2021 Mazda CX-9 review: High style with tradeoffs

Mazda’s CX-9 is however a looker.

Jon Wong/Roadshow

Feel it or not, the next-era Mazda CX-9 is presently 6 years previous. But it however seems clear and refreshing, and its driving dynamics also go on to supply. Even so, 6 years is a prolonged time in the automotive environment, which is why Mazda gave the CX-9 some styling and tech updates for 2021 to help continue to keep it appropriate.


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

Really don’t Like

  • Coarse engine
  • So-so infotainment
  • Less cargo area than competition

Nip and tuck

In the circumstance of my selection-topping CX-9 Signature check motor vehicle, 2021 brings a trio of exterior modifications. The grille is now completed in Titanium Gray Metallic, there are much larger exhaust shops around again and the total package rides on new twenty-inch Brilliant Silver wheels. None of the modifications are earth-shattering — particularly the bland ten-spoke wheels — but the CX-9’s layout stays handsome over-all.

Slide into the Signature’s cabin and you’re greeted with an desirable, simple sprint created from some seriously handsome resources. The sprint and doorway panel toppers are soft to the touch, the difficult plastics on decrease portions are nicely completed and the Santos rosewood trim would make the total inside glance premium. In addition, the 1st- and next-row Nappa leather seats get new diamond-quilted bolsters and contrasting piping, while the genuine aluminum accent trim now athletics a patterned complete.

These updates be a part of the other premium fixings in the CX-9 Signature, these as 3-stage heated and cooled front seats, heated next-row captain’s chairs and a soft, leather-wrapped, heated steering wheel. You can find also a common sized moonroof, which will disappoint fans of gargantuan panoramic glass tops, as Mazda would not provide one of people.

House in front is generous with comfy and supportive front buckets, big doorway panel compartments and a sizable middle armrest. The middle row captain’s chairs are on the flat aspect with sufficient area for older people, but the rearmost seats are exceptionally cosy. Head- and legroom for any individual above five toes, six inches tall is generally nonexistent, but at minimum there are cup holders and a couple of USB ports again there for any young ones you bring together.

In the cargo area class, the CX-9 falls driving its level of competition. With all seats deployed, you will find fourteen.4 cubic toes driving the 3rd row, which grows to 71.two cubic toes when both rear rows are folded. In comparison, driving the rearmost seats, the Honda Pilot and Toyota Highlander provide 16 cubic toes of storage area, while the Kia Telluride options a hearty 21 cubic toes. With the two again rows flipped down the Honda (82.1 cubic toes), Kia (87 cubic toes) and Toyota (84.3 cubic toes) all dwarf the Mazda.

The CX-9’s inside construct high-quality and resources are genuinely impressive.

Jon Wong/Roadshow

Huge screen tech

The most noteworthy update to Mazda’s biggest crossover is the addition of a ten.3-inch middle infotainment screen. The massive show will come common on all CX-9 versions, supplying crisp resolution and satisfactory graphics, but this however is just not a touchscreen, so you will have to fidget with the middle console controller to enter locations into the Signature’s common navigation method.

Even devoid of touchscreen abilities, Mazda Link is a fairly intuitive interface, jogging a twelve-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 decide to hand infotainment controls more than to both Apple CarPlay or Android Car.

The CX-9 unquestionably would not absence electric power details, with a wireless cost pad positioned at the base of the middle console, USB cost ports inside uncomplicated achieve of all 3 rows of seats and twelve-volt shops in the front and trunk spot.

A ten.3-inch infotainment screen is now common on each individual CX-9.

Jon Wong/Roadshow

On the driver-assistance tech front, each individual CX-9 will come with adaptive cruise regulate, computerized crisis braking, lane-trying to keep support and blind-spot checking with rear cross-site visitors notify. My Signature tester’s security tech menu is beefed up additional with front and rear parking sensors, a head-up show, site visitors indicator recognition and a 360-diploma camera method with respectable picture high-quality. 

The course athlete 

Each and every CX-9 is determined by a two.five-liter turbocharged I4. When jogging 93-octane gasoline, the massive-block four features up 250 horsepower and 320 pound-toes of torque, with the latter on line at two,500 rpm. Jogging standard 87-octane fuel is also probable, but output drops to 227 hp and 310 lb-ft. Both way, the CX-9 feels downright lively in Activity method when accelerating absent from stops, and proceeds to pull powerful all over the middle of the rev selection, creating uncomplicated perform of passing slower site visitors and seamlessly merging on to expressways.

Doing work with the CX-9’s engine is a 6-velocity computerized transmission, which is archaic by today’s requirements specified the proliferation of eight-, 9- and ten-velocity gearboxes. In procedure, nevertheless, you will find not substantially to complain about with the 6-velocity, as it provides sleek, nicely-timed cog exchanges and it assists return course aggressive EPA-estimated gasoline overall economy figures of twenty mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway.

The turbo four features hundreds of reduced-close torque, but appears raspy.

Jon Wong/Roadshow

The Mazda’s drivetrain, on the other hand, is on the coarser aspect of the audio spectrum and slight vibrations are detectable when you wind matters up in the direction of the engine’s six,300-rpm redline. The CX-9 gives up some in towing in comparison to its V6 rivals far too, with a 3,500-pound ability. The all-wheel-travel Pilot, Telluride and Highlander can all pull five,000 kilos.

Down the highway, the CX-9’s experience is buttoned-up, with the suspension having the edge off modest to medium impacts, and the cabin stays impressively hushed from annoying highway and wind noises. Toss this crossover into a corner and its body motions are always kept in look at, with just the slightest dive below braking and lean at turn-in before hunkering down and jogging via turns. The twenty-inch Bridgestone Ecopia H/L 422 Moreover tires provide a great deal of grip. Include in responsive and nicely-weighted steering together with stout, uncomplicated-to-modulate brakes and you have a 3-row crossover that features the sportiest reflexes in its course.

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

Jon Wong/Roadshow

How I might spec it

The Signature version of the CX-9 pictured listed here is a expensive fella, stickering for $forty eight,575 as analyzed. Brain you, it is packed to the gills with common all-wheel travel, a fancy Nappa leather inside and all the driver-assistance technological know-how you could want, but I might be prepared to give up some goodies for a softer blow to the lender account. 

For my construct, I might start with an all-wheel-travel Touring model that begins at $39,025, which includes $1,175 for destination. This trim will come common with 18-inch wheels, a leather inside and heated front seats, and ought to-have options like blind-spot checking and LED headlights arrive equipped on all CX-9s. I might then plunk down for the $395 Snowflake White Pearl Mica paint occupation and $two,060 for the Touring High quality Package, typically for the Bose audio method, satellite radio, front and rear parking sensors and wireless telephone charger. All in, my suitable Mazda rings in at a far more acceptable $41,480. 

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

Jon Wong/Roadshow

Form and functionality more than perform

The 2021 Mazda CX-9 begins at $35,335 which includes destination with front-wheel travel, putting it suitable in the exact ballpark as Honda, Kia and Toyota. Upgrading to all-wheel travel tacks on an additional $1,900. Even though the CX-9 would not provide as substantially perform as its rivals, the Mazda packs a healthier dollop of fashion, a genuinely premium inside and tighter dealing with chops than the other people. If people psychological attributes are sufficient to glance earlier the cramped 3rd row and cargo area, I would not blame you. But if they usually are not sufficient to outweigh the deficiencies in practicality, I would not blame you for looking elsewhere, both.

Maria J. Danford

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