September 25, 2021


Connecting People

2021 Mazda CX-9 review: High style with tradeoffs

Mazda’s CX-9 is however a looker.

Jon Wong/Roadshow

Believe that it or not, the 2nd-technology Mazda CX-9 is already six a long time old. But it however seems to be clean up and clean, and its driving dynamics also keep on to deliver. Even so, six a long time is a extensive time in the automotive planet, which is why Mazda gave the CX-9 some styling and tech updates for 2021 to assistance keep it related.


  • Sleek styling
  • A seriously great inside
  • Sharp and refined dealing with

Do not Like

  • Coarse motor
  • So-so infotainment
  • Significantly less cargo place than rivals

Nip and tuck

In the scenario of my assortment-topping CX-9 Signature examination car or truck, 2021 provides a trio of exterior alterations. The grille is now concluded in Titanium Gray Metallic, there are bigger exhaust outlets about back and the total package rides on new twenty-inch Outstanding Silver wheels. None of the alterations are earth-shattering — specially the bland ten-spoke wheels — but the CX-9’s layout continues to be handsome general.

Slide into the Signature’s cabin and you are greeted with an desirable, easy dash crafted from some definitely handsome products. The dash and doorway panel toppers are comfortable to the touch, the difficult plastics on decrease portions are perfectly concluded and the Santos rosewood trim would make the total inside seem premium. In addition, the first- and 2nd-row Nappa leather-based seats get new diamond-quilted bolsters and contrasting piping, although the genuine aluminum accent trim now athletics a patterned complete.

Those updates sign up for the other premium fixings in the CX-9 Signature, this sort of as a few-phase heated and cooled front seats, heated 2nd-row captain’s chairs and a comfortable, leather-based-wrapped, heated steering wheel. You will find also a standard sized moonroof, which will disappoint followers of gargantuan panoramic glass tops, as Mazda does not offer you one particular of all those.

Place in front is generous with comfy and supportive front buckets, large doorway panel compartments and a sizable center armrest. The middle row captain’s chairs are on the flat side with plenty of place for older people, but the rearmost seats are amazingly cosy. Head- and legroom for anybody previously mentioned five feet, six inches tall is fundamentally nonexistent, but at least there are cup holders and a few of USB ports back there for any kids you bring along.

In the cargo place classification, the CX-9 falls guiding its levels of competition. With all seats deployed, there’s 14.4 cubic feet guiding the 3rd row, which grows to seventy one.two cubic feet when each rear rows are folded. In comparison, guiding the rearmost seats, the Honda Pilot and Toyota Highlander offer you sixteen cubic feet of storage place, although the Kia Telluride capabilities a hearty 21 cubic feet. With the two back rows flipped down the Honda (eighty two.1 cubic feet), Kia (87 cubic feet) and Toyota (eighty four.3 cubic feet) all dwarf the Mazda.

The CX-9’s inside create high-quality and products are really remarkable.

Jon Wong/Roadshow

Major screen tech

The most noteworthy update to Mazda’s major crossover is the addition of a ten.3-inch center infotainment screen. The major show comes standard on all CX-9 styles, supplying crisp resolution and passable graphics, but this however just isn’t a touchscreen, so you can have to fidget with the center console controller to enter places into the Signature’s standard navigation system.

Even devoid of touchscreen capabilities, Mazda Hook up is a reasonably intuitive interface, functioning a 12-speaker Bose audio setup, satellite radio, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi hotspot. If you dread Mazda’s tech, and some on the Roadshow workers do, you can opt to hand infotainment controls over to both Apple CarPlay or Android Automobile.

The CX-9 surely does not lack energy points, with a wi-fi charge pad found at the foundation of the center console, USB charge ports within just effortless arrive at of all a few rows of seats and 12-volt outlets in the front and trunk location.

A ten.3-inch infotainment screen is now standard on each and every CX-9.

