- Engaging driving characteristics
- Svelte yet buff styling
- Spacious second and third rows
- Some ergonomic oddities
- May ride too firmly for some
- Less first-row legroom than its competitors
Few seven-passenger vehicles are more road-friendly than the 2009 Mazda CX-9. Its looks and features list impress too.
The seven-passenger CX-9 crossover was introduced in 2007 and is closely related to the Ford Edge and Lincoln MKX. Crossover vehicles like the 2009 Mazda CX-9 are generally car-based vehicles that look and perform somewhat like SUVs. The CX-9 combines the space of a wagon with the ride height and utility of an SUV in a style that eschews the expected boxiness of both and delivers the sporty looks of Mazda's zoom-zoom heritage. The look is a bit more aggressive and overt than that of most other roomy crossover utes.
Simultaneously, the 2009 CX-9's styling avoids going in the false, “off-road-tough” direction of many SUVs. Unlike many high-horsepower V-6 engines out there, the 3.7-liter unit in the CX-9 does not require premium fuel, yet produces 273 horsepower. A smooth, six-speed automatic is standard and maximum towing capacity is 3,500 pounds. The CX-9 has crisp, responsive handling for a vehicle of its size and weight, though it’s not as nimble as Mazda’s smaller CX-7. With an EPA city fuel economy estimate of 17 mpg city, fuel economy isn’t a strong point for the powertrain, though.
Though the 2009 Mazda CX-9 is not the biggest of the big crossovers, the front seats are comfortable, and three rows of seating make the 2009 Mazda CX-9 quite useful for soccer-mom duty. The second row is split 60/40, reclines, or folds flat for cargo duty. Overall, good ride comfort, pleasing interior materials, and impressive build quality give the CX-9 a feel that’s quite upscale.
With top crash tests all around, along with all of the expected airbags, and active and passive safety features, the CX-9 ranks as one of the safest vehicles in its class and makes an ideal family conveyance for that reason.
Even in base model form—where it’s the best bargain, in TheCarConnection.com’s opinion—the 2009 Mazda CX-9 comes equipped as a luxury vehicle, with tri-zone climate control and a Bluetooth hands-free interface among the standard features that are sometimes optional in this class of vehicle. But in more expensive, leather-lined Touring and Grand Touring trims some of the top options such as surround-sound audio and the rear DVD entertainment system can drive the price toward $40,000—and the realm of true luxury marques.