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Mazda CX-9: Large SUV with Sports Car Soul

By Arv Voss, September 21st, 2019

The 2019 Mazda CX-9 seven-passenger, three-row crossover SUV possesses the same "Zoom-Zoom" properties as the rest of the vehicles in the lineup, regardless of in which category one chooses to place it, and it's still first and foremost a Mazda.


Mazda's crossovers differ from competitors in that they display a level of styling that is purposeful and distinctive. In terms of its versatility and functionality, it is not unlike many other crossovers. The significant differences come from its roots or DNA; beneath its appealing exterior styling, lies what the Mazda team refers to as the "soul of a sports car."


The CX-9 focuses on combining the sporty driving spirit of a sports car with the versatility and functionality of an SUV. The CX-9 delivers its high level of performance thanks to a SKYACTIV-G 2.5-liter V-6 with a dynamic pressure turbocharged system and direct coil-on-plug ignition. The horsepower rating is 250 at 5,000 rpm, while developing a torque rating of 310 lb.-ft. at 2,000 rpm.

Power is geared to the driving wheels via Mazda's SKYACTIV-Drive six-speed sport mode automatic transmission, which allows for either totally automatic or manual gear changes that may be made by the driver. Towing capacity is rated at 3,500 pounds.


The overall form and futuristic design of the CX-9 displays a sense of dynamic movement, even when it's at a standstill. The profile exhibits an aggressively rising belt line, topped by a boldly curved roof structure. The tapered greenhouse of the CX-9 sports blacked-out "B" and "C" pillars that are outlined by bright surround trim, offering the visual impression of a singular cabin glass area. The windshield is sharply raked as well, adding to the CX-9's overall aerodynamic efficiency. The large, bright dual exhaust outlets offer a hint of the vehicle's performance capability.


Four trim levels are offered in the CX-9 lineup: Sport, Touring, Grand Touring, and Signature. All models come standard in front-wheel drive, or optionally available with Mazda's predictive i-ACTIV all-wheel drive, with the exception of the Signature model, where AWD is standard.

The CX-9 comes is equipped with 18-inch aluminum alloy wheels as standard or with optional 20-inch alloy wheels fitted with performance tires.


The interior continues to deliver a sporty feel; switchgear and controls are well thought out for optimum user friendliness, with gauges ideally placed and legible. Storage capacity is plentiful, with the center console able to stow a compact laptop. It offers room for seven passengers or maximum cargo volume of 71.2 cubic feet in three multi-configurable rows.

My test 2019 Mazda CX-9 was a Signature model sprayed with a Machine Gray metallic exterior finish; the interior featured Brick Red and black Nappa leather seating with black piping and with satin silver trim accent pieces. The base price was set at $45,365.


Handling attributes make for a pleasingly agile feel, reflective of its Zoom-Zoom sports car heritage. Even the ride quality provides a firm enough damping quality to be ranked with many sports cars.


Considering its visual appeal, value and equipment content, price point, power output, and serviceability for both passengers and cargo, the 2019 Mazda CX-9 Signature AWD model ranks as one of the top contenders on the crossover SUV playing field, with several grades and equipment and feature choices offered to suit individual budgets, tastes, and requirements. It represents the latest and grandest expression of KODO-Soul of Motion styling and design to date, and actually meets or exceeds expectations for what a mainstream three-row crossover SUV should be.


Base price $45,365 (as tested: $47,385)
Curb weight 4,361 lbs.
Displacement 2.5-liter
Engine type 4-cylinder turbo SkyActiv-G
Epa mileage rating 20 mpg city, 26 mpg highway
Fuel capacity 19.5 gal.
Horsepower (net) 227 at 5000 rpm
Overall length 199.4 in.
Torque (lb.-ft.) 310 at 2000 rpm
Transmission 6-speed automatic
Vehicle type 7-passenger AWD large SUV
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