3.7-liter engine. It also shaves 132 pounds off the old SUVs weight. The lighter engine and other tweaks cut around 260 total pounds from the old CX-9.

The torque curve that peaks at 2,000 rpm (versus the old V6′s 270 lb-ft torque peak at 4,250 rpm). This makes for a more fuel efficient car that is also quicker. The CX-9 gets a 22 city mpg, 28 highway mpg and 25 mixed mpg EPA rating. All figures are best-in-class, beating all competitors including the Honda Pilot, Ford Explorer, and Toyota Highlander.

Testers have been impressed by the CX-9’s acceleration and immediate forward thrust. Overall, the CX-9′s premium interior and superior performance combine to give budget-minded drivers a luxury-style experience.

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