Jon Wong/Roadshow

On the driver-aid tech front, each and every CX-9 comes with adaptive cruise manage, computerized emergency braking, lane-keeping help and blind-place monitoring with rear cross-targeted visitors warn. My Signature tester’s basic safety tech menu is beefed up additional with front and rear parking sensors, a head-up show, targeted visitors indicator recognition and a 360-degree digicam system with respectable image high-quality. 

The course athlete 

Every CX-9 is motivated by a two.five-liter turbocharged I4. When functioning ninety three-octane fuel, the major-block 4 delivers up 250 horsepower and 320 pound-feet of torque, with the latter on the internet at two,five hundred rpm. Functioning frequent 87-octane gasoline is also feasible, but output drops to 227 hp and 310 lb-ft. Either way, the CX-9 feels downright lively in Activity manner when accelerating absent from stops, and proceeds to pull strong through the middle of the rev assortment, earning effortless operate of passing slower targeted visitors and seamlessly merging onto expressways.

Performing with the CX-9’s motor is a six-velocity computerized transmission, which is archaic by modern expectations given the proliferation of eight-, nine- and ten-velocity gearboxes. In procedure, however, there’s not significantly to complain about with the six-velocity, as it provides smooth, perfectly-timed cog exchanges and it assists return course competitive EPA-approximated fuel economic system figures of twenty mpg in the metropolis and 26 mpg on the freeway.

The turbo 4 delivers hundreds of reduced-stop torque, but seems raspy.

Jon Wong/Roadshow

The Mazda’s drivetrain, on the other hand, is on the coarser side of the sound spectrum and slight vibrations are detectable when you wind points up toward the engine’s six,300-rpm redline. The CX-9 presents up some in towing in comparison to its V6 rivals also, with a 3,five hundred-pound ability. The all-wheel-push Pilot, Telluride and Highlander can all pull five,000 lbs ..

Down the road, the CX-9’s ride is buttoned-up, with the suspension having the edge off modest to medium impacts, and the cabin stays impressively hushed from bothersome road and wind noises. Toss this crossover into a corner and its human body motions are generally stored in verify, with just the slightest dive underneath braking and lean at turn-in ahead of hunkering down and functioning through turns. The twenty-inch Bridgestone Ecopia H/L 422 Furthermore tires offer you lots of grip. Include in responsive and perfectly-weighted steering along with stout, effortless-to-modulate brakes and you have a a few-row crossover that delivers the sportiest reflexes in its course.

Major twenty-inch wheels and tires add to the CX-9’s self-assured dealing with.

Jon Wong/Roadshow

How I’d spec it

The Signature model of the CX-9 pictured listed here is a dear fella, stickering for $forty eight,575 as analyzed. Thoughts you, it is packed to the gills with standard all-wheel push, a extravagant Nappa leather-based inside and all the driver-aid technological innovation you could want, but I’d be inclined to give up some goodies for a softer blow to the lender account. 

For my create, I’d start out with an all-wheel-push Touring model that commences at $39,025, including $1,a hundred seventy five for destination. This trim comes standard with 18-inch wheels, a leather-based inside and heated front seats, and need to-have capabilities like blind-place monitoring and LED headlights appear outfitted on all CX-9s. I’d then plunk down for the $395 Snowflake White Pearl Mica paint job and $two,060 for the Touring High quality Deal, generally for the Bose sound system, satellite radio, front and rear parking sensors and wi-fi cellphone charger. All in, my great Mazda rings in at a extra reasonable $forty one,480. 

This CX-9 Signature will set you back $forty eight,575.

Jon Wong/Roadshow

Sort and general performance over purpose

The 2021 Mazda CX-9 commences at $35,335 including destination with front-wheel push, placing it correct in the exact same ballpark as Honda, Kia and Toyota. Upgrading to all-wheel push tacks on an extra $1,900. Whilst the CX-9 does not offer you as significantly purpose as its rivals, the Mazda packs a healthier dollop of style, a really premium inside and tighter dealing with chops than the some others. If all those emotional traits are plenty of to seem previous the cramped 3rd row and cargo place, I wouldn’t blame you. But if they usually are not plenty of to outweigh the deficiencies in practicality, I wouldn’t blame you for seeking elsewhere, both.